Coastal provinces in East and South China recorded robust economic growth in the first half of the year, despite escalations in trade tensions, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
The GDP of Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Guangdong provinces expanded by 7.1 percent, 6.5 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively, in the first six months, outpacing the country’s 6.3 percent figure, the NBS said.
Guangdong also achieved a record-high GDP of 5.05 trillion yuan ($716.7 billion) in the first half, placing it first among all provincial localities, followed by Jiangsu at 4.86 trillion yuan.
It was a milestone for Guangdong’s GDP to top 5 trillion yuan in the first half, showing that its developed manufacturing cluster and pilot role in reform and opening-up have contributed considerable economic vigor to withstand external risks, said Liu Chunsheng, an associate professor of international trade at the Central University of Finance and Economics.
Yang Weiyong, an associate professor of economics at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said: “Steady growth of the coastal provinces amid headwinds from trade tensions showed the considerable economic strength of these regions.”
Yang also said that growth in provinces in central and western regions accelerated to help them in catching up with their peers in eastern regions in the first half, which may be attributable to a better use of local resources and accelerated infrastructure investment to address weak links.
In Southwest China, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces and the Tibet autonomous region registered year-on-year GDP growth of at least 9 percent in the first six months and outperformed peers nationwide, according to the statistics bureau. In the same period, the GDP of Henan, Hubei and Hunan provinces in Central China also expanded faster than the nation’s 6.3 percent.
Looking at the second half, Yang said Central China’s provinces are expected to continue relatively robust growth as policies to boost infrastructure investment filter through, but he called for policymakers to deal with a potential slowdown in eastern regions as external uncertainties intensify.
Liu said the need for local governments in Northeast China is to nurture new growth engines based on local resources and improve the business environment by deepening market-oriented reforms.
In the January-June period, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces lagged behind all other provincial localities in economic expansion, with year-on-year GDP growth standing at 2 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively, the statistics bureau said.
Northeast China’s local governments can learn from the development practices of Guizhou province, which has turned to the development of big data and tourism to bolster growth in recent years and registered a GDP expansion of 9 percent in the first half, Liu said.
The provincial government of Guizhou has decided to further promote big data applications and their integration with other industries in the second half, while striving to maintain the burgeoning momentum of tourism. It also pledged to step up efforts to support private enterprises and improve the infrastructure network.