Henan Special: Growing Gushi county calling workers back home
Updated: 2013-03-07 08:05
By Xiang Mingchao and Zhang Zhao (China Daily)
Cultural event celebrating the ancient county aims to help attract talents back to their homeland. Photos by Xia Yi / for China Daily
Modern face of Gushi, Henan province.
In a remote locale with few natural underground resources, Gushi county in Henan province has traditionally relied heavily on agriculture. But in recent years, the local government has attracted increasing numbers of investment and projects to jumpstart its industrial engine.
At the southeastern end of the province, Gushi has a population of more than 1.7 million, the largest in Henan.
Last year the county's GDP hit 21.7 billion yuan ($3.5 billion), a 10 percent increase over 2011, with added industrial value reaching nearly 4 billion yuan and exports worth $65 million.
The county attracted nearly 100 projects and total investment of about 2 billion yuan for the year, including $34.8 million from overseas.
It now has two industrial bases that focus on equipment manufacturing, food processing and furniture production. Many other projects are in the high-tech sector.
One is a center for new energy built in conjunction with China Ming Yang Wind Power Group Ltd. It alone is valued at 3 billion yuan.
In traditional industries, Gushi has new projects for grain and meat processing along with poultry raising.
It also has a central business area specializing in services. A large 500 million yuan home decor and furniture outlet and the five-star Days Hotel & Suites from the United States have signed contracts to settle there.
The county government views investment and new projects as top priorities, and has issued a number of preferential policies to attract leading companies.
Agencies in the industrial zones offer companies one-stop assistance with procedures required by various administrations.
A special government department is responsible for attracting investment, but "now actually everyone is paying attention to the (investment) business and involved in it", said county Mayor Qu Shangying.
Top policy makers and government officials from Gushi visited nearby counties and cities that are more industrially advanced to study their development and management.
They also visited leading companies in Zhengzhou, Beijing, Chongqing, Dongguan, and cities in Fujian to seek potential opportunities in investment and cooperation.
The success of those more advanced regions is shown on local media, including newspapers, TV and websites, many of which also have columns discussing how to attract new investment.
By participating in fairs, forums and cultural events, the county has increased exports of its own goods and brought in new projects such as the Multi Beauty Enamel metal processing plant as well as a factory for Dongguan Songshen Plastics Technology and construction of a residential community.
The government has organized training programs for its officials that included a dozen experts from leading national universities who lectured on economics and industrial policies. The trainees also conducted surveys in the county.
Gushi is home to some 600,000 emigrant workers that the government is calling back home as fast-rising industrial growth is providing plentiful jobs and opportunities to start businesses.
The human resources authority is in top gear to improve management and services to attract them back.
More than 6,000 locals were involved in occupational training programs last year, and more than 5,000 were recruited last summer at five recruitment fairs.
The local government next plans to integrate investment and financing operations, introduce privately owned capital and financial institutes while combining land with infrastructure resources.
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(China Daily 03/07/2013 page4)