South China's Guangdong Province saw its GDP amount to more than 2.59 trillion yuan in 2006, up 14.1 percent from one year earlier. This accounts for around one-eighth of the country's total GDP.
"The GDP growth rate in 2006 is 0.9 and 0.4 percentage point higher than the average recorded during the Tenth Five-Year Plan (2000-2005) and between 1979 and 2005 respectively," said Ou Weidong, vice-director of Statistics Bureau of Guangdong Province.
While Guangdong's total GDP continued to surge, its per capita GDP leapt to 28,077 yuan or $3,509.
"It indicates that Guangdong has really become a medium-income region," an expert said.
According to the World Bank, per capita GDP in a medium-income country or region was $2,640 in 2005. "Therefore Guangdong's economic level has already reached that of the medium country and region," the expert added.
As an important criterion against a country's or a region's income level, China is expected to see its per capita GDP as a whole reach $3,000 by 2020.
"With its per capita GDP exceeding $3,000 now, Guangdong has actually met the country's goal about 13 years in advance," Ou said.
Guangdong statistics bureau's head described consumption, foreign export and investment as three driving force behind Guangdong's robust economy.
"Total retail value of the province has reached 911.8 billion yuan, 15.7 percent up from the previous year and the fastest growth ever recorded since 1996," Ou said.
"The province's total export and import value amounted to $527.2 billion, representing an increase of 23.2 percent year on year...thanks to increasingly strong demand from overseas markets. Its general trade export value jumped to $80 billion, up 50 percent and overtaking Zhejiang as the country's largest general trade exporter."
Investment in Guangdong continued to rise in a stable manner, Ou said.
"Total fixed-asset investment reached 811.6 billion yuan, up 16.7 percent from 2005. The investment on the first, second and third industries amounted to 4.93 billion, 323.6 billion and 483.1 billion yuan, a year-on-year growth of 69.6 percent, 15.5 percent and 17.1 percent respectively."
Guangdong's GDP would keep growing but at a slower pace, said a senior provincial official.
"We have lowered 2007 GDP growth rate forecast to 9 percent, which will come in line with around 9 percent the country's average GDP growth rate as set in the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10)," said Governor Huang Huahua.
"It will allow us to concentrate more on adjusting structures, deepening reforms and changing our growth patterns while alleviating pressures exerted by fast-growing economy on local resources and environment," Huang said.
(HK Edition 01/26/2007 page6)