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Solid foundation laid for rapid growth

By Pei Pei and Zheng Jinran | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-21 08:07

Based on its geographical advantages and solid economic foundations, Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province, will strive to boost its overall development in the near future, local officials said.

It has an extensive transportation network that includes a 70-minute high-speed railway connecting the city to Beijing.

"The city government of Shijiazhuang will make best use of its geographic advantages to promote local economy by setting up a development plan that includes Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province, which is crucial for Shijiazhuang's future development," said a local official who declined to be named.

In addition to its capacity to absorb industries transferred from Beijing, Shijiazhuang has strong economic bases for further cooperation with the capital.

Last year, the city's GDP reached 450 billion yuan ($73 billion), tripling the level it was a decade ago. Shijiazhuang increased its annual GDP by 100 billion from 2009 to 2011.

Meanwhile, the per capita disposable income of urban residents in the city jumped to 23,000 yuan in 2012 from 7,200 yuan 10 years ago, and incomes of rural residents nearly tripled from 3,200 yuan to 9,000 yuan in 2012.

"Together with the fixed-asset investment, consumption has become a major driving force for the local market amid a gloomy global economy," said local officials.

To maintain growth momentum, the city is restructuring its economy and formulating preferential policies to promote strategic emerging industries.

"For the traditional industries, such as the iron and steel industry, it is being recommended that companies install more advanced equipments," local officials said.

"This will help them to become more competitive on the market while greatly reducing energy consumption."

Of the industrial parks in Shijiazhuang, nine had an annual income that exceeded 10 billion yuan in 2012, according to the local government.

In addition, the strategic emerging industries in Shijiazhuang have thrived in recent years.

Official statistics show that the number of high-tech companies increased by 25 percent last year compared to the year previous, which is 10 percent higher than the average level in the country.

The city's high-tech industries generated a combined income of 34 billion yuan last year, leading the province.

The modern service sector also plays a key role in improving the local economy.

The local government has taken a series of measures to promote related industries, such as modern logistics, outsourcing, financial services and other high-end services.

For example, financial services contributed 20.6 billion yuan in 2012, accounting for 4.6 percent of the city's GDP.

With government support, the service industry has grown steadily in recent years, achieving an average annual increase of 12.2 percent.

Shijiazhuang is also working hard to attract foreign investment and talent to promote the health of the local market.

In total, 28 of Fortune 500 companies have set up factories in the city and launched a total of 33 projects with local companies, according to the most recent statistics.

Over the past 10 years, the amount of actually utilized foreign capital has reached about $5.5 billion and has mainly been channeled into such industries as medicine, electronic information, textiles and equipment manufacturing.

"The city government will also try hard to improve the air quality and living environment for local residents. It will develop more scenic spots in surrounding areas," local officials said.

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