Guangzhou tempers GDP target

By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-02-22 06:58
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GUANGZHOU - This southern city plans to expand its economy by 11 percent this year after reporting a 2010 gross domestic product (GDP) worth more than 1 trillion yuan ($152 billion).

"The ultimate goal of the development is to help improve the living standard of the city's 13 million residents and make them feel happier living in the city," Guangzhou Mayor Wan Qingliang said at the local people's congress on Monday.

In his government work report, the mayor said the city's per capita GDP - or GDP divided by the number of people living in the city - will grow by 10 percent in 2011, while the growth of per capita income for urban residents will remain at 11 percent.

"We will introduce a series of preferential policies to let residents enjoy the quick economic development," said Wan, without elaborating.

Guangzhou's GDP reached 1.06 trillion yuan in 2010, which was double its size in 2005. But the per capita income of urban residents only grew by 67.6 percent during the period, lagging behind the economic growth.

The city's GDP grew by 13 percent from 2009 to 2010, placing Guangzhou among a small number of cities that have at least a trillion yuan in GDP. The "1-trillion yuan group" also includes Beijing and Shanghai.

To strike a better balance between the growth in GDP and per capita income, Guangzhou will concentrate this year on improving its industrial structure and adopting polices aimed at benefiting residents, Wan said.

"Through continuous optimization and upgrading of the industrial sector, Guangzhou will accelerate its shift to the tertiary sector as the focus of its economic development," he added.

Guangzhou's service industry grew by 12.6 percent in 2010, accounting for 60 percent of the city's GDP and contributing 7.5 percentage points to the city's total growth in GDP.

"The successful hosting of the 16th Asian Games and Asian Para Games last year has helped boost Guangzhou's international image," Wan said. "We will do more in the years ahead to make people benefit more from the social and economic development we have already achieved in the past five years."

The people-oriented government work report has been interpreted by many as a signal of the government's determination to strike a balance between economic growth and per capita income during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015).

"Many people think it's hard to afford the rising costs of daily necessities like water and electricity," said Liu Dongsheng, a deputy to the local congress. "So it is very essential for the government to help increase the income for both urban and rural residents."

According to a notice of the Guangdong provincial human resources and social security department, Guangzhou's minimum salary - which is to reach 1,300 yuan a month from March 1 - will become the country's highest.

China Daily

(China Daily 02/22/2011 page5)