Zhangmu (elevation 2,300 meters), also known as Kasa, lies on a mountainside 10km (6 miles) inland from the Friendship Bridge that spans the Bhotekoshi (the Sun Koshi) River. It is, as it were, on the extreme left of China. Yet it is, in a sense, a zone.
According to an agreement between the Chinese and Nepalese governments, people living within 30 kilometres (18 miles) of the border may cross the border freely. Every day, hundreds of Chinese and Nepalese merchants conduct business under this agreement. Local Sherpa lease their houses to the merchants thus sharing in the profit of the border trade.
Thus this small town has become a major trading post between Tibet and Nepal. The booming border trade attracts merchants from inland China, Tibet and Nepal. The single narrow zigzag street of Zhangmu makes transport somewhat difficult.
A free trade market formed spontaneously near the Friendship Bridge about 8 years ago and is still developing today.
Zhangmu is going to undergo major construction to meet the demands of the booming tourism and border trade. Zhangmu Hotel, the town’s only hotel, will be rebuilt and expanded.
Within the next 5 years the local government plans to build a 2,220-metre (7,280 feet) roadway to improve traffic flow.
Is this a development zone? Perhaps not within the official meaning of the act for it was not planned. But it is a free trade zone for all that.
Source: China Travel Tours