The Communist Party has appointed a new party chief for the northeastern province of Liaoning to replace Li Keqiang, who was promoted last week to the party's innermost circle of power, state media reported. Zhang Wenyue , 63, governor of the province, would assume Mr Li's position, Xinhua reported yesterday. Mr Zhang had been governor of Liaoning since February 2004, having previously served as its acting governor and vice-governor, it said. Mr Zhang, from the southeastern province of Fujian , is a geologist by training and spent more than two decades prospecting before being sent to the natural resource-rich western region of Xinjiang as deputy party chief in 1995. He went to Liaoning as deputy party secretary in 2001. Mr Li was promoted to the nine-member Politburo Standing Committee - the party's top decision-making body - after the party's 17th National Congress, which ended on October 21. Mr Li, 52, had led the industrial rustbelt province since 2004. The most notable policy achievement, if not the only one, during his three-year tenure was a sweeping slum-clearance project which was blessed by a massive injection of central government funding. The Penghu project received a deluge of positive publicity in both the central and local official media and earned much-needed political points for Mr Li, who had long been groomed by President Hu Jintao for a top leadership post. Mr Li, who had been locked in a two-horse race with former Shanghai party chief Xi Jinping for the country's top job in five years' time, was outranked by Mr Xi in the standing committee line-up released last Monday and now looks most likely to take over from Premier Wen Jiabao . Mr Xi, 54, is in line to succeed Mr Hu as party chief in 2012. Meanwhile, Xinhua ran a story heaping praise on the recent 'performance' of the Shanghai municipal administration, which Mr Xi headed from March. The consumer confidence of Shanghai people had been rising for the past three months, Xinhua said, citing a research report by a local university, and the main contributing factor was the introduction of a number of social welfare policies by the municipal government which had boosted 'a sense of security' among local people. Mr Xi was parachuted into Shanghai earlier this year to take care of a messy situation, caused by a huge pension fund scandal that toppled his predecessor, Chen Liangyu .