Being driven by its dynamic private economy, East China's Zhejiang Province boasts of significantly contributing to the country's goal of becoming a well-off society, 10 years ahead of the national agenda.
Lu Zushan, governor of the coastal province, said provincial per capita gross domestic product (GDP) would reach US$5,000 by 2010, with an annual growth rate of 9 per cent during the coming five years.
"We will achieve ahead of time the national goal of becoming a well-off society, which is expected to be achieved by 2020," Lu told China Daily in an exclusive interview on the eve of the China Daily CEO Roundtable International Summit on the Yangtze River Delta Development, which starts today in Ningbo.
The province's per capita target for 2010 is US$2,000 higher than the national goal for 2020, when China's per capita GDP reaches US$3,000 from about US$1,200 last year.
Lu said private enterprises should continue to be the backbone of the province's economy, after private enterprises produced nearly three-fourths of Zhejiang's economic output in 2005.
As the central government is pushing the integration of Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, the governor said his province had been taking concrete steps to be actively involved in the economic circle of the Yangtze River Delta, one of China's most rapidly growing areas.
He said Zhejiang should take the initiative to work more closely with Shanghai, which is at the centre of the Yangtze River Delta economic circle.
He said provinces in the Yangtze River Delta should increase their co-operation in the scientific and technological sectors to improve the region's innovative abilities. They should share resources in sectors such as technology, talent and information, according to Lu.
While cities in the region should also set up special mechanisms to co-ordinate work in quality authentication, intellectual property rights protection, and issuing environmental standards, said Lu.
These practices are expected to better regulate market supervision in the region, he added.
He said to further integrate into the Yangtze River Delta, the province needed to make many adjustments. Further development should be based on cutting-edge technologies, education and the effective application of scientific research results.
"Innovation should not just be a word that's thrown around, but something to be practiced in Zhejiang," said Lu.
The ratio of development and research (R&D) investment in the province to its total economic output will exceed 1.5 per cent by 2010, and if direct R&D investment from the central government is considered, the ratio will be much higher than the current national rate of 1.3 per cent.
With the investment, a group of internationally competitive companies and innovative centres with their own intellectual property rights and brands will be developed in the province, and its comprehensive scientific capabilities will be leading the rest of the regions in the country, said Lu.
Lu also said his province needed a thriving service industry for further development.
In light of the practical conditions of Zhejiang Province, trade and commerce, logistics, finance, tourism and culture will all enjoy development priorities in the future, according to the governor.
Despite China's service industry lagging behind the world's average level, Zhejiang has already gained great progress in this area.
The service industry contributed 44.1 per cent to the growth of the province's GDP last year, and the total output of the service industry accounted for 40 per cent of the province's GDP.
The output of China's services industry accounted for just 35 per cent of the country's entire economy last year, while the average rate for a developing country is about 45 per cent. The average rate in the industrialized world is as high as 60 per cent.
"Our goal is to reach the goal of 45 per cent by 2010," said Lu.
To achieve the goal, the development of logistics is high on its agenda, as the province has already become a base for overseas investors and inland companies.
The Ministry of Communications has decided to earmark 100 billion yuan (US$12.5 billion) in the next five years to merge China's two deep-water ports, Ningbo Port and Zhoushan Port in the province into one, in a bid to sharpen their world handling capacities.
After completion, the new port will be an integral part of the Shanghai International Shipping Centre, as well as an important logistics and industrial base.
Source: China Daily