Guangdong seeks greater global business ties

Days of relying on cheap manufacturing over, province's party chief warns

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 November, 2013, 4:29am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 November, 2013, 5:02am

Guangdong party chief Hu Chunhua said the era of relying on preferential governmental policies and cheap labour is over - the province must forge closer ties with the international economy to grow.

Hu widely seen as a rising star in the Communist Party - has been stressing growth since he took office in December.

"For the first 30 years, Guangdong has been relying on preferential policies from the central government, our low labour costs and at the cost of environmental degradation" Hu said during the opening of a meeting with the province's overseas advisers yesterday.

But he said Guangdong could no longer rely on this model if it wanted to remain a leading province in the country.

"Only with an internationalised business-friendly environment can we encourage more foreign companies to come to Guangdong and to encourage Guangdong companies to seek economic co-operation around the world,'' he said.

"We should establish an internationally-friendly business environment in Guangdong.''

Hu announced in August a plan to allocate 672 billion yuan (HK$850 billion) over the next five years to build new infrastructure, industrial zones and cities in areas that missed out on the Pearl River Delta's boom.

The province's gross domestic product stood at 5.7 trillion yuan in 2012, growth of 8.5 per cent on the previous year.

Hu said that represented a large gap with developed economies, as the province's per capita GDP was only about US$8,000 and urban disposable income was about 30,000 yuan. The province's rural residents were still fairing relatively badly, with per capita income was only about US$2,000, Hu said at the meeting.

In explaining tax reforms announced at the plenum of senior leaders last week, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei told Xinhua yesterday that the ministry would no longer approve preferential tax policies for one region or another.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Guangzhou government announced 55 projects at an investment fair for private investors.

The projects included transport, infrastructure, urban development, industrial parks, environmental protection, energy and water and social infrastructure.

The city hopes the projects will attract private investment of more than 140.5 billion yuan.

Several high-profile infrastructure projects are under development in the Nansha experimental zone, Guangzhou's southernmost district.

These include an airport and port railway, both of which have attracted private funds.

Nansha is one of the three economic and services pilot zones in the Pearl River Delta, alongside Hengqin and Qianhai.