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China’s central region accelerates growth

Author  :  HUANG YA’NAN     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2019-07-01

China’s central region has seen accelerated development, with promising prospects.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the development of the central region has made remarkable achievements, said Wei Houkai, director of the Rural Development Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. From 2012 to 2018, the GDP per capita in the central region increased from 32,000 yuan to 52,000 yuan, and its GDP increased from 11.6 trillion yuan to 19.3 trillion yuan. The national share of the central region’s economic aggregate has been rising, and its gap with the eastern region has been narrowing.

In addition, Wei said that the processing and manufacturing industries in the central region have been continuously transformed and upgraded, and the high-tech industries have developed rapidly.

The urbanization of the central region has been accelerating, too. From 2012 to 2018, the urbanization rate in the central region increased from 47.2 percent to 55.6 percent, an average annual increase of 1.4 percentage points, which is 0.2 percentage points higher than the national average, Wei said.

Ma Zhihui, director of the Institute of Economics at the Jiangxi Academy of Social Sciences, said that in the past decade, the economic aggregate of the six central provinces—Henan, Shanxi, Hubei, Anhui, Hunan and Jiangxi—has increased by 170 percent. In 2018, the economic growth rates of the six provinces all outperformed the national average, and their industrial growth rates remained at a high level in the country.

“The rise of the central region is of great significance for realizing the coordinated development of the regional economy, narrowing the regional gap, and maintaining the sustained, rapid and sound development of the national economy,” Ma concluded.

Li Lin, a professor from the School of Economics and Trade at Hunan University, said that since the 18th CPC National Congress, the central region has been exploring a path to urbanization that coordinates new-type urbanization, new-type industrialization and agricultural modernization. The income level of urban and rural residents has increased significantly, and urban-rural integration has made substantial progress.

In addition, Li said, the central region has made remarkable ecological progress. Beginning with the environment surrounding the Yangtze River and the Yellow River, the central region has achieved remarkable results in prioritizing ecology and green growth.

Focusing on supply-side structural reform, the greening and intelligent transformation of traditional industries, and the development of emerging strategic industries, the central region has been initially exploring a new development path in which economic development and ecological, environmental protection are coordinated, Li observed.

In recent years, in addition to its higher-than-average industrial growth and urbanization speeds, the central region has also made significant contributions to national food security and agricultural product supply, said Zhang Helin, director of the Center for Urban-Rural Integration Development Studies at Zhengzhou University.

Qin Zunwen, director of the Belt and Road Research Institute of Hubei Province, said that the central region currently has national independent innovation demonstration zones in Wuhan, Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan, ZhengzhouLuoyang-Xinxiang, Hefei-Wuhu-Bengbu, and also the Hefei Comprehensive National Science Center. As such, the region already has certain independent innovation capabilities. In the future, the central region needs to rely more on innovation.

Wei said that it is necessary to release policy dividends through multiple channels, actively create a sound business environment, encourage domestic and foreign private capital to enter the central region, and jointly promote the region’s rise.

Li suggested that smart manufacturing should be considered at the forefront of the deep integration of the advanced equipment manufacturing industry and the modern service industry in the central region. To optimize the region’s opening up, it is also necessary to further integrate the region into the Belt and Road construction, the Yangtze River Economic Belt strategy, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei coordinated development strategy and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area strategy.

In terms of opening up, the central region is still lagging behind the eastern region. The central region needs to enhance its degree of openness in telecommunications, medical care, education, cultural tourism and other service areas, said Huang Yongming, a professor from the Institute of Central China Development at Wuhan University. Further opening up to the outside world and increased participation of the region’s enterprises in the international division of labor will inject new vitality into the development of the central region.


(Edited by Jiang Hong)

Editor: Yu Hui

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