CHINA> Regional
Economic powerhouse Guangdong told to tighten belt
Updated: 2009-01-06 13:59

GUANGZHOU -- Despite a 10.1-percent growth in GDP last year, China's economic powerhouse of Guangdong Province was warned of belt-tightening ahead as concern mounts over the effects of the international financial crisis.

"We should tighten our belts and be thrifty in everything this year," Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua was quoted as saying by Guangzhou Daily on Tuesday.

The financial situation for Guangdong would be tough this year as it would face new challenges brought about by the global financial crisis, said Huang.

He added the province would spend money "saved over the past few years" to boost domestic demand this year, while continuing to improve living standards.

Huang made the remarks after briefing a meeting of the provincial Communist Party of China committee that Guangdong was expected to realize 3.57 trillion yuan (US$522 billion) in GDP last year, a 10.1 percent increase.

He said thrift was essential even in celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, saying the printing of elaborate invitation cards to events and celebrity performances would be viewed as a waste of money.

Guangdong was an agricultural province before China launched the reform and opening-up drive in 1978. At that time, its economic output was about 20 billion yuan, or 5 percent of the national economy.

However, it grew at an average annual rate of 13.45 percent in the past three decades, 3.5 percentage points higher than the national level, and accounted for one-eighth of the national economy in 2007.

A report released by the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences last week said other provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities were unlikely to replace or overtake Guangdong in economic output in the near future.