China will implement guidelines this year to promote the development of world-class industry clusters in the Yangtze River Economic Belt, with five emerging industries-digital information, high-end equipment, automobiles, home appliances, textiles and garments-being top priorities, the Economic Information Daily said on Monday.
The move came close on the heels of Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei's statement during the ministry's annual conference that setting up world-class industry clusters for advanced manufacturing would be a key task for this year.
According to the newspaper, the five key clusters will be centered in the 11 core provinces and municipalities with favorable industrial conditions, including Shanghai and Jiangsu, Anhui and Guizhou provinces.
The Yangtze River passes through eastern, central and western China and unites the country's coastal regions with the less developed inland regions. It is also one of the busiest rivers for freight traffic worldwide.
The Yangtze River Economic Belt involves nine provinces and two municipalities that make up roughly one fifth of the country's land area, accommodate a population of around 600 million and generate more than 40 percent of the country's GDP.
"By building industry clusters, provinces and municipalities along the belt can boost their competitiveness, which will optimize the industrial structure and help move industries in the regions from 'mid to low-end' to 'mid to high-end' markets in the long term," said Wu Qi, from the commercial bank research center at Hengfeng Bank Research Institute.
In addition, these clusters will also unite with some national and provincial level development zones and industrial parks along the river to build trans-regional clusters with well-formed industry chains.
For a long time, China has put a premium on the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt in a bid to boost development in the riverside regions and inject fresh growth impetus for the nation's economy.
An earlier guideline on the industrial green development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt released by the ministry and other top authorities noted that over 100 development zones and industrial parks were involved in the development of industry clusters.
Among them, 82 come from the high-end equipment industry, 52 from the digital information sector, while 20 are concerned with automobiles. Others are in the home appliances as well as textiles and garments industries.
In the digital information sector, the cluster will join Jiangsu, Hubei and Sichuan provinces as well as Shanghai and Chongqing, to improve integrated circuits, develop core universal chips and promote new material applications.