Jilin on the road to economic awakening
Northeast province playing to its strengths through pillar industries in bid to improve lives of local people
China's Jilin province, known as a traditional manufacturing base, a motor industry pioneer and tourism destination, plays an important role in the country's strategy to revitalize Northeast China. Besides economic growth, it has made achievements in innovative technology, global collaboration, rural revitalization, ecological protection and improving people's livelihoods in the past year.
Here are the highlights of Jilin's development in 2018, as released in the local government work report.
Manufacturing and tourism accelerated
Jilin province saw stable economic growth in 2018 despite downward pressure nationally.
The province booms in winter as an ice and snow paradise, and in summer as a cool and casual playground. The number of tourists and tourism industry revenue in the province grew by 15.2 percent and 20.1 percent respectively last year. The fish-hunting festival at Chagan Lake is in the top 10 most influential ice and snow tourism events in China.
Jilin-based Hongqi, a brand under China's leading automaker FAW Group, sold over 33,000 cars in 2018, up 602 percent year-on-year. Hongqi, meaning "red flag", is China's iconic sedan brand established in 1958.
The first phase of FAW-Volkswagen's new Audi Q plant was put into production in Changchun, Jilin's capital city, in 2018, to help the brand lead the luxury car market in China. The plant is said to use digital and green production techniques. The National Intelligent Connected Vehicle (North) Pilot Zone also finished construction.
Twelve Jilin-1 satellites - the first satellite to be named after a Chinese province - are in orbit. The satellites, developed by Changchun-based Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co, are able to map China's varied geography and pinpoint its natural resources.
The world's first noctilucent remote sensing satellite Luojia-1 was sent into space by the company in June. It's able to acquire larger-scale and higher quantities of artificial lighting data.
The turnover of technological transfer and commercialization contracts in Changchun-Jilin-Tumen Development Pilot Zone reached 34.19 billion yuan ($5.1 billion), up 55.6 percent year-on-year. Jilin's index about how technologies contribute to economic development ranked 14th nationwide, up three places from 2017.
Cooperation with other regions well promoted
Jilin province released a series of policies to enhance cooperation with other provinces and countries to further open up its economy.
The first Chinese-made subway, developed by the Jilin branch of CRRC Corporation, opened in Massachusetts, United States, in December.
The China (Changchun) cross-border e-commerce comprehensive pilot zone was approved by the State Council by the end of last year. The Ji'an border port was opened in December as a gate to Democratic People's Republic of Korea, to promote foreign trade and tourism.
Jilin sent delegates to Russia, Germany, Japan and Republic of Korea in economic and trade communications. It also invited foreign diplomats to visit Jilin province.
Jilin signed agreements with seven provinces, municipalities and districts, including Beijing and Guangdong province in trade, technology and projects.
Jilin worked to improve government efficiency by simplifying working procedures, adopting digital tools and giving more power to lower-level administrative offices, so as to provide better services for people and stimulate market vitality.
For example, it opened an online registration system for companies. The number of newly registered companies grew by 322 in average every day. It released 18 policies to attract talent, covering accommodation, allowance, children's education and other issues.
Modern agriculture helps rural revitalization
Jilin province is working on deepening supply-side structural reform in the agricultural industry to improve efficiency and food quality.
The planting area of corn was reduced by 373,333 hectares in 2018, as part of the effort to ease nationwide oversupply.
Despite the reduction, Jilin produced 36.33 billion kilograms of food last year, contributing 5.5 percent to the total food production of China. The figure stayed at more than 35 billion kg for six consecutive years.
In 2018, the amount of modern farmland reached 133,333 hectares. A total of 87.5 percent of farming work realized mechanization, 1.5 percentage points higher than 2017.
Jilin's experience in adopting new technologies set an example for others. For example, it encourages using rotten straws in fertilization, to bring more organic components to the land and nutrition to crops. Compared with chemical fertilizers, the method saves money, boosts production and protects the environment.
The local government allocated 1 billion yuan to back economic development in counties, towns and villages. By 2018, it had 50"beautiful villages" and 55 towns with a unique and competitive industry.
Toilets for 200,000 rural families were renovated, answering to the country's "toilet revolution" to improve sanitation and the living environment in villages.
Achievements made in "three tough battles"
The country's "three tough battles" are to forestall and defuse major risks, target poverty alleviation and control pollution.
Jilin province made its own contributions in the past year.
The non-performing loan ratio of local financial institutions declined. Breakthroughs were made in resolving debt issues related to the government.
It released a document to encourage insurers to back poverty-relief. The local government encouraged insurers to increase insurance coverage and reduce premium rates for planting and other poverty alleviation-related industries. It also gave a subsidy for the insurance premiums of poor families.
Meanwhile, Jilin works to protect its natural resources, as well as its mountains, grasslands and wetlands. The golf courses and 187 villas on Changbai Mountain, a major scenic spot home to waterfalls, lakes, gorges, springs and wildlife, were torn down. The pilot project to restore and protect the ecology of the mountain was implemented.
Capital city Changchun was titled a model city for its treatment of wastewater. Ji'an city was named a national demonstration city for ecological civilization construction. Baicheng city, as one of China's first batch of sponge cities - those pioneering in water recirculation - made significant achievements.
Livelihoods of migrants and the elderly in focus
Jilin province is working to bring more jobs, guarantee healthcare and elderly care for local people.
The minimum living allowances for urban and rural residents with financial difficulties in Jilin were increased by 4.96 percent and 3.7 percent respectively last year, benefiting over 1.11 million people.
The pensions and salaries of migrant workers are considered of great importance. A total of 86,000 migrant workers returned to their hometown in Jilin to work or start their own business, helping to develop the economy at county-level and serve rural revitalization.
Residents can see doctors from tertiary hospitals at community clinics or rural hospitals, while rural doctors can receive training at large hospitals. Remote consultation is also available. This is part of the government's effort to ease the imbalance of medical resources.
Incidence of infectious disease was kept at a low level. Seventeen anti-cancer drugs were added to medical insurance.
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