Experts suggested more tweaks to the current administrative divisions of Anhui province to expand central cities as driving forces.
The province's four regions: the Anhui-Section Yangtze River (Wanjiang) City Belt, North Anhui, the Hefei Economic Rim and Southwest Anhui, have their own advantages in the course of development, according to a regional economic development survey issued on Wednesday by the Anhui Provincial Development and Reform Commission.
In the first half of 2013, the Wanjiang City Belt's gross domestic product(GDP) rose by 12.4 percent year-on-year, ranking first among the four regions. When it came to fixed-asset investment, especially that in the property sector, the North Anhui region stood out. The southwestern region of the province boasted a higher ratio of fiscal revenue to GDP than North Anhui and the Hefei Economic Rim.
Largely affected by the ongoing economic downturn, however, these regions are experiencing greater difficulty in balancing competition and cooperation. Market barriers within each region have been slowing down the integration, and there are increasingly tougher competition among regions in land, labor force, industries and capital, said experts from the commission.
To ease the bad situation, the development and reform authorities said, the regions must be developed from the perspective of economy rather than administration. It is urgent to remove administrative barriers.
Also, the survey proposed that the provincial government should continue to tweak the administrative divisions, as part of its efforts to enhance central cities'ability to function as the driving force behind the province's development.
Wuhu and Ma'anshan, the second and third largest economy in the province, are being integrated, so are Tongling and Chizhou, both major cities in the Wanjiang City Belt.
In 2011, Chaohu, once a prefecture-level city, was split into three parts and absorbed by its neighboring Hefei, the provincial capital, Wuhu and Ma'anshan.
(By Zheng Weiling)