Premier Li Keqiang started a three-day visit to Guangdong province on Jan 4. A New Year’s trip to China’s traditional economic powerhouse is deeply symbolic and indicates the priorities for the coming year.
Homage to economic reform
Viewing reform and further opening up as key measures in addressing problems confronting the world’s second-largest economy, Li paid homage to the memory of Deng Xiaoping, who led China’s market reform and opening up in the late 1970s. He placed a flower basket at the foot of a bronze statue of Deng at the summit of Lianhua Mountain, Shenzhen on Jan 5.
“Development is the hard truth,” the Premier reiterated, quoting Deng, while meeting a group of former officials who accompanied Deng during his landmark 1992 trip to Shenzhen.
Promising more room be allocated for the city’s reform, Li also encouraged Shenzhen to push reform “bravely” and the experience of this experiment could be shared with the rest of the nation.
During a visit to Chaihuo Makerspace, an innovation platform for young inventors in Shenzhen, the Premier operated a remote control mechanical arm to pick up a cell phone.
Li said the knowledge, expertise and creativity of these inventors can act as an engine to boost the economy and those with creative ideas should be helped to set up their own businesses
The Premier officially finalized the first loan by WeBank, China’s first Internet-based bank, by pressing the “enter” button on a computer on Jan 4.
Li said he hoped WeBank, with a focus on providing financial services to individuals as well as micro-sized and small enterprises, will maintain its inclusive financial strategy regardless of how it succeeds and develops in the future.
Li stressed that online competition in the banking sector will force State-owned financial giants to speed up their own business reforms.
His efforts at championing the prowess of Chinese manufacturing and innovation have earned him the nickname of the “Super Salesman of China’’. His visit to Huawei Technologies Co. and Guangdong Electric Power Design Institute shows that these companies, and companies like them, will play a major role in the new economy.
Looking forward to a new era in global competition with high-added-value products made in China having a more competitive edge on the world market, Li promised to work even harder as a “Salesman of China’’ and offer direct help to any companies that face unfair treatment abroad.
Having inspected Shanghai FTZ last September, the Premier visited the new Guandong FTZ at the beginning of 2015.
Li advised the FTZ to take advantage of its proximity to Hong Kong and Macao and expressed his satisfaction with the efforts made to streamline approval procedures for new companies by the local government.
The procedures have been cut to 145 days, from up to 800 days.