CHINA> National
'West Development Strategy' boosts employment
By Lan Tian (
Updated: 2009-11-24 18:53

China's 10-year-long West Development Strategy has resulted in more job opportunities than ever for residents of China's vast western regions, an official said at a briefing.

The 12 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in the western regions saw 2.92 million new job opportunities in 2008, an increase of 660,000 over 2004, said Xu Yuegao, deputy director of policy research department under the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

From 2003 to 2009, the central government allocated more than 38 billion yuan ($6 billion) in subsidies to promote employment and reemployment in the regions, he said.

As of last year, 99.9 percent of zero-employment families in the region - 357,000 families - have at least one family member who found a job, he said.

China launched the West Development Strategy in January 2000 to promote social and economic progress in the western parts of the country, which are relatively less developed than the rest of the country.

The western regions have a combined population of about 370 million and account for 71.4 percent of the country's total land area.

By injecting financial aid, the central government hopes to speed up infrastructure construction, industrialization and poverty eradication in the regions. Officials, technicians and other qualified talents have been dispatched from the eastern regions to lend a hand.