More loans for key industries

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The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world's largest bank by market value, will double its lending to China's new strategic industries, including those involved in high-end manufacturing, the service industry and the green sector, during the next three to five years, the bank's president said on Sunday.

"We will increase the amount of loans to these key industries at a faster pace," said Yang Kaisheng, who is also a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

Yang was speaking at a press briefing in Beijing.

By the end of last year, ICBC had extended loans of more than 610 billion yuan ($93.8 billion) to the country's new strategic industries. The growth rate of these new loans in 2010 was 17 percent, which was higher than the bank's average credit growth, said Yang.

He said the supply of credit to the country's strategic industries will continue to be abundant, despite the fact that the central bank will restrict overall lending in a bid to curb excessive liquidity and rising asset bubbles.

Premier Wen Jiabao said during his work report on Saturday that the government will focus on speeding up the development of several strategic industries, including high-end equipment manufacturing, biotechnology, new materials, new-generation information technology, alternative-fuel cars and companies involved in energy-saving efforts as well as developers of environmentally friendly technologies.

The government aims to ensure that the output of these key strategic industries accounts for 8 percent of the country's GDP by 2015.

It was also reported that China will invest up to $1.5 trillion during the next five years in an effort to boost the development of these industries.

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