Dongguan to cut rate of growth

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 April, 2008, 12:00am

Dongguan has pledged to slow its economic growth as part of a strategy to transform itself from a resource-led to an innovation-led economy.

Beijing named Dongguan in February as a pilot city for the nation's so-called scientific development, encouraging it to draw on the experience of Singapore and Yokohama, Japan, in terms of industrial upgrades, urban planning, public administration, environmental protection and community welfare.

Dongguan party secretary Liu Zhigeng was quoted by The Southern Metropolis News yesterday as saying that the city was fully prepared for the impact of lower gross domestic product growth for the next five years.

Mr Liu said Dongguan had to make the shift to an innovation-led economy because obstacles such as limited land, resources and labour, and the threat of environmental pollution would eventually ruin the city.

In Mr Liu's blueprint, Dongguan should focus on district redistribution, streamlining its industrial infrastructure, launching more hi-tech projects, attracting skilled talent and improving public security.

'Dongguan's GDP growth reached 18 per cent last year ... but we must endure the throes brought by a temporarily slowed economy [to transform ourselves],' he said.

Mr Liu said resource and environmental restrictions were 'toxic arrows piercing Dongguan' and the city needed to extract the poison or die. He said some resource-intensive manufacturers could relocate to other parts of Guangdong, enabling the city to cut its population and output of pollutants.

Dongguan's planned transformation is expected to put even greater pressure on Hong Kong manufacturers based in the city. Those producing labour-intensive and low-value-added goods may be forced to cut costs by going elsewhere, and factories choosing to remain in Dongguan will have to continually upgrade their technology and produce goods of higher value.

Mr Liu denied that a large number of manufacturers in Dongguan had moved out or closed down since last year due to new policies. He said only a few operations had left and they did not have a great impact on the city.

Dongguan is one of four Guangdong areas selected as test sites for the scientific development pilot scheme. The others are Huizhou and Foshan's Nanhai district and Qingxin county.