Regional/ Charming Jiangxi

Province optimizes opening-up with environment at center

By Zhang Zhao | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-01 14:37

Clean, high-tech industries nurtured to drive economy onto new heights, Zhang Zhao reports.

Despite its disadvantageous geographic location in an inland region, East China's Jiangxi province has found a way to build up an innovative, open and green economy. "Last year, Jiangxi maintained steady economic growth, optimizing its industrial structure and shifting to new engines of development," said Governor Liu Qi in his government work report at the provincial people's congress earlier this year.

Provincial GDP grew 9 percent to 1.8 trillion yuan ($270.2 billion) last year, with industrial added value hitting 780 billion yuan, also increasing 9 percent from 2015. The high-tech sector accounted for more than 30 percent of the total industrial added value.

For the first time the service industries contributed more than 40 percent to GDP.

"Technological innovation is the key to nurturing new driving forces of development, which used to be a shortcoming of Jiangxi," Liu told People's Daily.

He said the government has carried out a series of policies to encourage innovation, including increased investment and awards, mechanisms for cooperation between companies and research institutions, restructuring research teams and the introduction of top personnel.

Jiangxi's companies, organizations and individuals filed more than 60,000 patent applications last year, up 65.9 percent from 2015. The growth rate topped the nation. At the same time, more than 31,000 patents were approved, up 30.3 percent — three times the national average growth.

Research and development expenditure in the province accounted for 1.1 percent of GDP.

The total import and export volume of Jiangxi increased from $33.4 billion to $40.1 billion over the past five years, and high-tech products have seen increasing shares in the exported goods market, according to the provincial statistics authority.

An open economy requires inclusive minds, cooperation and innovation, Liu said at a related conference in June. He called for an improved market system, a well-established foreign investors management mechanism and greater trade facilitation.

Lu Xinshe, Party chief of the province, said: "Jiangxi will actively take the opportunities created by the Belt and Road Initiative and globalization to open its economy to other regions in China and the outside world."

Hong Kong is one of Jiangxi's major sources of non-mainland investment. There were more than 11,000 Hong Kong-funded companies in the province by the end of 2016 and about 80 new ones were approved in the first four months of this year.

In one of Jiangxi's most recent overseas investment attraction campaigns, held in early June in Hong Kong, 300 projects were promoted, which were worth more than 700 billion yuan in total.

The provincial government said it believes the environment is the greatest advantage and wealth for Jiangxi. The province has 63.1 percent forest coverage and is home to 910,000 hectares of wetlands.

Energy consumption per 10,000 yuan of GDP produced reduced 22 percent last year from 2012.

"We want accelerated economic growth on one hand and a well-preserved environment on the other," said Lu. "We have designed a coordinated development map to let Jiangxi rise in a ‘green' way, integrating economic and environmental benefits."

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