China’s fastest-growing city leads for the 10th straight quarter

Municipality recorded expansion of 10.5 per cent in the first half

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 July, 2017, 6:29pm
UPDATED : Friday, 28 July, 2017, 10:00pm

Chongqing has continued to lead China’s economic growth, with a double-digit expansion in the first half of the year.

The city, created in 1997 to facilitate building the Three Gorges Dam, recorded growth of 10.5 per cent in the period, the city’s statistics bureau said on Wednesday. It was the highest figure among 25 provinces that have released first-half figures.

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The consistent growth has taken place against a backdrop of political chaos in the city, with the dramatic downfall of former leader Bo Xilai in 2012, and the recent dismissal of party boss Sun Zhengcai, who is being investigated for corruption.

Liu Yong, a senior researcher with the Development Research Centre of the State Council, said Chongqing had the advantage of policy support from the central government.

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He added that Huang Qifan, who retired as mayor of Chongqing at the end of 2016, did a good job to boost growth by promoting fixed-asset investments and exports.

“Huang’s policies were very successful, such as the freight train to Europe and boosting local computer manufacturing,” Liu said.

Chen Miner, a former aide to President Xi Jinping who previously oversaw the neighbouring province of Guizhou, was appointed last week to replace Sun as head of Chongqing.

Guizhou’s economy grew 10.4 per cent in the first half thanks to its fast development in big data, brewery and tourism.

The rust-belt province of Liaoning continued to see the slowest growth at 2.1 per cent.

But the country’s overall economic growth is showing signs of resilience. The International Monetary Fund earlier this week raised its forecasts for China growth in 2017 and 2018.

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Meanwhile the State Information Centre, a think tank affiliated with China’s economic planning agency, said on Tuesday that the country’s growth rate could rise to 6.7 per cent in the second half – higher than the full-year government target of 6.5 per cent.

A research report released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on the same day put national economic growth at 6.8 per cent in the third quarter, and 6.7 per cent in the fourth.