Tongchuan's transformation reaping economic rewards

Updated: 2015-07-14 13:28

By Lu Hongyan, Ma Lie(

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Tongchuan, a city in Shaanxi province transforming itself from a coal-polluted city to an environmentally-friendly one, is making great strides promoting employment and entrepreneurship.

According to Ma Dengke, director of the city's human resources and social security bureau, from 2012 to 2014 city government invested 617 million yuan ($99.4 million) in public funds to promote employment and entrepreneurship and helped 176,200 people get jobs and find success in their entrepreneurship efforts.

"And we also helped 259,000 rural surplus laborers get jobs in the urban area and 15,400 laid-off workers become re-employed," Ma said.

The registered urban unemployment rate in the past three years was successfully controlled at less than 3.5 percent, the director said.

Tongchuan was one of the most polluted cities in China, as its economic sources were coal and cement production, which also were major pollution sources. In 2009, the city was listed as one of several in China to change its direction from a coal resource-oriented city to one of leisure and tourism as a way to further control pollution and better living conditions for residents.

As a result, a number of enterprises were closed due to the serious level of pollution produced during production and workers were laid off. At the same time, more and more rural surplus laborers moved to urban areas for jobs and university graduates also clustered in the labor market.

The city government constantly improved its service system and created a good business environment for innovation and entrepreneurship to promote employment, Ma said.

"The government issued 921 million yuan in small loans for entrepreneurship and launched entrepreneurship incubation bases for 11 businesses, including commerce, health care and domestic service, which produced more than 100 kinds of products," Ma said.

Bai Yongfeng, 34, a post-graduate from Xi'an Jiaotong University, in 2014 opened his own business in his hometown, a car sales company. The city's profitable employment promotion policy helped him to not only realize his dream of becoming a boss, but also to provide jobs to 50 university graduates, 14 rural surplus laborers and five laid-off workers.

Wang Daohong, 48, director of the villagers' committee in the city's Pangjiahe village,returned there in 2009 when the city started to promote the tourism industry. He led villagers to develop a multifunctional industrial structure of farming, tourism, recreational fishing and dining and entertainment from the food production.

"Pangjiahe village did not only solve the problem of surplus labor, but also increased villagers' annual average income from less than 1,000 yuan per person to more than 10,000 yuan," the director said.