China witnesses sound growth of foreign investment

While maintaining steady economic growth, China continued to promote high-quality development this year, demonstrating strong resilience and vitality which appeal for foreign investment.

In the context of economic globalization, enterprises are naturally drawn to vibrant markets. In the first three quarters of the year, foreign direct investment (FDI) into China continued to grow steadily.

In the same period, 30,871 foreign-invested companies were newly established. The actual use of foreign capital reached 683.21 billion yuan, increasing by 6.5 percent year on year.

Main investment sources remained stable from January to September. The investment from Japan, South Korea, and Singapore increased by 4 percent, 28.7 percent and 27.8 percent respectively year on year.

The paid-in foreign investment from countries along the Belt and Road rose by 14.9 percent year on year and that from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by 17.5 percent.

According to the World Investment Report 2019 published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, global FDI flows slid for the third consecutive year in 2018 to $1.3 trillion–the lowest since the international financial crisis in 2008.

China has made remarkable achievements in the use of foreign investment, despite the global trade and investment slowdown, said Zhang Fei, deputy director of the Research Center for Foreign Investment of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

Accenture, a multinational professional services company has recently opened a digital hub in Shanghai to better serve its Chinese clients. It is the company’s second innovation hub in China.

China has entered a phase of high-quality development, where it continuously optimizes its industrial and demand structure, said Zhang Yansheng, a researcher with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, adding that this provides an unmissable opportunity for foreign companies to participate in China’s economic transformation and upgrading.

China’s high-tech industry maintained rapid growth in drawing foreign investment. During the January-September period, the actual use of foreign capital in high-tech industry increased to 203.8 billion yuan by 39.8 percent year on year, accounting for 29.8 percent of the total FDI.

The actual use of foreign capital in high-tech manufacturing reached 74.6 billion yuan, with an increase of 13.7 percent year on year, and that in high-tech service sector stood at 129.2 billion yuan, rising by 61.3 percent.

China has established a complete manufacturing industry system with strong supporting capacity. The output of more than 220 industrial products ranks first in the world, according to Zhang.

With a domestic market that continues to expand at a steady pace, China provides plenty of room for foreign investment. The country has become a major innovation power in the world, with improving technologies and an increasing number of high-quality talents. Besides, it has continuously improved the infrastructure and reduced the logistics costs.

These advantages make China more competitive in the new round of international industrial transfer, helping it attract, gather and integrate global high-end innovation factors, improving the quality and synergy in foreign capital utilization, Zhang pointed out.

The steady growth of FDI is attributed to the country’s policies to broaden opening-up and optimize the business environment.

China’s door has opened wider. At the end of June, the country rolled out two revised negative lists, one for the piloted free trade zones (FTZ) and the other for the rest of the country, to introduce greater opening-up in agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors.

This was the fifth time that China had revised the negative lists for market access. Pilot FTZs now have 37 listed items for foreign investors while non-FTZ areas are required to implement 40 items, compared with 190 six years ago. Besides, China has hugely enlarged the encouraged industries for foreign investment.

The business environment has further improved. China has adopted the foreign investment law to encourage overseas investment, protect the rightful benefits of foreign investors and infuse confidence and expectation into global companies.

Meanwhile, by streamlining the government, delegating power and improving government services, China has simplified the administrative procedures and greatly improved the quality and efficiency of government services, bringing more convenience for foreign companies.

China has also slashed taxes and fees to make more companies willing to explore the Chinese market.

According to the 2019 China Business Climate Survey Report released by the American Chamber of Commerce in China, more than 60 percent of member companies still list the Chinese market high on their lists of priorities.

A survey conducted by Invesco Ltd., an American independent investment management company, revealed that the central banks and national funds from all over the world have continued to increase investment in China.

China will promote investment liberalization and facilitation, further protect the interests of overseas investors, and create a more stable, fair, transparent and predictable business environment to provide better services for foreign enterprises, according to an official from the Ministry of Commerce.

Post-1950s generation brings about new consumption trends

(File photo)

During China’s week-long National Day holiday at the beginning of the month, post-1950s, who have retired and stepped into the later stage of their lives, spent the most on traveling, with per capita expenditure on travel reaching 3,640 yuan.

With a relatively good retirement allowance and higher quality of life, people aged between 60 and 70 have caused new consumption trends in China.

Unlike the usual stereotype of older people, this age group tends to embrace the internet and can handle electronic products well, which affects their consumption.

To date, the number of internet users above the age of 60 in China has exceeded 400 million, and more than 60 percent of elderly people pay using mobile payment platforms such as WeChat Pay and Alipay.

Since their health conditions haven’t been that bad, the age group is willing to spend more money on traveling. A survey revealed that elderly tourists account for over 20 percent of the nation’s yearly total.

In 2018, cruise tourists aged above 60 accounted for nearly 30 percent of China’s total, according to a report released by tuniu.com, an online tourism platform.

Besides, elderly people in their early 60s are also happy to pay for demanding courses to learn a new skill, including sports, foreign languages, calligraphy, painting and yoga.

In 2016, senior citizens’ savings in China exceeded 17 trillion yuan, with per capita savings reaching nearly 80,000 yuan.

China strives to build a world-class import expo

The second China International Import Expo (CIIE) is scheduled to be held in Shanghai from Nov. 5 to 10. Many well-known global companies hold great expectations for the expo as China keeps its promise to build a high-quality import expo.

(Photo/Xinhua)

In May 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, announcing that the country would host the CIIE starting from 2018.

At the first CIIE held in Nov. 2018, Xi stressed that the CIIE, an event to be held on an annual basis, will feature good performance, good results and continued success in the years to come.

The first CIIE turned out to be really fruitful. On the basis of that, the second one this year has been even more thoughtfully arranged in various aspects such as the exhibition areas and supporting activities.

China shows its sincerity in pursuing a new round of high-level opening up. Since the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held in Oct. 2017, President Xi has pledged that China will further open up at various multilateral occasions such as the Boao Forum for Asia.

The first CIIE was the world’s first import-themed national-level expo, an innovation in the history of global trade as well as China’s major initiative to still widen market access to the rest of the world.

In fact, many countries and enterprises discovered the business opportunities to cooperate with China and felt the huge potential of the Chinese market on the first CIIE that they registered for the second one right after the success from the previous year.

Just a few days ago, French President Emmanuel Macron said over the phone to President Xi that France will actively support the second CIIE. Other countries and organizations, including the European Union (EU), spoke highly of the import expo and expected to promote cooperation through the platform.

China has taken the initiative to open its market to the world, and the world surely will not miss such opportunities.

China assumes its responsibility as a responsible major country. It has always supported the multilateral trading system, promoted free trade, advanced an open world economy and advocated economic globalization.

As Xi pointed out, economic globalization is an irreversible trend of history and has greatly boosted global growth. What mankind can do is to understand, adapt to, and apply the law of history instead of trying to prevent it from happening. The wheel of history, indeed, will keep rolling forward no matter what.

Based on such knowledge, China has resolutely opposed trade protectionism and encouraged foreign trade to achieve more balanced, inclusive, coordinated and sustainable development to share prosperity with trading partners and reach win-win results.

China believes in common good and development of all countries and hopes people from different countries could share the benefits of economic globalization and growth.

China is both confident and calm. Since 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the New China, the country would like to use the CIIE as an opportunity to enable various parties to see the new look of China in the new era, understand its tremendous development over the years and realize that China’s all-round opening-up allows other countries to enjoy the benefits of its development.

 (The author is an expert on international issues.)

China-assisted road construction facilitates rural development in Cambodia

About 20,000 km of road is still made of earth in the countryside of Cambodia, which causes trouble for local villagers. The China-assisted road project, which is helping to pave these routes, has brought convenience to local people and stimulated the rural development in Cambodia.

The Kampong Speu bridge (People’s Daily/Lin Rui)

Contracted by the Shanghai Construction Group (SCG), the phase-1 project has already been completed, including six roads and one bridge covering four provinces of Cambodia, with a total length of 35.5 km.

The Kampong Speu bridge, part of the project that connects a village in the Kampong Speu province with national highway No. 4, has allowed locals to travel with ease when in the past, they had to make a detour of several kilometers to cross the river.

Meanwhile, the bridge also stimulates the village economy. The owner of a restaurant at one end of the bridge said the bridge brings him more customers and a daily income of over $100.

The 68-year-old resident Keo Meng was against the bridge construction at first because it would encroach on his land. But now the bridge is complete; he is thankful for it. “With the restaurant income, I have already built the former stilt house into a storied one,” he said.

To ensure the quality of the project, the company has arranged over 20 managers to monitor the construction process, said Tan Ji, executive manager of the project.

Besides, the company considers the working conditions of the construction site to satisfy the demands of the locals. While constructing the Kampong Chhnang No. 3 road, the company built additional bridges and culverts for better water drainage and irrigation.

Ninety percent of the construction workers are from the local area. The company provided training to help Cambodian employees learn construction skills and procedures from their Chinese counterparts.

The China-assisted road project facilitates rural development, helps local villagers shake off poverty, and deepens the friendship between Cambodia and China, said Ouk Rabun, Cambodia’s minister of rural development.

Most respondents from China, Japan view bilateral relations important: survey

67 percent of Chinese respondents and 72.7 percent of Japanese respondents view the bilateral relationship between the two countries as important or relatively important, according to a survey released on Oct. 24.

Conducted by the China International Publishing Group and the Japanese nonprofit think tank Genron NPO, the survey has been conducted every year since 2005, serving as a key channel for enhancing understanding between China and Japan.

Seventy-three percent of Chinese respondents believe people-to-people exchanges are important or relatively important to bilateral ties. The proportion among Japanese respondents reached 62.3 percent.

More respondents from both countries consider enhancing mutual trust between governments an effective way to strengthen China-Japan relations.

38.7 percent of Chinese respondents held this belief, 12.7 percentage points higher than that the previous year. The proportion among Japanese respondents rose to 43.6 percent, up 4.5 percentage points from 2018.

Additionally, 86.6 percent of Chinese respondents think that local media can help to improve bilateral ties and promote mutual understanding between the two peoples, while the proportion is 26.9 percent among Japanese respondents.

A majority of respondents agree on the principles of peace, cooperation and development, which lay the foundations of public support for further stability in China-Japan relations.

Guangzhou’s transformation into an international economic and trade hub

Guangzhou, which earns its title of China’s Southern Gate, has transformed from a run-of-the-mill city into an international hub in the 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Guangzhou is the only trading port in China that has never been closed since it started operating over 2,000 years ago.

The total value of Guangzhou’s imports and exports in 1987 was $2.17 billion, while today it is $148.48 billion, 68.4 times higher. The average annual growth rate from 1988 to 2018 was 14.6 percent.

In the first eight months of 2019, Guangzhou’s total foreign trade was valued at 629.02 billion yuan ($88.06 billion) and it had a growth rate higher than the provincial average.

Guangzhou’s actual utilization of foreign direct investment in 1979 was $1.65 million, while today it is $6.61 billion. The city has hosted a total of 36,537 foreign direct investment projects.

The China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, was first held in Guangzhou in 1957 and has continued to be held every spring and autumn. With the 101st Canton Fair, the event became a platform for both imports and exports rather than just exports.

Famous around the world, the Canton Fair provides an important platform for Chinese companies looking to explore overseas markets. “The Canton Fair is a reflection of the progress China has made in developing foreign trade for the past 62 years,” said Xu Binru, spokesman for the fair.

The 125th Canton Fair, which took place from April 15 to May 5 and had a total exhibition area of 1.19 million square meters, attracted 195,454 overseas buyers from more than 210 countries and regions.

Goods traded at the first Canton Fair in 1957 were valued at $86.86 million, accounting for 20 percent of China’s total cash income that year. The total value of exports traded at the fair topped $1.38 trillion by the end of the 125th fair.


The China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone Nansha Area of Guangzhou, unveiled in 2015, hosts 91,230 companies in 2018. [Photo/gzns.gov.cn]

The Nansha Area of the China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone of Guangzhou, unveiled in 2015, hosted 91,230 companies in 2018, compared to 8,400 in 2015. The value of cross-border e-commerce transactions in the area climbed from 30 million yuan in 2015 to 9.87 billion yuan in 2018. In March 1979, the Japanese city of Fukuoka became the first city to establish a sister city relationship with Guangzhou.

After decades of development, Guangzhou has now signed sister city contracts or established cooperation with 76 cities in 54 countries, in addition to 51 ports. There are now 64 foreign consulates general in Guangzhou, second only to Shanghai.

In 2018, Guangzhou hosted 61 international conferences, including the 2018 World Route Development Conference.

By the end of the first half of 2019, 301 of the world’s top 500 companies were operating in Guangzhou with 1,017 projects, including the expansion project of GAC Toyota.

In addition, being an important city in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Guangzhou is known as an international transportation hub for land, sea, and air travel.

The handling capacity of Guangzhou Port grew from 3.11 million metric tons in 1952 to 613 million tons in 2018, ranking fifth in the world and up 29.6 percent over 2013.

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, which boasts three runways and two terminals, is one of the three largest aviation hubs in China. It hosts 75 airline companies from China and abroad and offers flights to more than 210 destinations around the world.

In 1978, the annual passenger throughput of the Baiyun airport was less than 700,000, while in 2018 it was nearly 70 million, ranking third in China and 13th in the world. International passenger throughput in 2018 was 17.32 million, accounting for nearly a quarter of all passengers.

Guangzhou has been actively participating in the BRI, and investments in Guangzhou by countries involved in the BRI have seen a year-on-year growth of 121.4 percent in 2018.

Source: eguangzhou.gov.cn

Shawan Ancient Town

Shawan Ancient Town is located in the center of Panyu district in southern Guangzhou. Originally built during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), it has a history of over 800 years.

Throughout its long history, Shawan Ancient Town has created and preserved Lingnan culture, primarily traditional historical culture and folk culture. It is a quintessential example of Cantonese culture and is abundant in both tangible cultural heritage and intangible cultural heritage resources.


Beautiful view of Shawan Ancient Town in Panyu district, Guangzhou. [Photo/Xinhua]

Covering an area of 153 hectares , the town consists of an east village, west village and north village. Row upon row of houses, old streets, and long alleys are the most noticeable characteristics of the ancient town. The most popular attractions are ancestral halls, of which there are 100.

Several intangible cultural heritages, such as Cantonese folk music, the lion dance, and Piaose (a kind of folk art integrating play, magic, acrobatics, music, and dance), are well-preserved. Visitors are not only offered a glimpse into the lives of the local people, but also get the opportunity to experience the special folk culture. 


An aerial view of Shawan Ancient Town. [Photo/Xinhua]

The town is currently being renewed and restored. A number of ancient buildings dating back to the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties with historical and cultural value have been repaired and protected, and four ancient buildings in the Qingshui Well area have been re-established.

After careful restoration, the core area of Shawan Ancient Town has been given a new look, which not only retains the original historical flavor of the ancient town, but also offers a new visual experience.


The buildings in Shawan Ancient Town are rich with history. [Photo/Xinhua]

The 10 thematic halls in the town, including Liugeng Hall, the largest ancestral shrine of the He family, the largest family in the town, He Binglin Academic Memorial Hall, and Sanren Hall, the birthplace of typical Cantonese music, showcase the magnificent ancestral culture, clan culture, architectural culture, farming culture, folk literature, and art of Shawan.   

How to get there:

First take Metro line 3 to Shiqiao Station. Then take bus K349/ K349 Express/ Pan 7/ Pan 12/ Pan 67 to Shawan Ancient Town South Gate or Shawan Nancun.

Source: eguangzhou.gov.cn

China’s Greater Bay Area busy laying foundation for innovation

Hong Kong man Andy Ng was surprised his shared workspace Timetable was rented out completely only six months after it had started operation in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province.

While studying economics at City University of Hong Kong, Ng set up his first business, developing an online education platform, but soon realized the Hong Kong market was too small. After earning a master’s degree in the UK in 2017, Ng returned to China and chose Guangzhou as his new base.

Timetable is now accumulating popularity and even fans in Dianping.com, China’s major online consumer guide. Ng feels lucky that his business caught the implementation of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) development plan.

The bay area, covering 56,000 square km, comprises Hong Kong and Macao, as well as nine cities in Guangdong. It had a combined population of about 70 million at the end of 2017, and is one of the most open and dynamic regions in China.


Aerial photo taken on July 11, 2018 shows the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge in south China. (Xinhua/Liang Xu)

In July 2017, a framework agreement on the development of the bay area was signed. On February 18 this year, China issued the more specific Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. One of its major aims is to develop the area into an international innovation and technology hub.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH

The plan proposes that innovation and entrepreneurship resources be shared in the bay area to provide more opportunities for young Hong Kong and Macao entrepreneurs.

An incubator for entrepreneurship, Timetable is home to 52 companies, including 15 from Hong Kong and Macao, such as Redspots, a virtual reality company that won the Hong Kong Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Awards 2019.

“I persuaded them one by one to come here,” Ng said. “I told them of my own experience that the GBA is a great stage for starting a business with ever-upgrading technologies, ever-changing consumer tastes and a population 10 times that of Hong Kong.”

Timetable is a startup base of the Guangzhou Tianhe Hong Kong and Macao Youth Association, which has assisted 65 enterprises founded by Hong Kong and Macao young people since its establishment in October 2017.

The association and its four bases provide a package of services from training and registering to policy and legal consultation, said Chen Jingzhan, one of the association founders.

Tong Yat, a young Macao man who teaches children programming, is grateful the association encouraged him to come to Guangdong, where young people enjoy more preferential policies to start their own businesses.

“The GBA development not only benefits us, but paves the way for the next generation,” Tong said. “If one of my students were to become a tech tycoon in the future and tell others that his first science and technology teacher was me, I would think it all worthwhile.”

In the first quarter of this year, there were more than 980 science and technology business incubators in Guangdong, including more than 50 for young people from Hong Kong and Macao, said Wu Hanrong, an official with the Department of Science and Technology of Guangdong Province.

INNOVATION HIGHLAND

As the young entrepreneurs create a bustling innovative atmosphere, the Guangdong government has stepped up efforts to improve basic research capability, considered the backbone of an international innovation and technology hub, by building large scientific installations and launching provincial labs.

Several large scientific facilities have settled in Guangdong. China Spallation Neutron Source (CSNS) operates in Dongguan City; a neutrino observatory is under construction in Jiangmen City; a high intensity heavy-ion accelerator is being built in Huizhou City.


Aerial photo taken on June 23, 2019 shows the construction site of the Jiangmen Underground Neutrino Observatory (JUNO) in Jiangmen, south China’s Guangdong Province. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei)

Guangdong also plans to build about 10 provincial labs, covering regenerative medicine, materials, advanced manufacturing, next-generation network communications, chemical and fine chemicals, marine research and other areas, said Zhang Yan, of the provincial department of science and technology.

Unlike traditional universities or research institutions, the provincial labs enjoy a high degree of autonomy in policy and spending. A market-oriented salary system allows them to recruit talent from all over the world, and researchers from other domestic organizations can work for the laboratories without giving up their original jobs, Zhang said.

The labs are also open to professionals from Hong Kong and Macao. Research teams from the universities of the two special administrative regions have been involved in many of the key programs, Zhang said.

For example, the provincial lab of regenerative medicine and health has jointly established a regenerative medicine research institute with the Chinese University of Hong Kong, a heart research center with the University of Hong Kong, and a neuroscience research center with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).


Photo taken on July 24, 2019 shows a rapid cycling synchrotron at the China Spallation Neutron Source (CSNS) in Dongguan, south China’s Guangdong Province. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei)

Guangdong has been trying to break down institutional barriers to help cooperation, encouraging Hong Kong and Macao research institutions to participate in provincial research programs, exploring the cross-border use of provincial government-sponsored research funds, and shielding Hong Kong researchers in Guangdong from higher mainland taxes.

NANSHA FOCUS

Located at the center of the bay area, Guangzhou’s Nansha District is designed as the national economic and technological development zone and national free trade zone, and is an important pivot in building the area into an international innovation and technology hub.

The construction of a science park covering about 200 hectares started on Sept. 26. Gong Shangyun, an official with the Nansha government, said the park will be completed in 2022.

Jointly built by the Guangzhou government and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the science park will accommodate CAS research institutes from around Guangzhou, including the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, the South China Botanical Garden (SCBG) and the Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion.

Ren Hai, director of the SCBG, is looking forward to expanding the research platforms in Nansha. “We will build a new economic plant platform serving the green development of the Pearl River Delta, a new botanical garden open to the public, and promote the establishment of the GBA botanical garden union.”

Wang Ying, a researcher with the SCBG, said the union will help deepen the long cooperation among its members and improve scientific research, science popularization and ecological protection. “Predecessors of our botanical garden have helped the Hong Kong and Macao counterparts gradually establish their regional flora since the 1950s and 1960s.”

HKUST also started to build a new campus in Nansha the same day as the science park broke ground. “Located next to the high-speed rail station, the Guangzhou campus is only a 30-minute journey from the Hong Kong campus. A delegation from the HKUST once paid a visit to the site and found it very convenient to work here,” Gong said.

Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam hoped the new campus would help create a new chapter for the exchanges and cooperation on higher education between Guangzhou and Hong Kong, and cultivate more talents with innovative capabilities.

Nansha’s layout is a miniature of the provincial blueprint for an emerging international innovation and technology hub.

“We are seeking partnership with other leading domestic research institutions and encouraging universities from Hong Kong and Macao to set up R&D institutions in Guangdong,” said Zhang Kaisheng, an official with the provincial department of science and technology.

“We are much busier now, because research institutes at home and abroad come to talk about collaboration every week. The GBA is a rising attraction to global scientific researchers,” Zhang said.

Source: Xinhua

70 Years of Progress in Guangzhou

(Photo/Pixabay)

Guangzhou, capital city of Guangdong province, has experienced considerable changes after 70 years of economic and social development since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Guangzhou’s regional gross domestic product was 298 million yuan ($41.92 million) in 1949. That number has risen to 2.29 trillion yuan in 2018, accounting for 25 percent of the total GDP in Guangdong province, thanks to the reform and opening-up policies.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Guangzhou has been devoted to carrying out high-quality development, being one of the areas in China with the most economic dynamism. The annual GDP growth rate was maintained at 8.3 percent from 2013 to 2018, 1.3 percentage points higher than the national average growth.

The per capita GDP in Guangzhou amounted to 155,500 yuan in 2018, compared to 121 yuan in 1949. Guangzhou had reached the high-income country level in 2010, according to the standards set by the World Bank.

Guangzhou’s fiscal revenue has seen an average annual growth of 12.7 percent from 1979 to 2018, as the number has climbed to 163.42 billion yuan.

The proportion of the primary, secondary, and tertiaries industries in Guangzhou has developed from a ratio of 7.37:33.02:39.61 in 1949 to 0.98:27.27:71.75 in 2018, with the tertiary industry playing a leading role in driving the economy.

The tertiary industry in Guangzhou generated 1.64 trillion yuan in added value in 2018, while the number was 118 million yuan in 1949. The added value of the modern service industry in Guangzhou reached about 1.1 trillion in 2018, accounting for 66.5 percent of the total value.

Guangzhou has made great achievements in infrastructure construction, improving its modern transportation system integrating land, sea, and air.

In the 1950s, 40 percent of villages and 15 percent of towns in Guangzhou couldn’t be reached by car. However, by the end of 2018, the mileage of highways open to traffic had reached 8,975 kilometers.

Currently, Guangzhou possesses 15 metro lines and one tram line, with an overall operating length of 485 km, ranking third in China. In 2018, Guangzhou metro lines had carried over three billion passengers in the year, undertaking 51 percent of the public transportation load in the city.

(Photo/The Information Office of Guangzhou Municipal People’s Government)

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, which possesses three runways and two terminals, is one of the three largest aviation hubs in China. The annual passenger throughput reached nearly 70 million, ranking third in China and 13th in the world.

In addition, the city has been upgrading its international shipping hub capacity level. In 1952, the handling capacity was only 3.11 million tons, while that number has grown to 613 million tons in 2018, ranking fifth in the world.

Guangzhou has gained momentum in improving people’s livelihoods. The per capita disposable incomes of urban and rural resident were both lower than 200 yuan in 1952, with those numbers rising to 59,982 yuan and 26,020 yuan in 2018.

The annual growth rate of the per capita disposable incomes of urban and rural resident per from 1979 to 2018 were 13.7 percent and 13.2 percent respectively, keeping a steady pace with the local economic growth.

The industrial development and urbanization of Guangzhou has provided more job opportunities, as the number of employees in the city have climbed from 992,000 in 1949 to 8.97 million in 2018, which is more than eight times of that in 1949.

A multilevel social security system has been built in Guangzhou. By the end of 2018, 12.48 million people in Guangzhou have been covered in the social medical insurance system. The average monthly pension of enterprise retirees amounted to 3,513 yuan in 2018, which tops among sub-provincial cities in China.

Source: eguangzhou.gov.cn

70 years of change condensed on Guangzhou’s axes

Tourists who visit Guangzhou for the first time often take a ride on two sightseeing bus routes which travel along the city’s central axes. While on board, they will learn how Guangzhou has developed over the past 70 years in eight languages.

It is not common for a metropolis like Guangzhou to have two axes. The 3-km ancient axis stretches from Yuexiu Mountain in the north and passes through Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, People’s Park, Haizhu Square until it reaches the Pearl River in the south. It has remained as the center of Guangzhou and a witness of its historical changes over the past 2,000 years.

In 1968, the 27-storey Guangzhou Hotel, with a height of 86.51 meters, became the tallest building in the city at that time and a new landmark along the traditional central axis.

“The Yuexiu area has always been the city center of Guangzhou for more than 2,200 years,” said Wang Huanqing, a local official. “It is the root and soul, as well as the driving force and experimental field for the ancient city.”

As the pace of industrialization quickened after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the face of the axis has also changed. In the 1970s, the city’s new tallest building, the 32-story Baiyun Hotel, was erected in the old town.

Urbanization at the time was increasing the rapid expansion of cities, with previously less-developed areas embracing opportunities to shine.

In 1987, Guangzhou welcomed the opening of the 6th National Games. Its main venue, Tianhe Sports Center, later became a key player to lead the transformation of the Tianhe new urban area. Now the area from Tianhe Road to Zhujiang New Town has turned into Tianhe CBD, a highly concentrated area for headquarters and businesses in high-end industries.

Covering 12 square kilometers, Tianhe CBD has attracted 201 world top 500 enterprises and created 62 “hundred million buildings” — meaning the total annual revenue of companies from the building tops 100 million yuan (about 14 million U.S. dollars).

Now the new axis, with a length of 12 km, boasts the new height of the city. The 600-meter Canton Tower, the highest TV tower in China, gives visitors a birds-eye view of modern Guangzhou.

“The change of the axes is a reflection of how Guangzhou, a key player in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, made adjustments to its economic structure and strategic transformation,” said Lin Daoping, Guangzhou’s deputy mayor.

Over the past seven decades, Guangzhou’s GDP has risen from 298 million yuan in 1949 to 2.28 trillion yuan in 2018, with an average annual growth rate of 13.78 percent.

Its economic structure is continuously being optimized, adhering to the “two-wheel drive” of the coordinated development of traditional industries and emerging industries, advanced manufacturing industry and modern service industry.

With the rise of the new axis, the traditional axis is also constantly radiating new vitality. Beijing Road pedestrian street has been listed as a new landmark of the “night economy” consumption in Guangzhou, with the daily average passenger flow reaching up to 200,000.

Renovation of Haizhu Square is also drawing to a close. The once boisterous wholesale market will bristle with office buildings and cultural and financial activities.

The well-known industrial avenue in Haizhu district, which housed more than 30 manufacturers in the 1990s, is being escalated into a science and technology innovation park, with the settlement of several leading tech names such as Tencent, Alibaba and Fosun.

Source: Xinhua