Interior regions can catch up with coastal areas if they abandon old model: Report

Updated: 2016-04-24 14:56

By Wang Yanfei(

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Resource-dependent provinces are losing ground to southeast provinces that do well in technology and manufacturing-oriented innovation, a report by a think tank under the nation's top planning authority said on Saturday.

"China's economic growth shows strong regional disparities and there is a widening gulf between coastal and interior provinces," said Yi Changliang, head of China Academy of Development and Reform, a think tank under National Development Reform Commission.

Yi expected that by analyzing performance index breakdown, local government in different regions will be able to better find their comparative advantages to facilitate structural changes.

Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang are the three provinces with the highest scores on China Development Index, a ranking that gauges regional performances based mainly on economic openness and potential for development of innovative industries, while Liaoning province, which relies heavily on resource and traditional industries, takes the bottom spot.

According to the report, Guangdong province leads in many areas the index takes into account, such as value-added tax paid by foreign-funded enterprises last year, the number of industries with annual sales higher than 5 million yuan, patents, and investment made in high-tech inventions.

Guangdong also tops among 20 provinces and cities that have so far released economic growth figures in the first quarter.

Yi said strong potential for future development in innovation in provinces such as Guangdong would sustain healthy economic development.

While it might take long for interior regions to find new growth engines amid economic downward pressure, Yi said they have a chance to catch up as the country is providing policy support to drive innovations, as long as they are willing to give up the old development model.

More investment is likely to pour in if the government is willing to foster the process of cultivating new industries such as the service sector, said Yi.

Xu Shaoshi, head of National Development Reform Commission, said in a meeting earlier this month that the government would establish more pilot programs in northeastern provinces this year.