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Time for central region to seize chances to boost competitiveness

China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-29 08:16

The sun sets on Jinxing village in Chengbu Miao ethnic autonomous county, Hunan province. Chengbu was removed from the list of impoverished counties and has become a booming tourism and agricultural center. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The authorities held a top-level meeting on Monday, calling for new steps to trigger the development of the central region, and pledging tailored approaches to cultivate new quality productive forces and expedite the establishment of a modern industrial system.

The meeting was held two months after the top leader made a fact-finding trip to Changsha, Hunan province, where he presided over a high-level symposium on energizing the central region.

Afterwards, the authorities worked out a document, rolling out measures to accelerate the development of the central region, fully demonstrating its important strategic position in China's modernization drive, and injecting strong impetus into its development. The central region, comprising Shanxi, Henan, Anhui, Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces, holds strategic significance in China's regional development pattern, and promoting its development is an inevitable requirement for China's regional coordinated development.

Over the past decade, the top leadership has supported a new development pattern with the goal of allowing the central region to transform its geographical and resource advantages into development advantages. The central region has indeed taken the initiative to integrate itself to the development strategies of other regions, strengthen cooperation with other regions, actively introduce industrial innovation resources, and strengthen its driving role in the development of the western region.

Driven by innovation, the central region has seen major scientific research achievements such as the Jiuzhang quantum computer, the rapid formation of state-level advanced manufacturing clusters such as rail transit equipment. With the continuous improvement of the ecological environment, the accelerated green and low-carbon transformation of the economy and society, and a faster pace of reform and opening-up, the central region is seeing greater growth momentum and a rising status in the country's regional development landscape.

During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20), the economy of the central region grew at an average annual rate of 8.6 percent, ranking first among eastern, central, western and northeastern regions, and achieving a transition from "following" to "leading". In 2023, its GDP reached 26.99 trillion yuan ($3.72 trillion), accounting for more than one-fifth of the country's total, with the economic aggregate of Henan, Hubei and Hunan ranking among the "top 10" provinces in terms of GDP size.

Standing at a higher starting point, the central region should continue to leverage its advantages and seize the opportunities brought about by the new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation, so as to promote its overall strength and competitiveness to a higher level. It needs to pursue innovation-driven development, develop new quality productive forces in light of local conditions, coordinate the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries while fostering and strengthening emerging industries, and plan for the development of future industries.

Beijing Youth Daily

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