Economic gap keeps narrowing between China´s east, west (03/02/2010)

Updated: 2010/3/2 10:44:00

Since 2004, the economic gap between China´s east and west has narrowed, according to a Tsinghua University report.

The report showed that since 1990, the coefficient of difference or gap between China´s east and west per capita GDP peaked in 2004, hitting a record of 0.75, and then fell to 0.6 in 2008.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows the industrial added value in central and western regions of the country outpaced the growth in eastern parts from 2006 to 2008.

In 2008, the industrial added value in central and western regions grew 17 percent, outpacing the growth in eastern parts by 6 percentage points, according to the NBS.

The country´s strategies for developing the west, revitalizing central China and reforming rural areas have been effective, said Hu Angang, the report´s project leader and director of the Center for China Study at Tsinghua University,

In the past decade, China has spend over 3 trillion yuan ( about 440 billion U.S. dollars) to strengthen the financial sector in the western regions.

Since the start of the global economic crisis, China has directed a large portion of its stimulus package to the central and western regions in an effort to improve people´s livelihood as well as to boost and support infrastructure construction, the ecological environment, industrial promotion, technological innovation and post-quake reconstruction there.

"The economic gap between the country´s east and the west may have narrowed due to the central government´s supportive policy," said Cheng Biding, vice chairman of China Society on Regional Economic Development.

However, "hidden problems exist despite the economic development in the western regions," said Hu, adding that the so called soft environment did not improve noticeably.

The central and western regions of China needed more people with better skills, said the expert.

The regional economic gap, along with the urban-rural gap and income gap were the three major gaps in China. Except the regional economic gap, the other two gaps were still widening, according to the report.

The State Council, or the Cabinet, issued a guidance policy on Oct. 10, 2009, aiming to maintain stable and rapid economic growth in China´s western regions to buffer the affects of the global slow down.

According to the guidance policy, the central government would continue to increase investment in the west, with a focus on infrastructure construction and environmental protection, among others.


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