Premier Li Keqiang meets with Guangdong deputies to the annual session of the NPC during a panel discussion in Beijing on March 9, 2016. [Photo/China Daily]
Premier Li Keqiang has encouraged Guangdong province to take the lead in introducing more Chinese brands and products to markets in developed economies such as the United States and the European Union.
Praising the province for its 0.8 percent export growth last year, he urged the manufacturing powerhouse to further sharpen competitiveness.
He made the remarks to about 160 deputies from Guangdong to the National People’s Congress when he joined them for a panel discussion on March 9.
Guangdong was at the forefront of the nation’s reform and opening-up policy during the 1980s.
Export growth is high on Premier Li’s agenda in meetings with deputies from four provinces during this year’s NPC annual session. China’s exports fell by 2.8 percent last year.
Many in the Guangdong delegation own some of the most successful businesses in China, such as Ma Hua-Teng, chairman and CEO of Tencent Holdings, one of the country’s largest private Internet service portals based in Guangdong, and Dong Mingzhu, president of Gree Electric Appliances.
The Premier said a key factor for the Chinese economy to achieve medium to high economic growth is to join competition in developed countries.
He said this will be more challenging for China, as the competition for quality in developed countries is higher. Such competition will help domestic manufacturers to improve product quality, something that is hard to achieve through the country’s present exports to many developing countries.
China’s exports to the US and EU countries fell by 12.2 percent and 10.7 percent year-on-year in January and February. This year, Guangdong has set a target of 1 percent growth in exports.
Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert and academic at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said China also needs to improve its ability to build more good-quality air purifying machines. At present, most Chinese people tend to buy imported air purifiers, which sometimes cost 10 times more than domestic ones.
Xu Hongcai, an economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said real technology innovation is a key factor for Guangdong products to be able to compete in foreign markets.