Atkins has been selected to draw up a masterplan for a new town in eastern China aimed in part at enticing Taiwanese workers to stay in China
The UK-headquartered design and engineering giant was chosen by AVIC Joy Air Holdings to develop plans for a development in Fujian Province that could also tempt home former locals.
The major deal was signed in front of prime minister David Cameron at the UK-China business summit in Beijing.
It will see Atkins set out a vision for a new town in the city of Fuzhou, providing housing and associated facilities for more than 100,000 residents.
More than 120 Taiwan machinery companies moved into Fuzhou in 2006 alone, and the city wants to keep talented workers from moving on to its neighbouring nation. The development is expected to include six million square metres of office, hotel, residential and research space.
Atkins chairman Allan Cook said the speed ofurbanisation across the Asia-Pacific region represented a ‘significant investment and growth focus’ for Atkins.
‘In China alone, more than 300m people will be urbanised in the next 20 years,’ he said.
‘There are exciting opportunities both within the Chinese domestic market and in partnership with Chinese companies abroad to explore holistic infrastructure solutions.’
The new town in Fuzhou will be located in an environmentally sensitive area, with low-lying land surrounded by natural rivers and watercourses.
Atkins will have to address the risk of extreme weather events as well as ensuring it conforms with China’s National Green Urbanisation Strategy.
Construction of the development is scheduled to begin in early 2014.