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Economist: New engines to shore up China’s growth

Updated: Sep 27,2015 2:02 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China has huge potential to shore up industrial development and economic growth, according to a senior official with the top economic planner.

Despite the febrile environment in the traditional industry sector, the service and high-tech sectors are emerging as strong growth drivers and are helping the economy maintain growth at a medium-high pace, Wang Changlin, a senior economist with the National Development and Reform Commission, told Guangming Daily.

The traditional industrial sector, such as heavy and chemical industries, and export-led industries, have seen shrinking growth and remarkable downward pressure due to flagging demand in recent years, Wang remarked.

The tertiary industry, however, grew 8.4 percent year on year in the first half (H1) of 2015, outpacing the general GDP growth, and up 0.4 percentage points compared to the same period last year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The service sector, a major tertiary industry player, accounted for almost half of China’s GDP in the first six months, contributing around 81 percent to total GDP growth.

Consumption also played a bigger role in boosting growth by contributing 60 percent to GDP growth in H1, up 5.7 percentage points compared to the same period last year, the NBS data showed.

China’s new economic growth areas are taking shape and the economic structure is improving, Premier Li Keqiang said at the Summer Davos meeting earlier this month, adding that consumer demand for information, cultural and health products, as well as tourism, were booming.

Traditional services such as real estate, logistics, wholesale and retail businesses, have seen shrinking growth in recent years. But new growth areas inside the sector, including finance, cultural tourism, e-business and information consumption, are rapidly growing into an important pillar for the economy, Wang said.

In H1, the financial industry contributed around 29 percent to the total GDP, up 16.1 percentage points from the same period last year, to become the biggest power fueling economic growth, Wang said.

During the period, tourist arrivals increased 9.9 percent year on year, with tourism revenue reaching 1.65 trillion yuan ($269.6 billion), up 14.5 percent year on year. Online retail sales also climbed 39.1 percent year on year to about 1.65 trillion yuan.

High-tech industries are also reporting healthy growth, Wang said. In H1 high-tech manufacturing value-added industrial output grew by 10.5 percent year on year, outpacing overall industrial growth.

Wang stressed that the high-tech industries — information technology, energy saving and environmental protection, high-end equipment, and biological medicine sectors — were booming.

Thanks to pro-growth policies and support of innovation and entrepreneurship, the number of newly registered enterprises in H1 increased by 19.4 percent to about 2 million, with total registered capital of 12.9 trillion yuan, up 38.4 percent from last year.

The government should continue to roll out more precise macro-control policies and measures to deepen reforms and support mass entrepreneurship, innovation and technological development, Wang advised.

China maintained 7 percent GDP growth in H1, despite a lackluster recovery in the world economy and turbulent global stock and foreign exchange markets.

“China’s economic fundamentals remain solid and will continue to maintain long-term steady growth,” President Xi Jinping told more than 30 executives from top Chinese and US enterprises in Seattle on Sept 23 during his United States visit.

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