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As growing numbers of manufacturers move from the nation's coastal to inland regions in pursuit of lower costs, many workers previously employed as migrant labor in the nation's traditional manufacturing hubs have decided to stay in their home provinces.
This trend is having a positive impact on local economic developments, said legislators and political advisers.
In Henan, the nation's most populous province, the number of workers migrating to other provinces has decreased from a record 17 million in 2006 to 12.2 million last year, Kong Lingchen, a deputy to the National People's Congress, said during the NPC session.
Kong, who is also director of Henan's Commission Office for Public Sector Reform, said that more and more rural residents in Henan are choosing to work in factories near their hometowns rather than migrating to other provinces.
The Henan provincial government has drawn up many favorable policies to attract manufacturing companies to the inland province to provide more job opportunities in recent years, especially since the central government issued a guideline for Henan to establish the Central Plains Economic Zone last year.
Foxconn Technology Group, which makes Apple iPhones and iPads in the Chinese mainland, set up a manufacturing base in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, in September 2010.
It employs more than 130,000 workers - 123,000 from Henan province, according to a report by China News Service on Feb 29.
Henan province's total trade volume reached $32.6 billion in 2011, of which Foxconn accounted for $9.4 billion, or 29 percent, said the report.
Tang Dazhi, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, said fewer social problems would emerge, such as the negative impact on children's education, if workers could find jobs near their hometowns.
"More policies should be drawn up to encourage companies to relocate to the inland region to provide job opportunities for residents in developing areas," Tang said.
Mei Xingbao, a member of the CPPCC, said that local governments in the inland region should cherish their human resources and show more respect toward local workers.
"When I was the mayor of Zhangjiajie (in Central China's Hunan province), I went to Guangdong province to visit the migrant workers from Zhangjiajie every year. I felt proud of the migrant workers because they have made contributions to economic development," he said.
Zhao Youfa, chairman of the trade union at Rizhixin Silicon Rubber Electronic Co in Tanghe county of Henan province, said that nearly 45 percent of the company's 700 workers used to work in coastal provinces such as Guangdong and Zhejiang.
"More and more workers chose to go back home to seek jobs rather than migrate to South China in recent years," he said. "I expect growing numbers of workers will never migrate again."
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