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Premier’s southern trip to push China’s reform drive

Updated: Jan 7,2015 8:09 AM     Xinhua

Premier Li Keqiang (2nd L) overlooks Shenzhen from the peak of Lianhua Mountain in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong province, Jan 5, 2015. Li made an inspection tour in Shenzhen and Guangzhou from Jan 4 to 6.[Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING — Premier Li Keqiang said China should count on reform, opening up and structural adjustment to improve economy during a three-day tour of South China’s Guangdong province.

Li said China should push forward reform and opening up steadfastly in a bid to maintain economic growth within a proper range, as the country is confronted with new challenges in an economic “new normal”.

China should strike a balance between steady economic growth and necessary adjustment in economic structure and promoting reform will help meet that goal, Li said, adding the reform should be of better quality and development more coordinated.

Given poor exports and weak domestic demands, China has been increasingly reliant on an overall reform in nearly all fields to ensure sustainable growth during an unavoidable slowdown.

The country has carried out a string of policies and measures, such as setting up free trade zones, streamlining administration and delegating powers, encouraging innovation and helping small firms.

China’s GDP expanded at 7.3 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2014, the weakest quarterly figure since 2009.

Premier Li Keqiang (2nd R) visits Webank in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong province, Jan 4, 2015. Li made an inspection tour in Shenzhen and Guangzhou from Jan 4 to 6.[Photo/Xinhua]

The Premier kicked off his tour on Jan 4, the first working day of 2015, visiting Shenzhen and provincial capital Guangzhou.

Shenzhen was one of China’s earliest special economic zones and Guangdong has always been considered the most open part of the country.

The word “innovation” has been heard a lot on the tour, which has passed through the most high-tech or creative areas.

On Jan 4 Li visited Qianhai Webank, China’s first Internet bank and one of five private banks in China. The bank has low costs compared to traditional banks and focuses on small loans to individuals and small firms.

Premier Li Keqiang (C) visits Chaihuo Maker Space in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong province, Jan 4, 2015. Li made an inspection tour in Shenzhen and Guangzhou from Jan 4 to 6.[Photo/Xinhua]

During his visit to Chaihuo Makerspace, a creative center crowded with young inventors, Li said makers with creative ideas should be helped to set up their own businesses.

Li also visited Huawei Technologies Co. The company has 16 research centers worldwide and owns over 36,500 patents.

Given complicated economic circumstance with traditional industries, China should promote innovation as the new driving force for the economy, Li said.

During the tour of the new Guangdong free trade zone (FTZ), Li said the FTZ should take advantage of its proximity to Hong Kong and Macao. The zone along with another two in Fujian and Tianjin follows the success of Shanghai FTZ. In Guangdong FTZ investment approval has been cut to one fifth of the previous arduous process that could take up to 800 days.

At Guangdong Electric Power Design Institute, Li looked forward to a new edge in global competition with high added value products manufactured in China on the world market.

Li placed flowers at the statue of Deng Xiaoping in Shenzhen. Deng led China’s market reform and opening up over 35 years ago, which led directly to the rapid growth of the last ten years.

Premier Li Keqiang (L front) visits a community in Guangzhou, capital of South China’s Guangdong province, Jan 5, 2015. Li made an inspection tour in Shenzhen and Guangzhou from Jan 4 to 6.[Photo/Xinhua]

Premier Li Keqiang (R front) visits Huawei in Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong province, Jan 4, 2015. Li made an inspection tour in Shenzhen and Guangzhou from Jan 4 to 6.[Photo/Xinhua]

Premier Li Keqiang (2nd L) visits Nansha New Area of Guangdong Free Trade Zone in Guangzhou, capital of South China’s Guangdong province, Jan 5, 2015. Li made an inspection tour in Shenzhen and Guangzhou from Jan 4 to 6.[Photo/Xinhua]

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