Unveiling of a master plan for the growth of the central region

Employees work on a lithium battery production line in Huaibei, Anhui province, in November. (Photo by WAN SHANCHAO / FOR CHINA DAILY)

China is leading the way in the central region’s power, with a focus on stimulating high-quality development and promoting high-level openness, according to a new directive released on Thursday.

The new document marks the latest move by central authorities to boost growth in Anhui, Henan, Jiangxi, Shanxi, Hunan and Hubei provinces, experts said.

The decision will help the region boost its innovation-driven and green development, pursue more balanced development and foster a key growth engine of the country’s high-quality development, they said.

The new directive, issued by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, calls for promoting high-quality development in the central region, including building a modern industrial system supported by manufacturing of cutting edge, capacity building for innovation in key areas, improving the business environment and undertaking the transfer of emerging industries.

As part of the plan, the country is set to build industrial bases in areas such as smart manufacturing, new materials, new energy vehicles and electronic information.

More efforts will be made to build high-level free trade zones in Anhui, Henan, Hubei and Hunan, further increase financial and fiscal support to the central region, promote deep integration of the advanced manufacturing and modern services and build a new high-level opening system in interior areas.

By 2025, breakthroughs will be made in improving the quality, efficiency and development drivers of the Center region. By then, a system of integrated development of industries based on science and innovation will be fundamentally established, with the ratio of R&D expenditure to gross domestic product reaching the national average.

By 2035, a modern economic system will be essentially established in the central region. Industries will have progressed, the coordinated development of urban and rural areas will reach a relatively high level, environmentally friendly production and lifestyles will be formed, and an open economic system and mechanism will be improved.

Yang Gangqiang, vice president of the Central China Development Institute at Wuhan University, said the new document came as the central region was given a new mission in the new era, marking a key step for the nation to promote coordinated regional development and stimulate quality growth.

The central region, as a bridge between the east and the west of the country, is expected to play a key role in promoting the “dual flow” development paradigm, said Jia Ruoxiang, senior researcher at the Institute of National Commission for Development and Reform. of Spatial Planning and Regional Economy. The paradigm takes the internal market as a pillar, with internal and international markets reinforcing each other.

The population of the central region, with around 26.6 percent of the national total, will be a key component of the domestic market. “The future development of the central region will further unleash its huge consumption potential, which will help build a strong domestic market in China,” he said.

The region will also serve as a strategic link between national and international markets, as the Belt and Road initiative will create growth opportunities for the region to pursue high-level opening, Jia said.

“With the help of effective government measures to stimulate innovation-driven growth, deepen reforms and openness, and optimize the business environment, the central region is expected to be a key growth engine for high-level development. quality of the country, ”he said. .

The central region covers about 10 percent of the country’s land area. Its share in the overall national GDP increased from 18.8% in 2005 to 22.2% in 2019, according to official data.

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