Guangdong to double incomes 2 years ahead of schedule, governor says

Province will double incomes by 2018, ahead of schedule, governor tells congress, while also predicting annual economic growth will be 8pc

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 January, 2013, 5:03am

Guangdong would double per capita incomes from 2010 levels by 2018, two years ahead of the national goal, provincial governor Zhu Xiaodan told the opening of the provincial people's congress yesterday.

Southern China's economic powerhouse was also eyeing economic growth rates of 8 per cent for the next five years, Zhu said in the government work report. He also vowed to speed up the transformation of the province from the "world's factory" into a base for strategic and innovative industries.

He said the province planned to invest 400 billion yuan (HK$494 billion) in 280 projects this year, and also highlighted the importance of driving domestic consumption through further urbanisation.

Heavy industrial bases for iron and steel production, oil refining, petrochemicals and train manufacturing were listed as key projects. Construction of railway lines and highways linking the Pearl River Delta with the province's northeast and northwest would also be sped up.

Guangdong's economic output grew by 10.2 per cent last year, Zhu said, beating an 8.5 per cent target despite a slowdown in trade amid a global downturn in the first half of the year.

But the report did not mention "phoenix nirvana", a catchphrase coined by new provincial Communist Party chief Hu Chunhua last week in pledging to continue the upgrading of the province's economic structure.

Hu told a provincial party committee meeting on January 17 that the province should continue "emptying the cage and letting the right birds in" - referring to an initiative launched by his predecessor, Wang Yang , to transfer low-tech, labour-intensive and highly polluting industries out of the region.

He said the province should also prepare for a "phoenix nirvana" - a Chinese idiom referring to revival after painful struggle, but did not elaborate.

Some deputies at the provincial people's congress meeting were unwilling to give their own interpretation of the catchphrase, with a businessman from Zhanjiang and an official from Qingyuan saying they were waiting for more information on Hu's new policy.

Liu Yuelun, the mayor of Foshan , one of the biggest manufacturing bases in the Pearl River Delta, said the new policy might refer to fostering more innovative businesses in the city after some of its polluting manufacturers moved out or closed.

The province also aims to build a marine economy zone, focusing on shipbuilding, marine engineering equipment, marine bio-pharmaceutics and renewable energies, alongside coastal heavy-industry bases.

Zhu also vowed to adopt stricter standards to protect the environment.