Guizhou, Yunnan see rapid rise in GDP

By Chen Yang Source:Global Times Published: 2013-4-23 23:18:01

Local authorities in 24 municipalities, provinces and regions had released details of their economic performance for the first quarter of 2013 by Tuesday, with Yunnan and Guizhou in Southwest China topping the list, mainly due to fast-growing investment.

The two provinces both realized GDP growth of 12.6 percent year-on-year in the first three months of this year, 4.9 percentage points higher than the country's GDP growth during the period, data from local provincial statistics bureaus showed.

"The two provinces' high GDP growth was mainly driven by investment, exports and a relatively low base (of comparison)," Tang Jianwei, a senior analyst with Bank of Communications, told the Global Times Tuesday.

Guizhou has set this year's GDP growth target at 14 percent, the highest target in the Chinese mainland.

"Guizhou's economy has benefited from increasing support from the central government and the country's industrial transfer from east to west," Tang said.

The State Council released a guideline to accelerate the development of Guizhou in January 2012, including measures such as initiating construction projects, increasing fiscal investment and tax breaks.

But Guizhou's GDP and per capita GDP are still comparatively low. The province's GDP was 79 billion yuan ($12.8 billion) in the first quarter of 2013, equivalent to just 6.3 percent of that of South China's Guangdong Province, which ranked No.1 in terms of GDP in the first three months.

"If Guizhou wants to bridge the gap with other provinces, developing its industry is the key factor," Liu Qinghe, a researcher with the Guizhou Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times Tuesday.

Guizhou's industrial output grew by 14.8 percent in the first quarter of 2013 from a year earlier, reflecting a robust increase in the output of cement, full operation of electrolytic aluminum factories and rising coal production capacity, according to information from a provincial industrial economy work conference held Friday in Guiyang, capital of the province.

Tang warned that local governments should not achieve fast GDP growth at the expense of the environment.

"Environmental damage in eastern and southern provinces is becoming worse, so some high-polluting factories that should have been shut down were instead moved to less developed provinces and regions," he said.

Tang citied an example in Shifang, Southwest China's Sichuan Province last July, when local residents took to the streets to protest about a planned copper refinery that was considered to be a potential source of serious pollution.

The city government later canceled the project.

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