Beijing and Shanghai yesterday set ambitious and identical economic growth targets of 9 per cent annually for the next five years while pledging to improve the quality of life for their residents.
Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan said the highlights of the five-year plan are the hosting of the 2008 Olympic Games as well as building a city that is "safe, convenient and comfortable."
The Games will generate great momentum for the development of the capital, said Wang while delivering a draft report on Beijing's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) at the annual meeting of the municipal people's congress.
The city should grasp the opportunity to build itself into a world-class tourism destination and international exhibition centre, he said.
By 2010, Beijing's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita will be double the 2000 figure at about US$5,400. The GDP in 2005, which is expected to be around 660 billion yuan (US$81.45 billion), will see an annual increase of 9 per cent, said Wang.
But it is not just the economy which will hog the agenda. "Harmonious development among people, resources and the environment as well economic and social progress are crucial,'" said the mayor.
Among the key features of the plan:
Contain the permanent population within 16 million by 2010. The figure reached 15.3 million in 2005, 1.66 million higher than five years earlier.
Accelerate the shift of economic structure and growth modes with the development of high-end industries. For example, the proportion of modern tertiary industry is set to reach 72 per cent of overall industrial output.
Monopolies would be eliminated and preferential policies would be drafted for cultural industries.
In Shanghai, Mayor Han Zheng set a target of 9 per cent annual growth for GDP to reach 1.5 trillion yuan (US$185 billion) in 2010, up 40 per cent from 2005.
Speaking to the municipal people's congress, he said the economic powerhouse would complete building the infrastructure to be a global economic, financial, trade and shipping centre in the next five years.
"Through these ambitious goals, both the city's international competitiveness and residents' living standards will see discernible improvement," he added.
His vision matches the city's theme for its 2010 World Expo Better City, Better Life.
Among the key features of the work plan:
Spending on research and development will be raised to 2.8 per cent of GDP. The figure in 2005 was around 2.3 per cent.
The contribution of the high-tech industry to rise from 58 per cent to 65 per cent of industrial output.
To spend no less than 3 per cent of GDP on the environment; and power consumption per unit of GDP to fall by 20 per cent from the 2005 level. Green coverage to reach 38 per cent, one percentage point higher than now.
To maintain the registered unemployment rate at around 4.5 per cent.
To reconstruct 4 million square metres of dilapidated old residential houses.
The distance covered by the subway will see a leap from the present 153 kilometres to 400 kilometres.
Expansion on the two international airports will start this year, which will double the city's annual passenger volume capacity to be more than 80 million.
Source: China Daily