Ruili, China: The China–Myanmar nexus hub at the crossroads

This profile of Ruili examines this significant border city which sits at the nexus between China and Myanmar. Despite its strategic role and location, Ruili has attracted comparatively little attention. Ruili is an important Chinese city because, despite its strategic role and location, it has attracted comparatively little attention. The authors review the historic role of Ruili on the southwestern route of the Silk Road and document the recent transformation of its urban socioeconomic landscape and fabric since the beginning of the Belt and Road Initiative. They argue that Ruili developed from a ‘small’ and ‘ordinary’ border city to become the hub of cooperation between China and Myanmar. This transformation was driven by the port economy and border trade of this city as well as the elevated position occupied by Ruili in state planning and mega-project investment deployed by the authorities. Indeed, Ruili grew because of its geographic significance at the Myanmar border as well as key nodal point status as a nexus radiation center facing Southeast Asia which enabled the concentration of production, finance, and commodity trade. This article examines and discusses land use and spatial structures from the perspective of Ruili urban planning. The authors also discuss the challenges faced by this city as a national border space manifest in bilateral trade flow fluctuations and shortages of urban services and infrastructure. They conclude that cross border management governance innovation and reform, particularly to include additional stakeholders, will be necessary to nurture and sustain the role of Ruili as a regional hub in Southeast Asia.


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  • Accession Number: 01743733
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 27 2020 3:08PM