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Hunan¨s Xiangtan county plans balanced growth

Editor:Sharon Lee
Updated:2009/12/25 15:43:34


  Contributing more than 40 percent of the county's total industrial output value, Yisuhe Economic Zone is a powerful engine driving development.

  The county of Xiangtan, birthplace of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong, is now on its way to rapid economic development after a 13.9 percent rise in GDP this year.

  According to Chen Zhonghong, Party chief of the county, with a week to go in 2009 Xiangtan's GDP was expected to reach 14.5 billion yuan for the year.

  Annual per capita income of urban residents grew 12.5 percent to 14,650 yuan while cash income of rural residents increased 9 percent to 6,460 yuan.

  The figures are expected to ensure it remains one of the top 10 county-level economies in Hunan province.

  "In a context of global economic downturn, we have maintained a growth much higher than the nation's target of 8 percent, showing that our efforts in stimulating growth have been successful," Chen said.

  He noted one of initiatives is increasing fixed-asset investment in infrastructure construction.

  In 2009, fixed-asset investment in Xiangtan totaled 6.6 billion yuan, a surge of 40 percent from last year.

  Other measures included incentive policies to stimulate demand, such as subsidies for purchase of home appliances in the rural areas. The county's retail sales in consumer products totaled 3.87 billion yuan, up 18 percent from 2008.

  The Party chief said the county has also benefited from province-wide program to integrate the economies of Changsha, Zhuzhou and Xiangtan.

  Xiangtan county is administered by the city of Xiangtan, an important industrial base in Hunan province.

  According to the integration plan from the provincial government, the areas should focus on developing a resource-saving and environmental-friendly society.

  "A county with traditional strengths in agriculture and tourism, Xiangtan should have a more important role to play in this new type of development," said Chen.

  The county's production of grain and hogs rank it at the top in Hunan. It is also the largest producer of lotus seeds in China.

  As the home of Chairman Mao, Xiangtan is also a popular destination for tourists.

  In summer, when lotus flowers blossom across Xiangtan's vast farmlands, the county also attracts a large number of travelers from other regions to experience its rustic life.

  Yet Chen acknowledged Xiangtan is weak in the manufacturing and service industries.

  Even its service industry, in which tourism is an important part, still lags behind some of its neighbors. The contribution from services to the county's economy is 15 percentage points lower than the national average and 21.9 percentage points lower than neighboring Changsha county, which tops the list of Hunan's county-level economies.

  Not a single manufacturing enterprise in Xiangtan produces an annual output value surpassing 1 billion yuan.

  Chen said local authorities are now considering plans to improve the county's economic structure to boost the manufacturing and service industries.

  The move is expected to be aided with the development of the Tianyi Demonstration Zone in Yisuhe town, Xiangtan's county seat. The zone became operational on June 8 this year.

  Neighboring a number of industrial zones the Tianyi zone is expected to offer a base for businesses to provide products, spare parts and services to the large manufacturing enterprises in the city.

  Xiangtan, with a population of 1.09 million and covering 2,372 sq km, is among five largest counties in Hunan.

  Its history as a county dates back to the Tang Dynasty.

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