Deng Xiaoping's hometown experiences economic reform
Updated: 2004-08-20 11:47
Guang'an, late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping's hometown, neglected during his
lifetime, appears to be a rising economic star after his death.
The city, in southwest China's Sichuan Province, ranked first in Sichuan in
growth rate last year.
When a market-oriented economy was launched in Guang'an in 2001, state-owned
enterprises accounted for 41.5 percent of the local economy. The state sector
now shrank to 17.5 percent, said Chen Xukai, director of the Guang'an Economic
and Trade Committee.
All officials and local residents agreed the best gift to mark the 100th
anniversary of Deng Xiaoping's birthday is to further promote the
"Guang'an should not only stick to a market economy, but it should excel.
Otherwise, Guang'an is unworthy to be Deng's hometown," said Xiao Wenbin, a
farmer of Paifang Village where the former residence of Deng Xiaoping is
Guang'an covers an area of 6,360 square kilometers, has a population of 4.2
million and is one of the leading pig, silk, grain and orange producers in the
country. It is rich in more than 20 mineral resources, including iron, coal and
As recently as 2001, Guang'an was the third from the bottom in Sichuan in
gross domestic product growth. The city was dotted with dirty streets and
polluted rivers. A Hong Kong newspaper stated that the backwardness of Deng
Xiaoping's hometown was a reflection on the remote and rough process of China's
reform and opening up.
Since the market-oriented reform started in Guang'an in 2001, the private
economy has taken a big leap forward. Joint stock companies make up more than 50
percent of all businesses, and a market economic system has taken shape. Chen
Xukai attributed the success to Deng Xiaoping Theory.
Luo Qinghong, chairman of the Guang'an-based Aizhong Co., Ltd., said the
market economy has revitalized Guang'an and raised the competitiveness and
profitability of local businesses.
The city's industrial output value increased from 2.1 billion yuan (US$257
million) in 2000 to 4.87 billion yuan (US$586 million) in 2003. The profits
gained from the industrial sector soared from less than 10 million yuan (US$1.2
million) to 200 million yuan (US$24 million).
Despite the marked increase, the figures reveal that Guang'an's industrial
sector is rather weak. Industry made up 28 percent of the city's gross domestic
product last year, far behind similar cities in China.
Chen admitted that Guang'an is still an agricultural base. Its industry is
still in the bud. He insisted, though, that the city's market economic reform
has been successful.
"We are planning the second stage of reform, which will optimize the limited
existing state-owned businesses with funds absorbed from abroad and boost the
city's energy and food industries," he added.