SCIO briefing on China's current economic performance

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 28, 2017
Adjust font size:

Yang Weimin, vice minister of the Office of Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs;
Wang Zhijun, director of Division One on Economic Affairs, the Office of Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs;
Cong Liang, director-general of the Department of National Economy, the National Development and Reform Commission;
Xing Zhihong, spokesperson of the National Bureau of Statistics and director general of the Department of Comprehensive Statistics of the bureau


Xi Yanchun, vice director-general of the Press Bureau, State Council Information Office

July 27, 2017

Xi Yanchun:

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Welcome to this press conference. The State Council Information Office has held several press conferences this month to release latest economic data and provide relevant explanations. To help you gain a better understanding of the current situation, we are delighted to have with us: Mr. Yang Weimin, vice minister of the Office of Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs; Mr. Wang Zhijun, director of Division One on Economic Affairs, the Office of Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs; Mr. Cong Liang, director-general of the Department of National Economy, the National Development and Reform Commission, and Mr. Xing Zhihong, spokesperson of the National Bureau of Statistics and director general of the Department of Comprehensive Statistics of the bureau. They will introduce China's current economic performance and answer some of your questions.

Now, let's welcome Mr. Yang to give his briefing.

Yang Weimin:

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. It's a pleasure to meet you. As you know, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee recently held a special meeting to review national economic performance in the first half of this year and arrange the relevant work for the remainder of the year. The press release has been distributed to you. Now, I'd like to brief you on how the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee viewed China's economic performance in the first half of this year and what will be carried out in the second half.

1. How to understand China's economic performance in the first half of this year.

Generally speaking, in the first half of this year, Chinese economy produced a stable performance and moved in a positive direction, with further structural adjustment.

What are the reasons behind this conclusion?

First, economic development was stable, with all major economic indicators standing in an appropriate range, and some even surpassing expectations. National GDP expanded by 6.9 percent, 0.2 percentage points higher than the same period of last year, reaching the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2015.

Second, the quality and efficiency of the economic performance were both enhanced. Fiscal revenue increased by 9.8 percent, and the profits of industrial enterprises above designated size increased by 22 percent.

Third, people's livelihood continued to improve. In both rural and urban areas, a total of 7.35 million new jobs were created, approximately 180,000 more than the same period of last year. Consumer prices remained stable, with the CPI growing by 1.4 percent year on year, and maintaining the same growth rate as the first quarter of this year. Personal per capita disposable income increased by 7.3 percent which was adjusted for inflation, higher than the economic growth rate. Remarkable achievements were made in poverty reduction. New progress was made in ecological conservation, environmental protection and other areas.

Why are we convinced that the structural adjustment has been deepened? Supporting evidence can be provided in three aspects:

First, consumption, investment and export growth had obviously become more balanced as we reviewed the recent structure of demand. The retail sales of consumer products grew by 10.4 percent, reinforcing the role of demand as a driving force to cement economic growth gauged by a contribution rate of 63.4 percent. Investment in fixed assets surged by 8.6 percent, with private sector investment increasing by 7.2 percent for a growth of 4.4 percentage points year-on-year. Exports and imports soared by 19.6 percent, with 15 percent growth in exports and 25.7 percent for imports. The international balance of payments was positive, the current account maintained surplus and the foreign currency reserves were above US$3 trillion.

Second,the industrial structure was much improved: the service industry continued to grow fast, supply-side structural reform in the agricultural sector kept advancing, industrial structure was improved and overcapacity problems continued to be alleviated. Moreover, the driving force of innovation started to take effect and various industries pressed ahead with upgrading and new technologies expanded rapidly. The growths of high-tech industries and equipment manufacturing, respectively standing at 13.1 percent and 11.5 percent, are higher than the increase of the entire industrial sector and the GDP. Besides, the industrial organizational structure saw further improvement as demonstrated by the rise of the concentration ratio of competitive industries and the further segmentation of small, medium and large enterprises. At the same time, controls were effectively strengthened over the real estate market.

Third, judging from the regional structure, the coordinated efforts of three major strategic programs, namely, the Belt and Road Initiative, the concerted development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province and the operation of Yangtze River Economic Belt are obviously paying off. China's eastern, middle and western region have all seen improvements, with good momentum being sustained in the east, development expanded in the middle and the west and signs of recovery have appeared in the northeastern region.

The good performance of the economy in the first half this year mostly resulted from the proposal of the economic new normal charted by the CPC Central Committee to create a unified view on the future course of national economy since the 18th CPC National Congress.

We need to uphold clear thinking while observing the future of the economy. President Xi has more than once stressed that we need dialectic views and farsighted visions to address the issue in particular. In doing so, we need to take into consideration both the current economic course and its future trajectory, both the indexes and expectations and both the achievements and problems.

Given the outlook of China's economy in middle and long term, positive changes can be seen. General development has maintained good momentum and it will keep improving in the long term, the structure of supply and demand has been essentially transformed, the combined expectations of enterprises and market confidence have been boosted and the driving force of the economy has been reinforced. Such progress has not only stimulated the national economy but also contributed to the recovery of the world's economy.

More to the point, the new development conception and supply-side reform have gained popularity, especially, among the local governments and enterprises, causing them to change for the good. Conceptions, referring to a fundamental change and a strengthened force, are attempting to reach a more advanced economic structure by spearheading a transformation in development modes, improving the economic structure and renewing the economic driving force. Therefore, I feel upbeat about China's economy and I am confident it will by no means fall into the middle-income trap as some have alleged.

Meanwhile, we are aware that China is at a crucial stage in its economic development where structural reform is still underway. Particularly, supply-side structural reform is deepening, with many challenges to be overcome. Despite stable performance with good momentum in the first half (H1) of this year, there are problems in China's economic development. Some of them are deep-seated, such as poor circulation of the real economy, the arduous task of managing financial risks, the lack of long-term mechanisms to ensure the sound and stable development of the real estate market as well as mounting pressure from increasing business costs.

Furthermore, the economic prospects for different regions, sectors and enterprises are increasingly divergent. Given the deep integration of the Chinese economy in the world economy, the latter, though improved in H1 this year, is transmitting its uncertainties to the former.

2. The work we will do in the second half of this year

The CPC Central Committee and the State Council stressed that to deliver sound and sustained economic growth in H2 of this year, we must make it our top priority to remain committed to the underlying principle of making progress while keeping economic performance stable. This serves as a major principle of China's governance and a reliable method for its economic development.

Ensuring stability requires making progress while maintaining stable overall performance. However, the stability we pursue is not equivalent to inactivity or stability achieved through strength and rigidity. Instead, we should endeavor to make progress while striking a balance, seizing opportunities and moderating our pace. New achievements should be made this year in managing financial risks and continuing supply-side structural reform.

We should stick to the guidelines set by the Central Economic Work Conference 2016 and the Report on the Work of the Government 2017, and seek progress in all areas of our work. To be specific, we will do the following: keep macro-level policy consistent and stable; pursue a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy; focus on supply-side structural reform; expand aggregate demand as appropriate; do better in guiding expectations; and strengthen the role of innovation in driving forward development.

We should ensure that we achieve three essential goals, namely, maintaining stable and sound economic development, continuing supply-side structural reform and forestalling systemic financial risks.

Taking into account both the current situation and the long-term development needs, the CPC Central Committee and the Sate Council stressed that, while seeking progress in all areas, we should focus on the following six tasks: first, firmly continuing supply-side structural reform; second, actively yet gradually dissolve the accumulated debt risks of some local governments; third, suppress financial chaos; fourth, stabilize the real estate market; fifth, maintain the steady growth of foreign and private investment; sixth, word hard to improve people's livelihoods. That concludes my introduction. Now officials from National Development and Reform Commission, National Bureau of Statistics and the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs as well as myself would like to take your questions. Thank you.

Xi Yanchun:

Thanks to Mr. Yang Weimin for his introduction. Now, the floor is open to questions.


Since the second half of last year, the economy has shown signs of bottoming out. Production, prices and profit indicators are visibly picking up. One view is that these improvements still rely on real estate development and infrastructure investment. Mr. Cong, what is your opinion? Thank you.

Cong Liang:

Mr. Yang has just made a detailed evaluation on the whole economic situation. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council have established a judgment on the new normal of economic growth. They have steered the new normal with new concept of development, focused on improving quality and efficiency, and took supply side structural reform as the main line. Under the combined effect of these policies, some positive changes have taken place since the second half of last year. These positive changes were achieved on the basis of structural optimization. We didn't implement any powerful stimulation as was the case with Western countries. Instead, we are vigorously promoting mass entrepreneurship and innovation and revitalizing the real economy. We focus more on promoting development by speeding up structural adjustment and the conversion of old and new growth drivers, so as to achieve steady economic development.

Specifically, there are a few aspects to consider: First, the entire industrial structure has seen continuous optimization, with the service sector maintaining rapid development. From 2013 to 2016, the average annual growth of the added value for the service sector reached 8 percent, or 0.8 percentage point higher than the GDP growth rate. The service sector contributed 44.9 percent to the economic growth in 2012 and up to 58.2 percent in 2016. In the first half of this year, the service industry grew by 7.7 percent, contributing 59.1 percent to economic growth. From the point of view of proportion, service sector's added value accounted for 46.7 percent of the total in 2013 and 51.6 percent in 2016, a rise of 6.3 percentage points from 2012. In the first half of this year, its proportion increased to 54.1 percent. From an annual perspective, looking at each quarter, the contribution of the service sector might undergo a small change. However, viewed long-term, this change has been the most obvious in the last five years.

Second, the quality was improved on the basis of stability for the secondary sector. As the strategies of innovation-driven development were implemented, including the rapid advance of the "Made in China 2025" plan, as well as in-depth boost from the "Internet Plus" action plan and the construction of "Digital China," the transformation and upgrading of traditional industry was able to move ahead faster. The whole economy, especially the industrial economy, was able to maintain stable growth. Looking at the internal structure of industry, we can see that in the traditional industries - especially from the angle of cutting excessive industrial capacity - many invalid processes and products of low efficiency were reduced gradually, while the high-level and efficient parts of industry were able to play an increasingly important role. So. the supply and demand relationship of the whole market saw a relatively positive and substantial change. For example, the coal industry cut capacity totaling 290 million tons in 2016, and, since the beginning of this year, it has cut a further 111 million tons. This produced obvious easing in the excessive supply situation facing the coal market. Regarding the steel industry, in 2016, production capacity was cut by 65 million tons, while another 40 million plus tons has been eliminated so far this year. What's more, more than 100 million tons of substandard steel were prevented from being produced through bans based on safety and environmental protection standards. There was a great change in the supply and demand relationship in the entire steel industry. The industries with higher value added potential grew faster than traditional ones. Take, for instance, the equipment manufacturing industry. In 2016, its proportion was 32.9 percent, 4.7 percent more than what it was in 2012. The high-tech industry's proportion was 12.4 percent in 2016, three percent more than in 2012. So, there were relatively obvious changes in the entire supply and demand relationship, the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries, as well as the development of new industries. Especially, green development saw some achievements, and the utilization efficiency of energy resources was clearly raised. The energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped by 17.9 percent in 2016 compared with 2012, and the main pollutant emissions kept decreasing. During this period, the economic aggregate kept expanding.

While the structure was optimized, there were some changes in the demand structure, and consumption has become the main force. Currently, consumption's contribution to economic growth was 63.4 percent in the last half year. Consumption's fundamental role functioned efficiently. Regarding investments, those in ecological environmental protection, education, irrigation and innovation, including the investment in technology transformation aspects, all increased by double-digit figures. So. the whole economic structure, no matter if it is about industry structure or demand structure, has seen a lot of positive changes, which also have created their own trends. Viewed from a long-term prospective, this positive trend is very clear. Thanks.

Phoenix TV:

Recently, the "gray rhino" has been mentioned several times. The Chinese media first reported "gray rhino" threats and said these and "black swan"eventsshould be prevented. And the foreign mediaalso reported that China should pay attention to "gray rhino" threats. How do youevaluate this matter? Thank you.

Wang Zhijun:

Thank you. Firstly, I'd like to explain the meaning of the"gray rhino" threats and the "black swan"events respectively. The"black swan"event is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise. As for the "gray rhino,"it is known that the rhino has a big body, so the word meansthat a serious matter has not attracted enough attention, which leads to a serious event, even though it could have been expected in the early stage. The CPC Central Committee is effectively preventing and defusing risks in the financial sector. And the CPC is always defending the bottom line of no outbreak of systemic risk. Both "black swan" events and "gray rhino" threats may offend the bottom line of financial risk. However, as I mentioned, these two events differ in nature. So, we should have different ways to deal with and prevent risks.

Regarding "black swan" events, they are unexpected, and so we should keep calm and have a high sensitivity, especially in regard to the condition of an unstable economic base. We will become more aware of potential dangers and always keep potential risks in mind. We will strengthen the ways to trace, monitor and analyze various matters and improve the prediction and precaution system for identifying emerging issues as soon as possible. We will make full preparations and take preventive measures

In "gray rhino" threats, the matters have already appeared. So, we should have crisisawareness and adhere to a problem-oriented approach. Facing "gray rhino" threats, including a shadow banking system, property bubbles, inflated local debt levels and illegal fund raising, we should size up the situation, solve problems in order of importance and urgency, pay attention to the key factors, then take effective measures and properly solve problems. Thank you.


Government data for the first half of this year showed that industrial profits grew 19.1 percent in June year on year, up 2.4 percentage points from the previous month's growth. Does the growth represent a turnaround in the real economy? And what will the economy be like in the second half of this year? What about the industrial profits?

Xing Zhihong:

With the deepened supply-side structural reform this year, the relationship between supply and demand has been improved, and we also saw a recovery in industrial product prices and industrial companies' operating conditions. According to the June data released this morning, we can see the following positive changes:

Firstly, profits maintained steady growth. The profits of industrial enterprises with annual revenue of 20 million yuan or more from their main business operations rose by 19.1 percent from the year before, up 2.4 and 5.1 percentage points from May and April respectively. Profits of large-scale industrial enterprises for the first half year increased by 22 percent from a year earlier, with growth level up 15.8 percentage points year on year.

Secondly, profits margin kept growing. The profits margin of industrial enterprises earning more than 20 million yuan from their main business operations increased 6.35 percent, up 0.29 percentage points from a year earlier.

Thirdly, the profits structure has been improved. Starting from the Q2,there's a new development in industrial profits growth. Industries upstream shared a smaller part in the newly-added profits, while industries in the middle and downstream shared more. Of the newly-added profits in June, the equipment manufacturing industry shared 40.7 percent of the total, up 11.3 percentage points from May; high-technology industries accounted for 19.3 percent, up 0.6 percentage points from May. As a typical upstream industry, the mining sector's portion of profits decreased by 13.4 percentage points from May, a fall for the second consecutive month.

Reasons for these positive changes in industrial enterprises' profits are as follow: firstly, we maintained a steady growth in market demand, and speeded up selling. In June, income from industrial enterprises' main business operations increased by 13.7 percent from a year earlier, up 0.6 percentage points than the May growth. This year, income from industrial enterprises' main business operations maintained double-digit growth, and the turnover of finished products was also speeded up. The turnover time of finished industrial products was 13.7 days in June, 0.8 days less than May. A number of the 34 industries in the second quarter of this year maintained price growth, showing market demand is increasing, which is also a major reason for the industrial enterprises to continue steady growth.

Secondly, the effect of taxes, fees and other costs cut was now felt. The government has been pushing forward supply-side reform since last year, and reducing costs is one of the major tasks. By cutting the taxes, fees and other costs relating to human resources, land, logistics, and systematic trade, industrial enterprises reduced their costs by 0.18 yuan per 100 yuan of income from their main business operations.

Thirdly, the upgrading and optimized supply strengthened the industrial enterprises' earning power. Under supply-side structural reform and innovation-driven development strategy, industrial enterprises proactively coped with the changes in market, and took effective measures to improve their equipment, crafts and technology. We can see that, in the first half of the year, not only the emerging industries maintained a good momentum, but also the traditional industries improved their operations through upgrading. Take the textile and garment industry as an example. This traditional industry rose by 12 percent in the first half of the year, up 9.6 percentage points from last year. Among the 41 sectors, 38 saw increased profits based on the improvements mentioned above.


Market interest rates and mortgage rates both increased in the first half of this year. How will the increase impact the performance of the Chinese economy in the second half of this year?

Wang Zhijun:

China's prudent monetary policy and proactive fiscal policy, especially the supply-side structural reforms, have enabled the national economy to maintain stable and sound growth in the first half of this year. As Mr. Yang said just now, China will continue such policies in the second half of this year.

To cope with any possible impact from rate moves, we will maintain a prudent monetary policy, emphasize preemptive adjustment and fine tuning, and ensure moderate credit growth and stable liquidity so that interest rates remain at a reasonable level.

I believe China is able to sustain sound economic growth by using monetary policy instruments to offset the impact of interest rate moves.

Financial Times:

As has just been mentioned, it is very important to curb systematic risk. Could you please explain what kind of risk this refers to? In what circumstances would the highest probability appear? Which sector, for instance, will face such risk? What does systematic risk mean exactly? Thank you.

Yang Weimin:

Systematic risk refers to the risk that will affect the overall economy and the entire society. Definitely, it can be caused by small risks of different sectors and aspects rather than one sector alone. The subprime crisis, for example, didn't look like systematic risk, but it finally resulted in one, as it triggered a financial crisis in the United States and touched off the global financial crisis.

What we mean by guarding against systematic risk is to prevent those small risk points of different sectors, including interbank business, local governmental debt, and debt defaults of some State-owned enterprises (SOE) and a high leverage ratio. We have to identify, find and deal with those risks as soon as possible. By handle them in this way we can prevent small risks from becoming huge systematic risk in the end and doing more serious harm to Chinese economy. So, we balance the relationship between stable growth and risk prevention even at the cost of sacrificing something in other aspects now.

In the second half of this year, we will work on deleveraging, which is the source of risks. The direction of deleveraging is unchanged. Definitely, deleveraging will undergo a lengthy process with priorities, as the leverage ratio of different industries and sectors varies. It was stressed at the National Financial Work Conference that deleveraging of SOEs should have top priority. If SOE deleveraging is achieved, the leverage aspect of the entire enterprise sector will go down and leverage of the whole national economy will decline as well, which is how to prevent dangers at source. We will not maintain growth at the mercy of a rebounding leverage ratio. The economy of the first half year continues to be stable and is getting better. Meanwhile, the trend that the macro leverage ratio was rising too rapidly in previous years is now under control to some extent. That means both deleveraging and stable growth can be achieved. We are able to maintain a stable economy, and to curb the leverage ratio to some extent as well. Thank you.


My question is about employment. This year's economic statistics show the current employment situation is good, and there is no sign of any slowdown in the reduction of industrial overcapacity. At the same time, the number of graduates nationwide this year has hit an all-time high. How can we maintain this good momentum? Thank you.

Xing Zhihong:

There has been steady and sound development in the national economy since the beginning of this year. More positive changes have taken place in economic development, among them the sustained improved employment is a bright spot. I think the main reasons for this are as follows.

First, the effect of entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives. The implementation of entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives has further promoted market vitality and social creativity. New enterprises have emerged in large numbers, bringing about many new job openings. Statistics from relevant departments show the number of newly registered enterprises reached 291,000 in the first half of this year, an increase of 11.1 percent over the same period of last year. The average daily number of newly-registered enterprises reached 16,000. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, about 70 percent of the country's new jobs last year came from sectors regarded as new economic drivers.

Second, the economic effect. Presently, China's economic development has entered the period of the new normal. During the economic structural transition period, economic growth has steadily expanded instead of narrowing. In the first half of this year, GDP growth reached 2.35 trillion yuan, an increase of more than 200 billion yuan over the same period of last year. As long as our labor productivity is holds steady, the expansion of economic growth will mean a steady expansion of new employment in this regard.

Third, the effect of structural adjustment. The service industry began to exceed the secondary industry in terms of the proportion occupied in the national economy in 2013, and the proportion exceeded 50 percent in 2015.It can be said that China's economy has entered a service-leading development stage. Compared with the manufacturing sector, the service industry is a more powerful employer, because it has many labor-intensive sectors. The growing service industry is leading to a more flexible employment rate.According to our estimates, every one percentage point of GDP growth meant 1.7 million new non-agricultural jobs in the2012-2016 period, an increase of 300,000 over the 2009-2011 period. This is a tribute to economic structural adjustment.

Fourth, the effect of policies. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have always adhered to the policy of giving priority to employment and have implemented other positive policies to cope with employment pressures.In supply-side structural reform, the scaling down of overcapacity in some industries has brought about such problems as the resettlement of laid-off workers. Meanwhile, the number of college graduates is unprecedentedly high in China this year. The central government has taken a series of positive measures aimed at these key groups. Let me give you an example. Last year, the central government allocated 100billion yuan in special funds for the resettlement of laid-off workers, and introduced an employment and entrepreneurship action plan for college graduates. All these approaches have provided a stable environment for the job market and further improved employment.

Thanks to these four reasons, China has maintained steady and sound employment development momentum. Thank you.

Bloomberg News:

The nation's economy has been stable overall, but there's great regional divergence. Gansu, Hainan and Tianjin, for instance, have decelerated in the first half by more than one percentage point from the first quarter. How can you explain that and what can policy-makers do to address these regional differences?

Cong Liang:

As regions differ in terms of their development stage and factor endowment, they naturally differ in economic growth.Just as you mentioned,the growth in Gansu and Hainan didslow down somewhat. However, for these two provinces, greatpriority should be given toenvironmental protection rather thaneconomic growth. Hainan is an island in the tropical rainforest zone. Its ecology can be found nowhere else in China, so its protection deserves greater attention than economic growth. Gansu's Qilian Mountain is regarded as China's "water tower."If the mountain were polluted, the entire Yellow River and Yangtze River networks would suffer. Therefore, for such regions, environmental protection is more important than economic growth. Thank you.

Yang Weimin:

I have something more to say on this issue. China has a large territory, with natural and geographical conditions differing greatly between regions. The natural environment in Qinghai and Tibet in the west is very different from Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang in the east. That's why we create policies for functional zones to promote regional development. Under these policies, some regions can concentrate on industrialization and urbanization, while some perform the role of an agricultural zone. As major producers of agricultural products, these zones should not put too much effort into industrialization and urbanization. Likewise, the main responsibility for some regions is ecological conservation.

You mentioned Hainan just now. The province's main responsibility is protecting its ecological environment, thus serving as a "back garden" for the Chinese people. Therefore, it's reasonable for Hainan's economic growth rate to be a bit lower than some others. This was the necessary consequence of the central authorities' policies and new, green development methods. I think the result is positive.

Regarding Gansu, besides concerns on ecological conservation, the province is also handicapped by natural condition that is not as good as eastern provinces. The mining industry makes up a rather high proportion in Gansu's economic structure. As the official of National Bureau of Statistics has just said, profits in the mining sector have continued to drop; hence, in regions where the mining industry accounts for a large proportion of the economic structure, it's normal that the economic growth rate would be lower than others.

When analyzing economic development in different regions, we can't use a one-size-fits-all standard. What we care about most now is whether their development fits green ideas, and whether they have fulfilled their functions and promoted development as required. This is different from our previous appraisal of regional performance. We changed our way of thinking because great efforts have been undertaken to advocate ecological progress and green development after the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Thank you.


As a vital part of regional economy, economic development of northeastern China has drawn a lot of attention in recent years. In particular, as Mr. Yang Weimin just mentioned, economic development there saw a recovery this year after touching bottom. Could you talk about China's economic development in the first half of this year from the perspective of regional development? What's more, will this recovery in the northeast be sustainable? Thanks.

Cong Liang:

As we have mentioned before, due to various factor endowments and geographic conditions among regions, their development differs from each other. However, this year, guided by the new development philosophy, the eastern, central, western and northeastern regions interacted and coordinated well. Economic development of eastern China maintained a good and powerful momentum. The economy of central and western China grew steadily, and the northeast underwent a recovery.

As the leading region of the country, eastern China contributes over 50 percent of the total national economy. In the first half of the year, the growth of industrial value added in the top five provinces - Jiangsu, Guangdong, Shandong, Henan and Zhejiang - all surpassed the national average, thus providing a steady base for China's economy. Especially, the transformation and upgrading carried out in eastern China played a vital role in leading the economy. In Zhejiang Province, the high technology and equipment manufacturing industries contributed over 50 percent of industrial growth. And in Jiangsu Province, 3D printing and industrial robots saw a growth rate of 70 percent. Some cities have achieved a lot during their transformation and upgrading. For example, in Shenzhen, its per capita GDP is over US$25,000, so it has avoided being caught in any "middle income trap." And its GDP growth, featuring high quality, great benefits and advanced technology, reached 8.8 percent in the first half of this year. Through these facts, we could see China's great economic development capability and potential.

Regarding the central and western regions, their development index is higher than the whole country, indicating they have gained obvious advantages as late comers. Over the last two years, with industry relocation and technology transfer from the eastern regions, the central and western regions saw their industry grow at a rather high rate.

Many provinces enhanced growth momentum by raising the quality and returns of development, and promoting industrial upgrading. For example, in Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces, after cutting excessive industrial capacity and treating zombie enterprises, the total corporate profit increased by 30 percent, much faster than the whole country. In Hunan province, which encouraged its equipment manufacturing industry to integrate with the software industry, the growth rate of the equipment manufacturing industry was double that of the industrial sector as a whole. In Anhui province, the growth rate of strategic emerging industries was over 20 percent, which is common in the central and western regions.

In the northeast region, the pressure of economic growth has been high in recent years. But from this year, the signs of stability are increasing. The growth rate of industry was 1 percent in the first half of the year. Last year, it decreased 3.1 percent. The drop in investment has slowed down. Meanwhile, some key industries are improving in terms of profitability. In previous years, the petroleum and petrochemical sector, including the mining industries, experienced great losses, but their profitability have markedly improved now.

Meanwhile, proactive efforts have been made to promote the three key initiatives: the Belt and Road Initiative, the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, and the development of the Yangtze River economic belt. Much headway has been made in promoting the Belt and Road Initiative. Steady progress has been made in the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, and in the projects to relieve Beijing of functions nonessential to its role as China's capital. The development of the Yangtze River economic belt is centred upon environmental protection, and the restoration of the whole ecological environment has achieved substantial results. Overall, the coordinated and integrated development between regions is clearly progressing well. New growth poles and growth belts are gradually forming. Deep-rooted problems in some regions are gradually being solved, and some have achieved obvious improvement. Thank you.

The Wall Street Journal:

I have a question regardingsupply-side structural reform. The expert just mentioned that the capacity of the coal industry has dropped sharply. We noticed that coal enterprises made a profit of about 100 billion yuan in the first half of the year thanks to the cuts in coal capacity and the rise in coal prices. However, rising coal prices will result inrising costsfor the coal-based power industry and the losses of coal-based power enterprises reached nearly 100 billion yuan in the first half of this year. Asadecision maker are you aware of this problem? The cuts in capacity in one industry may exert negative impacts on other related industries. If possible, will you be taking measures to avoid this phenomenonas supply-side reform continues in the future? Thank you.

Yang Weimin:

This is a good question. We areaware of the relationship between the upstream coal industry and the downstreampower industries, irrespective ofsupply-side structural reforms.As coal prices rise, the profits of the coal-based power industriesmay decrease. This continues to be a difficult problem to solve during China's long-term economic development process.

Currently, coal prices have rebounded very quickly due to complicated factors. Therefore, the practice of cutting capacity duringthe previous stage may need some fine-tuning for the next step. We will makebetter use of the measures enacted forremovingZombie enterprises as well utilizingmarket and legal approaches. We will also make less use of administrative orders in the future capacity-cutting process. Capacity cuts aim to correct distortions in the allocation of elements, and through reform, establish a more normal market order in theupstream-downstream relationship. But it needs some time. The conflicts will gradually ease in the future process of dissolving excess capacity and disposing Zombie enterprises. Thank you.

Xi Yanchun:

Thanks again for the release. In the next days, we will invite other economic departments to attend the SCIO briefings introducing China's economic situation. Please stay tuned for more interview notices published on theSCIO APP. Thank you. That's all for today's press conference.


By Guo Xiaohong, Wang Qian, Li Xiaohua, He Shan, Huang Shan, Yuan Fang, Chen Xia, Li Jingrong, Zhang Rui, Wu Jin, Li Huiru, Zhou Jing, Wang Wei, Xu Lin, Duan Yaying, Zhang Liying, Gao Zhan, Cui Can

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:    
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from