West China records higher-than-average H1 GDP growth

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/30 19:53:40

China's western regions recorded a GDP growth rate of 7.4 percent in the first half of 2018, 0.6 percentage points higher than the national average, an official of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Thursday, highlighting the achievement of the country's western development drive.

"Overall, the trends of enlarging gaps between China's West and East have been effectively addressed and the country's coordinated development between different regions has been enhanced," Xiao Weiming, inspector of NDRC's western development department, said at a press briefing in Beijing on Thursday.

From 2013 to 2017, the western region's GDP surged from 12.7 trillion yuan ($1.8 trillion) to 17.1 trillion yuan, up 6.6 percent on an average yearly basis, Xiao said. The region's contribution to China's GDP has also expanded from 19.8 percent to 20 percent. And during the past five years, a total of 35 million people have been lifted out of poverty, reducing poverty rates in the western region to below 10 percent, according to Xiao.

Meanwhile, western China has been opening up more of its economy and actively participating in the construction of the Belt and Road initiative.

But Xiao noted that an urgent task for the western region is to reverse its slides in fixed-asset investment, which has weighted on its slowdown in economic growth.

"In West China, competition in the low- and middle-end manufacturing industry is very fierce, making it very difficult for the region to lure new investors. And it also lacks a foundation for high-end manufacturing, which has resulted in plunging investment," Xiao explained.

For the next step, Xiao said that authorities will scale up efforts to optimize the region's economic structure to make it less dependent on heavy chemical industry.

Posted in: ECONOMY

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