China’s powerhouse Guangdong pins modest growth target on R&D, Greater Bay Area

21-Jan-2022 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Guangdong province, the southern Chinese economic powerhouse, has set a modest 5.5 per cent growth target for 2022 and pledged to speed up development of the Greater Bay Area ‘especially the Qianhai and Hengqin economic zones next door to Hong Kong and Macau.

In his first work report to the Guangdong People’s Congress on Thursday, acting governor Wang Weizhong said the province would meet the economic target by accelerating development of core technologies and stimulating domestic consumption.

Wang, the former Shenzhen Communist Party chief who succeeded Ma Xingrui last month, said development of the Greater Bay Area and the establishment of Shenzhen as a base for pilot reforms were the province’s top priorities.

Guangdong will also give full support to Hong Kong universities opening branches in the province and will welcome start-ups by young people from the city, he said.

As part of its main goal to become an international centre for cutting-edge technologies, Wang said Guangdong will build scientific research and development laboratories with partners from Hong Kong and Macau.

The province will “strengthen the construction of the China (Guangdong) Intellectual Property Protection Centre, support enterprises to set up overseas R&D institutions and actively integrate into the global innovation network”, he said.

While the province’s economic target is relatively low compared with the 8 per cent growth it achieved last year, it is in line with the national average. Guangdong also set a 3 per cent growth target for foreign trade in 2022.

“We must keep a sober mind that Guangdong continues to face many difficulties and challenges in our development,” Wang told the province’s lawmakers in a two-hour address.

“[There are] many uncertain and unstable factors affecting our economic development. [We need] to double our efforts to resolve the problem of ‘choke points’ in developing core technologies, and the stability and competitiveness of our supply chain still need to be enhanced,” he said.

“Besides, we must do more to resolve the problem of imbalance in regional development, and the gap between our cities and rural areas remains significant.”

On future threats for the province, Wang singled out Covid-19, trade conflicts between China and the US, financial market risks, and market bubbles such as the recent Evergrande debt crisis.

“Dear delegates, security is the prerequisite for development… We must never allow the occurrence of any events that would jeopardise social stability,” he said.

Wang vowed to double down on the “dynamic zero-Covid” strategy by pushing for even higher vaccination rates, effective enforcement of quarantine and testing measures, as well as heightened surveillance.

Guangdong, which has a population of 120 million, has achieved a 94 per cent vaccination rate, he said.

But sporadic outbreaks have still been reported in recent weeks. Cross-city infections were reported in Zhuhai, Meizhou and Dongguan, while Shenzhen reported its first Omicron case this week.


Category: China

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