Ancient city in Shanxi Province sees bright future
Clean air, green land, advanced technology; a higher employment rate, improved living conditions and a good talent pool constitute an ideal picture drawn by the Yuncheng municipal government.
Yuncheng in North China's Shanxi Province, standing at the conjunction of Shanxi, Henan and Shaanxi provinces, has always valued the importance of good living and working environments for its residents and investors.
This year, the first year of the nation's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10), is vital for the city to further carry out the central government's policies and implement new plans, according to Yuncheng Mayor Gao Weidong.
Both the international and domestic environments lend preferential development opportunities to Yuncheng.
To build a harmonious society, the city's priority for this five-year period is economic growth, acceleration of economic structure adjustment, upgrades in urban construction and management, social development, and the creation of a good residential and business environment, Gao said.
"To build the city into an industrial, business and tourism hub in the middle reaches of the Yellow River, Yuncheng has to make greater efforts," Gao added.
According to the city's 11th Five-Year Plan, the average annual growth of the gross output value will reach 13 per cent, while the average annual growth of local fiscal revenue will be 15 per cent.
Much emphasis will be put on foreign trade and investment. The volume of foreign trade is expected to increase 12 per cent annually. The investment from outside the city are set to surge at the rate of 20 per cent yearly, while foreign direct investment will see a rise of 25 per cent.
Gao also set out the target for economic and social development for the 2006-10 period. A series of economic indices are listed.
The annual fixed-asset investment and the annual added value for large-scale industries are predicted to grow by 20 per cent respectively, while the gross output value of grain crops aims to increase by 1.4 billion kilogrammes per year.
Promoting citizens' life quality is also high on the government's development agenda.
And the urban residents' per capita disposable income and rural residents' net income are planned to increase by 12 per cent and 7 per cent respectively on a yearly basis.
Gao said that as a historical and cultural city, Yuncheng should make good use of its rich natural resources and excellent services.
The city government pledged to improve its investment environment by offering sound infrastructure facilities and improving administrative efficiency.
According to the mayor, construction of the Yuncheng section of the expressway from Wenxi to Jiyuan and the highway from Yuncheng to Jishan is underway.
In addition, electric power plants such as Datang International's Yuncheng branch and Yongji plant are under construction. Upon completion, a power network combining a 500,000-volt transmission grid, a 220,000-volt transformer substation and a central city grid will be established.
The budget for research and development and the added value of high-tech industries will account for 1 and 10 per cent of the city's gross domestic product (GDP) respectively, according to the mayor.
The mayor said all his confidence stems from the marked achievement Yuncheng has made during the 10th Five-Year Plan (2000-05).
Last year, thanks to the central government's macro-control policy and the overall guidelines of the provincial government, Yuncheng's GDP increased to 47.5 billion yuan (US$5.86 billion), doubling the figure in 2000.
According to Gao, overall economic strength was enhanced, with all the major economic indices, such as gross fiscal revenue, per capita GDP, fixed-asset investment, gross sales value of consumer goods and foreign trade, surpassing the 10th Five-Year Plan target.
In the 10th Five-Year Plan period, the city's fixed-asset investment reached 55 billion yuan (US$6.87 billion), 2.9 times that of the previous five years.
The city government laid much emphasis on foreign trade by adopting a "Going Global" strategy.
Statistics from the local trade and business bureau show 87 enterprises were engaged in foreign trade, forging business ties with 64 countries and regions in the world.
The accumulated volume of foreign trade during the 2001-05 period increased 57.2 per cent year-on-year to US$1.9 billion; the actual utilization of foreign investment was US$130 million, up 11.6 per cent on a yearly basis.
In addition to the good economic performance, the past five years also saw rapid improvements in infrastructure, environment and living conditions.
Yuncheng made breakthroughs in township construction, clean production, resource saving, as well as the treatment of sewage and garbage.
"These actions have a positive effect on the local ecological system," said Gao.
The once heavily polluted environment has been greatly improved, with the number of days of good air quality exceeding 211 last year; more than 1,000 firms with heavy pollution and laggard technology have been shut down; nearly 100 million cubic metres of water was saved as a result of recycling.
Gao noted that the previous five years were also a period when citizens enjoyed more sustained benefits due to the harmonious development of every social aspect.
The city provided 123,000 new employment opportunities. And 21,000 laid-off workers secured new jobs, lowering the city's unemployment registration rate to 3 per cent.
(China Daily 07/25/2006 page17)
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