China to promote urbanization through development of county seats

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China has vowed to boost the development of county seats to promote urbanization, according to the country's top economic planner.

The move is expected to help drive the development and modernization of rural areas, and expand domestic consumption and investment, while creating more jobs and improving the lives of residents in county seats, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) told Xinhua, expounding on a Friday guideline on the subject.

By the end of 2021, China had 910 million permanent urban residents, of which 160 million were in county seats, official data shows.

The guideline, jointly released by the general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, said that by 2025, the country will see a bevy of county seats improved in a well-rounded way, with more rural people working and residing in county seats.

The NDRC said that China will devise differentiated paths of development for five major types of county seats: those close to metropolises; those with an industrial edge or specific functions; agriculture-intensive ones; those of ecological significance; and those suffering from population outflows.

In the process, China will focus on cultivating competitive industries and improving public infrastructure and services in county seats, while making medical care, education and elderly care more accessible in rural areas surrounding county seats.

The country will also make it easier for the rural population to settle down in county seats, while improving investment and financing for the development of county seats.

China's urbanization rate of permanent residence hit 64.72 percent in 2021, said the NDRC. China aims to raise its urbanization rate to 65 percent during the 2021-2025 period, according to the 14th Five-Year Plan. 

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