Kunshan: China's No.1 county-level economy

By Lin Liyao
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, June 17, 2016
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Foreign students from the International Masters of Business Administration program listen to a presentation during a symposium with Kunshan local officials on June 15, 2016, in Kunshan City, Jiangsu Province. [Photo by Lin Liyao/China.org.cn] 

On the afternoon of June 15, Zhang Yuelin, deputy secretary of the Kunshan Municipal CPC Committee, welcomed another foreign delegation in the meeting room of the Times Hotel in Kunshan City in southeastern China's Jiangsu Province. This is the second time in the month he has introduced his city and shared Kunshan's experiences with visiting foreign friends.

The delegation consists of 34 foreign students -- from 21 different countries throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America -- who participated in a one-year International Masters of Business Administration (IMBA) program sponsored by the Chinese government.

To help these foreign students get a detailed and thorough understanding of economic and social development in different areas around China, especially in small and medium-sized cities, the Emerging Markets Institute at Beijing Normal University organizes two in-depth research trips every year. After visiting Shaanxi Province in March, they next visited southeast China.

Lying in the southeastern region of Jiangsu Province, Kunshan covers 931 square kilometers with a population of 2.55 million. It is only 55 kilometers away from Shanghai to the east, and 35 kilometers from Suzhou to the west.

Just as Zhang said during the symposium with the foreign students, "Although it is a county-level city, Kunshan is located at the forefront of China's reform and opening-up around the Yangtze River Delta."

Once a poor place in the province during the 1980s, Kunshan now ranks No. 1 in overall economic competitiveness, and has done so for many consecutive years, among over 2,000 county-level cities throughout China.

In 2015, the city's gross domestic product (GDP) was registered at 308 billion yuan (US$46.8 billion), and per-capita GDP reached US$29,957, and the per-capita disposable income reached US$8,148.

Zhang said that Kunshan has passed through five stages since China's reform and opening-up policies implemented in 1978. During the 1970s and 1980s, Kunshan promoted the development of its rural industries, and transformed into an industrial city from one relying on agriculture. After 1992, Kunshan started to build economic development zones (EDZs) and attract overseas investment.

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