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Hainan economy sees stable, quality growth in first half of 2018
From:ChinaDaily   |  2018-07-11 21:36

Hainan economy gained stable and quality growth in the first half of the year despite heavy measures to harness the real estate sector, currently still a major contributor to the island province's GDP growth, according to Shen Xiaoming, governor of China's southernmost Hainan province.

"Estimated figures for the first six months of this year show that Hainan's economic and social development was in line with our expectations, with revenues seeing fast increase and consumption remaining vigorous and up by 10 percent year-on-year," said Shen at a provincial conference in Haikou, the capital city of the tropical island province that has a population of 9.23 million, on Tuesday.

He said positive changes are taking place in the local economic structure as Hainan moves away from dependence on real estate-focused growth and shifts toward agriculture, tourism, new and high technologies, emerging services and low-carbon manufacturing industries, all of which created double-digit progress from January to June.

Among Hainan's total investments in the first half year, the proportion of investments in the real estate sector dropped 1.1 percentage points while that from the private sector rose 2.5 percentage points, indicating upward confidence for the market.

Rural consumption is growing faster than urban areas, while the duty-free market enjoys brisk business. Investment in office building projects expands faster than those in commercial housing projects, a move showing the real estate industry is shifting toward a pattern that consumes less land resources but generates greater economic benefits, said the governor.

The structural progress helped incubate 27,000 new businesses and created 62,800 jobs, and local economic development brought about a respective 8.3 percent and 8.5 percent increase of income for urban and rural residents in Hainan, according to figures released at the meeting.

"However, Hainan's economy faces quite a number of difficulties despite the good performance in sectors other than the real estate industry. Both the rates of economic growth and investment are slowing down. Pressure on government revenue is rising while the new economic growth points are still limited in scale and power to make up the income tax vacancies left by the real estate business," said Shen.

He added that the practice of Hainan in the past few months and those in other provinces and cities has proved that in-depth reform and opening-up and construction of free trade zones are of great attraction to market players and can effectively boost local economic development.

Since the central government unveiled plans in early April to build Hainan into a free trade zone and gradually establish a free trade port there, the total number of companies established on the tropical island by State-owned enterprises and overseas conglomerates has surpassed the total record made on the island province in the past 30 years since 1988, when Hainan was made a province and a special economic zone, said the governor.

He added 2018 will be a historical turning point from where Hainan will march toward a path of high-quality development.

With a weak economic basis and a low level in opening-up, Hainan faces unprecedented challenges in building a pilot free trade zone and gradually exploring to build a free trade port with Chinese characteristics, he said.

The governor urged Hainan's government departments at all levels to enhance their ability and strength to push forward Hainan's comprehensive in-depth reform and opening-up and realize the blueprints charted by the central government.