New area set for continued GDP growth
Updated: 2013-03-13 07:11
By Wu Jiao and Tan Yingzi (China Daily)
Chongqing Liangjiang New Area, an emerging hot investment destination in interior China, is aiming to maintain 20 percent annual GDP growth over the next eight years to drive development of the country's vast underdeveloped western region.
The growth will substantially outpace most Chinese cities as the country slows its economic growth target to 7.5 percent.
Tang Zongwei, deputy director of the administrative committee of the new area, told China Daily the region needs to pool about 100,000 highly skilled workers to sustain its development. A total of 400,000 jobs will be offered by 2015.
Tang, who is a member of the country's national legislative body, is in Beijing attending the annual national legislative session.
While the country is slowing its economic pace and restructuring the economy for a more balanced, consumption-driven growth model, Tang's Liangjiang Area in relatively underdeveloped western China has an important role to play in the national strategy.
Following in the footsteps of the Shanghai Pudong New Area and Tianjin Binhai New Area, the Liangjiang New Area in Southwest China's mega-city Chongqing, often regarded as China's Chicago, became the country's third national-level development area for further opening-up in 2010, and the only one in inland China.
The government hopes the new area can become a gateway for opening inland areas to the outside world and become a base for advanced manufacturing and modern services transferred from the eastern part of China.
Experts called this integration an important sign of the country's overall development and opening-up, which started in China's coastal areas and gradually spread to the central and western parts.
According to Tang, the new area has developed well and become a hot destination for investment from both China and abroad only two years after its establishment.
The area has already attracted 113 Fortune 500 companies, Tang said. Among those companies, 44 are from the United States and Europe, while 19 are from Japan and South Korea.
Tang said electronic-information, automobiles, high-end manufacturing, aviation, and biomedicine have been identified as the five pillar industries of the region.
Because Chongqing has the advantage of a new railway line connecting the city with the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Russia and Europe, the new area now has Europe as a strategic focus of its foreign trade, Tang said.
The 11,000-km Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe International Railway, a logistics route between Asia and Europe known as "the modern silk road", began operation in 2011. The railway begins in Chongqing, and travels through Russia, Belarus and Poland before arriving in Duisburg, Germany.
The whole journey takes an average of 16 days, and all customs and tariff procedures have been simplified to make international trade more convenient.
The train operated only once a month in 2011, but it will now run every day, and the number of departures is expected to reach three times a day by 2015, according to Chongqing authorities.
To facilitate trade with Europe, the Liangjiang area is building a logistics center and an e-commerce center to better serve transnational trade, according to Tang.
The area saw its GDP grow by as much as 20 percent in 2012, compared with the country's average growth of 7.8 percent.
There is a huge demand for human resources to sustain the growth, Tang said.
Aside from the 680,000 people working in key industries in the area, an additional 400,000 skilled workers are needed in the next three years as new projects continue to flock in. In particular, the area needs about 100,000 highly skilled workers by 2015, and 300,000 by 2020 for its core advanced industries in finance and modern technology, Tang said.
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