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Anhui aims to make its economy rank among the top in China in the next 5 years

Pub Date:21-03-05 08:48 Source:CGTN

East China's Anhui Province has made big strides forward in economic development, poverty eradication and environmental protection. Also, the province has stepped up investment in science and technology.  

In an exclusive interview with CGTN, Li Jinbin, Party Secretary of the Anhui Provincial Committee, shared his vision of the province's development plan for the next five years. 

CGTN: Thank you for joining us. I'm totally mesmerized by the picturesque view of Anhui, which is showcased by the painting behind you in the background. 

Li: Located in the central and eastern part of China, Anhui, together with Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, constitutes the integrated development region of the Yangtze River Delta.  

Anhui links the east with the west of China, along rivers and near coasts, and has many air and water shipping routes. Its waterways connect the rivers to the sea and its high-speed railways are connected to form a network. The mileage of high-speed railways through the province ranks first in China. From here, Xiaogang Village started China's rural reform.  

The region also promoted the exemption of agricultural taxes. The forest chief scheme has also been promoted to the whole country from Anhui. The adventurous and reforming spirit has been integrated into the Anhui people's blood.  

Today, Anhui has reached new heights, which witnessed an opportunity for its development. Last year, its gross domestic product (GDP) was close to 4 trillion yuan (about $600 billion). The growth rate ranks fourth in China and the per capita GDP exceeded 60,000 yuan. Its economy is witnessing a historic transformation, from "the total volume is middle and the per capita is low" to "the total volume is high and the per capita is middle."

CGTN: So the economy and technology in particular witnessed rapid growth over the past few years. Do you think it's largely because Anhui benefits from the regional integration of the Yangtze River Delta, which was upgraded to the level of the country's national strategy? How do you think Anhui can fit itself into the whole integrated region?

Li: We have seen three prominent changes. First, we have become an "official student" from an "auditor" and done many great things that we couldn't manage to do. 

For example, the wafer manufacturing base project with a total investment of 220 billion yuan has been formally signed with Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang; the strategic cooperation between Jiangsu and Volkswagen; the headquarters of electric vehicle maker NIO has settled in Anhui; and Baowu Ma Steel has restructured itself. Last year Baowu Ma steel for the first time produced over 20 million tons of steel, notching a record high.

Second, the region has been integrated into a community, which has solved many difficult problems that we couldn't solve. Fifteen inter-provincial roads have been completed, and the Shenghe-Hangzhou, Hangzhou-Huangshan, Ning'an and He'an high-speed railways are now in operation.

Third, from "good neighbors" to "family members," which benefits us a lot. Hefei, Shanghai and other cities are more connected and people in Anhui can enjoy the high-quality public resources of Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

Anhui has taken the lead in original innovation and industrial innovation, and its regional innovation capacity has been among the top in China for nine consecutive years. We will continue to make progress and build a scientific and technological innovation community in the Yangtze River Delta. 

The output value of strategic emerging industries in Anhui accounts for over 40 percent of the industrial proportion, leaping from a big manufacturing province to a strong one.

We will cooperate with Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang to promote the effective division of labor and reasonable connection of the industrial chain, ensuring effective collaboration under the banner of "the big leading the small" and "upstream and downstream collaboration," and safeguarding "production, supply and marketing."

Last September, the Anhui Pilot Free Trade Zone was approved, which has brought great benefits to Anhui. We have taken the initiative to strengthen interaction with the Shanghai-Jiangsu-Zhejiang Pilot Free Trade Zones and accelerated the preparation for the establishment of the Yangtze River Delta Pilot Free Trade Zone Alliance to boost foreign trade and investment.

First, we're building a platform to promote stable and favorable foreign trade. By the end of January, there were over 3,000 newly-established enterprises in the zone, over 360 major projects, and the investment attracted by the agreement reached nearly 300 billion yuan, with the scale and proportion of foreign trade reaching a record high. The total import and export volume exceeded 500 billion yuan for the first time.

Second, using exhibitions to attract foreign capital. We will move the "main battlefield" to the internet and turn "face to face" into "screen-to-screen" discussions. A series of major exhibitions, including the World Manufacturing Conference 2020, the Jianghuai Economic Online Forum and the World Display Industry Conference, were held. Last year, the actual utilized foreign direct investment increased by 2.1 percent.

Third, we have boosted investment abroad, seeking to explore emerging markets apart from the traditional ones. Actual outbound investment grew by 5.6 percent. Last year and the number of new contracts signed for overseas projects increased by over 31 percent.

CGTN: That's some huge progress for sure. Apart from that, during the past five years, Anhui Province has made historic achievements in poverty alleviation. From "poverty alleviation" to "rural revitalization," we are looking at a different ball game. What measures will you take to achieve that?

Li: Poverty eradication has always been a top priority of Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, Xi has led hundreds of millions of Chinese people in conquering poverty, creating another "miracle" that will go down in history. Like the rest of the country, Anhui has made historic achievements in poverty eradication. Nearly 5 million people have been lifted out of poverty – that's 3,000 villages and 31 counties. 

Despite the elimination of absolute poverty, relative poverty will continue to exist for a long time. We need to give equal attention to those in need. Now, about 1.8 million people of the province are provided with subsistence allowance. The average standard of subsistence allowance is over 7,600 yuan per year.

CGTN: Apart from poverty alleviation, Anhui has been devoted to scientific and technological innovation, including artificial intelligence, electric cars and quantum communication, which are very important given what's happening between China and the United States. The key is talent recruitment. How can you attract talent from China and beyond, especially when you have cities like Shanghai and Hangzhou around?

Li: Innovation is Anhui's specialty and innovative talents are the foundation of the province. We provide talents with good benefits, opportunities, good pay, sincerity and better facilities.

For recruitment, we hope to utilize their expertise and hope they can come frequently. Anhui is exploring the mode of "talent team plus scientific and technological achievements plus government participation plus equity incentive," giving leading talents full autonomy in their research, project evaluation and achievement transformation and encouraging and guiding them to participate in the construction of major projects, so that they can make contributions on a bigger stage of science and technology.

The income from the transformation of scientific and technological achievements in Anhui used to reward the researchers in the first period will reach 90 percent. Through the establishment of the manning quota pool, we have granted quotas of a total of 10,000 posts to universities, all of which are used to hire high-level talents.

A Chinese saying has it that "the place where I can settle down is my home." The sense of identity and belonging determines whether a person is willing to stay. More than 50 years ago, we gave the University of Science and Technology of China great support with the principle that "everyone should save a ration of food every day and make sure that the university's teachers and students have enough to eat."

Today, we cut government spending in other areas to give these talents a good life. We are providing high-level professional talents with convenience in terms of housing, children's schooling, easy entry and exit, medical care, green channel at the airport and title appraisal among others. We've invested over seven billion yuan to support 220 high-level scientific and technological talent teams so far.

CGTN: You are about to be headed for Beijing for the "Two Sessions," one of the most high-profile events in China every year, during which new laws and plans will be made. What will happen to the province?

Li: The 14th Five-Year Plan is the period when China starts the new journey of building a socialist modern country in an all-round way and marching towards the second centenary goal, and it is also an important period for the development of Anhui.

To build a modern and beautiful Anhui in the new stage, we can sum up the goal with three keywords – strong economy, prosperous people and beautiful ecology.

"Strong economy" is to create a new image of innovation-driven and industry-driven regional linkage. During the past five years, Anhui's economy rose from the 14th to 11th place in China, and its per capita GDP rose from the 25th to 13th place. In the next five years, our economy will go farther, making our way among the top in China and narrowing our gap with the rest.

New efforts will be made to build a new development pattern: expanding effective demand and improving the modern circulation system; enhancing the scientific and technological innovation capacity to ensure that our regional innovation capacity remains among the top in China; advancing the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta and increasing Anhui's economic contribution to the Yangtze River Delta; improving the integration level of infrastructure, industrial system and public service connectivity centered around Hefei.

It also includes making breakthroughs in reform and opening up to ensure Anhui's imports and exports exceed $100 billion through the Pilot free trade zones and other platforms; improving the degree of social civilization and cultivating the province with a stronger innovation spirit; promoting ecological progress with more rational energy and resources allocation and reducing major pollutants; improving people's well-being and achieving common prosperity; improving governance and building a law-based Anhui, a law-based government and a law-based society; creating a livable, harmonious, beautiful and rich community.

In the next five years, we'll make the "cake" bigger and in the meantime share the "cake" fairly to increase the middle-income population, protect the welfare of the local residents and boost insurance coverage. Hopefully, the proportion of middle-income groups will surpass 40 percent and the income of urban and rural residents reach the national average.

Ecology-wise, we strive to create a beautiful picture of a bluer sky, greener mountains and cleaner water. In the next five years, we will continue to improve the environment by taking the reform of the forest chief scheme and ecological compensation and implementing the upgraded version of the prevention and control of air, water and soil pollution.

Here I also want to extend my greetings to the audience around the world via CGTN and hope they can come to Anhui for a visit and experience the charm of the province. Also, I hope to share the development opportunities with you all! 


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