Tengchong

Tengchong Municipality is located in Yunnan Province, South West China, bordering Myanmar, and is a natural gem yet to be discovered by travellers. This area’s economic potential and future growth are driven by booming trade with Myanmar, its strategic location on one of the One Belt One Road arteries, and also by abundant tourism and outdoor recreation resources. The government invests heavily in the development and infrastructure of the region.

The climate in Tengchong is very pleasant – classified as subtropical highland, and Tengchong Municipality includes the southern stretch of Gaoligong Mountain chain – a great reservoir of biodiversity, untouched nature and traditional cultures that few visitors to China have ever had a chance to experience. Tengchong is also a land of volcanoes – their cones arise just outside the city and the geothermal activity has produced hundreds of hot springs, a big draw for visitors.

History here goes back thousands of years – in antiquity Tengchong was a vital hub on the Tea and Horse Trail, also known as the Southern Silk Road, a trading route connecting Southern China, Myanmar, India and Persia, which started operating almost two and a half millennia ago. Caravans piled with silver, tea, jade, as well as transporting the prized Tibetan horses, continued on their journeys until the 1950s. To this day, Tengchong abounds with historical sites and artefacts, which are only very recently started to gain first visitors.

There is a very strong connection with South East Asia in Tengchong – the local food is similar to Thai cuisine and the well-preserved culture of the local mountain ethnicities makes Tengchong feel quite different from China proper.

During World War II, fierce battles raged here between the Japanese and the allied Chinese and American forces. Since the war, the ideological differences left the heroes of these campaign forgotten, but recently this heritage has been rediscovered and the US and Chinese soldiers are honoured yet again – the legendary Flying Tigers, American volunteer pilots stationed right here during the war have regained their status of heroes and friends. The tribute to this military past can be observed in the fascinating, modern World War II museum in the city.

Tengchong, for Chinese, is synonymous with jade – a semi-precious gem admired and prized by Chinese for its warm delicate colour. Amazing examples of jade craftsmanship and art can be admired and bought at the jade market in Tengchong.

Tengchong a hotpot of different ethnicities, and the isolation, broken only recently by building roads and airports, has left their customs and way of life as they were centuries ago. Long considered wild, unruly borderlands, far from the center of civilization, Tengchong is now ready to showcase itself to the world, and it has plenty to offer to those adventurous to wander off the beaten path.

Here in Tengchong the visitors can enjoy hiking volcanos, exploring untouched jungle home to clouded leopards, red pandas and gibbons, hike across the Gaoligong Mountains on the cobbled paths older than the Roman Empire, admire traditional architecture in Hexun Old Town, or relax in one of the hundreds of local hot springs.

Xingzhi are a key player in developing the region’s tourism and outdoor industry here. Xingzhi organize two international running races, the first ones to be held in the municipality – in 2015, Tengchong International Half-Marathon, and, from 2016, Mt. Gaoligong by UTMB® ultra mountain race, attracting international participants to race and to travel in the area.

Secondly, in 2016 Xingzhi Group entered into two PPP (Private Public Partnership) with Tengchong Government. The first project, valued at over 2,1-billion CNY, revolves around the construction and operation of an international outdoor sports centre in Tengchong. The centre shall be the national-level base for the outdoor sports and activities in the region, and host sports events and outdoor training programs. This PPP is also scheduled to include a construction of a recreational village, two scenic areas, and three long distance trails/paths – a 350km scenic cycling path through traditional villages, a 750km trail system through Gaoligong Mountains for hikers and trail runners, and a 160km Stillwell Highway for driving enthusiasts (named after a US Army General Stillwell, who commanded Allied troops in the region during World War II).

Xingzhi Group provide overall planning and design of the PPP and shall provide operational and maintenance services of the infrastructure constructed by the government. The design phase has been completed and the project is expected to become operational within 4 years, with the operating period of 25 years.

The second PPP is a 1,7-billion-CNY project developing the area in Longling County at Songshan Mountain. Songshan Battle, little known in the West, was a key event in China’s participation in World War II – the taking of the Japanese positions at Songshan Mountain allowed the Chinese and Allied forces to control the Burma Road, which in turn enable the resupply of Chinese troops by land from British – held Burma.

Now a memorial commemorates the military feat of the Chinese troops and their US allies who took part in the battle, and the location has become a tourist attraction as well as a place for patriotic education for the youth, which is a current government priority.

The PPP for which Xingzhi are providing planning and development strategy, shall involve a large – scale construction of infrastructure including water and road transport facilities, a new airport, restoration and maintenance of existing historical sites, and the creation of a network of hiking trails served by rest stations, accommodation and all other infrastructure necessary for the area to become an outdoor destination. In addition, Xingzhi shall be involved in the operation of the facilities and organise outdoor and sports events as well involve foreign and domestic companies and brands to take part in the tourism and infrastructure development of this area.