China’s local govts put quality over speed, set lower GDP targets for 2020

By Yang Kunyi Source:Global Times Published: 2020/1/19 20:58:40

Local govts put quality over speed, set lower GDP targets for 2020

China's GDP target for 2019

Most provincial-level governments in China have lowered their 2020 GDP growth goals. Experts said the goals tend to be conservative given the existing size of the economy, and local governments are encouraged to aim for high-quality growth instead of just high-speed growth. 

Of 29 provincial-level regions that have released 2020 GDP targets, 28 set their goals unchanged or lower than for 2019, statistics from the governments' websites showed. 

North China's Tianjin Municipality was the only one to set a higher target: 5 percent for 2020 from about 4.5 percent in the previous year. 

Slowing growth reflects the transformation from an economy driven by high investment to one that features quality and efficiency, said Fu Linghui, spokesperson of the National Bureau of Statistics. 

"So long as the planned goals fit development requirements, it is acceptable for growth targets to be set higher or lower," Fu said.

The goals for 2020 have been set conservatively, largely due to the huge size of China's existing economy, Tian Yun, vice director of the Beijing Economic Operation Association, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

"The average growth expectation is set at about 6 percent, but considering that the nation's economy has been nearing the level of 100 trillion yuan ($14.58 trillion), that's within a reasonable growth range," Tian said.  

Despite the slowing speed, some local economies still witnessed tremendous growth in total GDP last year. 

South China's Guangdong Province is estimated to have achieved 10.5 trillion yuan in GDP at a speed of 6.3 percent, the first to break the 10-trillion-yuan mark, followed by East China's Jiangsu Province, with about 10 trillion in GDP in 2019. 

The two provinces' figures both exceeded the GDP of Australia which is estimated to hit $1.38 trillion in 2019, according to the IMF. 

"In recent years, local governments have been encouraged to focus on the quality of economic growth rather than just its speed," Tian said. "Improvements in employment, household incomes and the environment are now given more importance."


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