Jiangsu will see an economic slowdown in the coming five years, but remains confident it can stay ahead of the competition, Governor Zheng Silin said yesterday. The eastern province plans to survive by implementing measures including a modern enterprise system and technological upgrading, according to Mr Zheng. Nevertheless, growth of gross domestic product is expected to drop from the 18.1 per cent registered in the previous five years to 12 per cent in the Ninth Five-Year Plan period (1996-2000). Last year, Jiangsu's domestic output topped 515 billion yuan (HK$478 billion), making it one of the richest provinces in China. But the Governor said the province would keep up the momentum and 12 per cent growth did not contradict the eight per cent national ceiling set by premier Li Peng. Mr Zheng said Jiangsu had set the year 2000 as a target to achieve modernisation. 'Jiangsu has 64 counties. What we mean by modernisation is that by 2000, all 64 counties must reach the 12 standards set by the State Statistical Bureau,' he said. The bureau's list includes basic living standards such as per capita income and living space. Mr Zheng said Jiangsu needed to adjust its growth pattern since Beijing had adopted an economic sliding policy favouring central and western provinces, and as many as 29 per cent of the state enterprises in Jiangsu were losing money. 'We must acknowledge that 29 per cent represents a significant portion and we will take a series of measures to tackle the problem,' Mr Zheng said. Township enterprises - one of Jiangsu's key foreign exchange earners - however will see slower growth and Mr Zheng predicted a modest 15 per cent increase for the sector this year. Since township enterprises are generally more responsive to market changes, he believed these companies would survive. Mr Zheng claimed the tension across the Taiwan Strait had not affected the flow of Taiwanese investment into his province. The Governor even said Hau Pei-tsun, one of the four vice-presidential candidates in the upcoming Taiwan presidential election, was welcome to visit. Mr Hau, a former premier, is a native of Jiangsu.