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Chongqing opens new chapter of fast growth

By TAN YINGZI in Chongqing | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-08-18 07:21
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People walk in front of the Jiefang Monument, a Chongqing landmark surrounded by more and more international companies and shops. [Photo/Chongqing Daily]

Chongqing has started a new phase of development and achieved overall progress in economic and social sectors in recent years under the guidance of President Xi Jinping, who has made two inspection visits to the southwestern city, senior officials said on Wednesday.

Hu Henghua, the city's mayor, said at a news conference that Chongqing has experienced "profound changes "in its political environment, innovation-driven development, regional integration, inland opening-up, green development and common prosperity.

Chongqing's GDP reached 2.79 trillion yuan ($410 billion) in 2021, up from 1.16 trillion in 2012, registering an average annual growth of 9.2 percent. In addition, the city's GDP per capita reached 87,000 yuan in 2021.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, "in the first half of the year, our GDP has increased by 4 percent and the major indicators are running within a reasonable range", the mayor said. "Chongqing has achieved resilient growth under big pressure."

In 1997, Chongqing became China's fourth municipality after Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin. Covering 82,402 square kilometers and with a population of over 32 million, it is the largest of the four, even bigger in area than Ireland or the Czech Republic.

Located on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, the city boasts key geographic advantages as a strategic pivot in the national development program for western regions, as well as a connecting point for the Belt and Road Initiative and the Yangtze River Economic Belt.

During his inspection trip to Chongqing in 2016, Xi said the municipality would become an inland international logistics hub. Xi visited the city again in 2019, and said that it should strive to make new achievements and breakthroughs as part of the drive to develop western regions.

He also said it should continue to be an anchor of inland development, a driver in advancing the BRI and a leader in green development in the Yangtze River Economic Belt.

"Under Xi's guidance, Chongqing now enjoys a sound political environment as Party building takes on a new look," the mayor said.

Chongqing has been creating a clean political environment after completely wiping out "pernicious influences" brought by Sun Zhengcai and Bo Xilai, both former secretaries of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, as well as Wang Lijun and Deng Huilin, who were both former police chiefs, he said.

He added that the traditional industrial powerhouse is now transitioning to smart city status through digital innovation, with over 5,000 high-tech companies that account for 19 percent of the city's industrial output.

Thanks to its sound socioeconomic environment, Chongqing has become a hot investment destination. In the past five years, foreign investment in the city has grown to $51.7 billion.

Meanwhile, a major regional development plan offers Chongqing new opportunities. In January 2020, the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle became the fourth national key region after the Yangtze River Delta region, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

Chongqing and Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, are jointly shouldering the responsibility of leading high-quality development in western China.

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