Sichuan aims to plug in to IT opportunities

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, March 10, 2011
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The government of Sichuan province said on Tuesday it plans to turn the area into a hub for the information technology industry and boost the turnover of the IT sector to 1 trillion yuan ($152 billion) by 2015.

Huang Xiaoxiang, who is vice-governor of the province in Southwest China, said at a news conference that high-technology industries will become the major economic engines for Sichuan during the period of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015).

"Sichuan used to rely heavily on the steel, cement and chemical industries but we want to make a change," Huang said.

He pointed out that the turnover of Sichuan's high-technology industries was only 130 billion yuan last year but said he expects it to hit the 1-trillion-yuan target in the coming five years.

Sichuan province has been one of China's three electronic bases since 1949 but the economic power of the province has lagged behind other areas in recent decades, especially since coastal provinces, including Guangdong and Zhejiang, became major manufacturing hubs for electronic product makers in the 1990s and 2000s.

Huang said rising labor costs in coastal regions last year led many companies, including Intel, Texas Instruments and Dell, to decide to move their factories and operations inland. He said Sichuan was often their first choice. "In the past, more than 10 million workers from Sichuan went to eastern cities every year to work but, with more companies moving to Sichuan, most of them are now deciding to stay and work near their families," Huang said.

Last year, the province's GDP increased by 15.1 percent, which was faster than the 11 percent and the 14.5 percent in 2008 and 2009. Huang said Sichuan is also becoming one of the hottest provinces for foreign investors.

"During the past three years, we have attracted the most foreign investment in the history of Sichuan," he said, noting that despite being an inland province, opening-up to the world has been a way for it to grow.

A devastating earthquake inflicted tremendous loss upon Sichuan province in 2008 but Huang said the economic recovery there has been robust.

He said the government plans to increase investment in infrastructure construction and will build closer ties with neighboring regions as well as developed economies, including Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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