OREANDA-NEWS. December 5, 2011. The provincial government of Anhui released an exposure draft of urban planning on Thursday, sketching out the province in 20 years.

According to the plan, Wuhu was regarded for the first time as the sub-center city of Anhui province.

By 2030, the province will have two economic circles, one in Hefei, capital city of Anhui, and the other in Wuhu and Ma'anshan. It was the first time for the latter to be mentioned.

Located to the south of the Yangtze River, Wuhu and Ma'anshan are blessed with such a buoyant economy that they have overtaken Jiangsu province and approached Zhejiang province in terms of industrialization and urbanization levels.

There was a growing consensus among people in Anhui that Hefei was the center city of the province, while public opinion was sharply divided on which to be the sub-center city, Wuhu or Ma'anshan. The debate was eventually brought to an end by the urban planning draft, which officially considered Wuhu as the sub-center city of Anhui province and the core city of the Wuhu-Ma'anshan Economic Circle.

Earlier this year, the provincial government made a few adjustments to the map of the province's administrative divisions by splitting Chaohu, a prefectural-level city, into three parts that were then absorbed by its neighbouring cities of Hefei, Ma'anshan and Wuhu. Such kind of administrative division changes will be likely to take place again over the next two decades, the plan said.

The urbanization rate of Anhui province will rise from 51 percent in 2015 to 58 percent in 2020 and finally reach 70 percent in 2030, according to the urban planning draft.

Also, the province will deepen reform of hukou, or permanent residency systems to enable people living in cities and villages to be treated equally in education, medical care and welfare, following Tongling's significant move to eliminate a hukou bias against urban or rural residents recently, the plan said.