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Roundup: Chinese Economy Sees Steady Improvement in 2002
Record Overseas Investment in Shandong

East China's Shandong province has attracted nearly US$11 billion of contracted overseas investment in the first 11 months of this year, up 77 percent year-on-year and setting a record high.

The amount actually used is expected to reach US$6 billion by year's end as more than five billion dollars has already been used, up 53 percent from the corresponding period of 2001.

Investment from Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea and Japan has maintained the best increase momentum this year owing to a series of promotions targeting these places, which led to the signing of many cooperative agreements.

Cooperation on big projects between local state-owned enterprises and multinationals has grown as statistics show that the number of cooperative projects involving total investment exceeding US$10 million exceeded 330 in the 11-month period.

Shanghai's Retail Sales to Hit New High

Shanghai, the biggest industrial and commercial city in China, is forecast to post total retail sales of more than 200 billion yuan (US$24 billion) this year.

According to figures from the Shanghai Municipal Commerce Information Center, the retail volume is likely to reach 204 billion yuan (US$24.8 billion), an increase of about 9.6 percent over last year.

Retail sales in the city totaled 168 billion yuan (US$20.4 billion) in the first 10 months this year, up 9.7 percent, or 10.9 percent considering the reduction in retail prices, or 0.2 percentage points higher than local economic growth.

Shanghai ranks first in major cities on the Chinese mainland, including Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Chongqing in terms of retail sales during the 10 months.

Non-state-owned retail businesses overtook state-owned ones during the 10 months by taking a market share of 50.6 percent for the first time in about five decades.

Retail sales by foreign-funded retail companies, firms funded by business people from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and private domestic retail firms rose by 64 percent, 60 percent and 39 percent respectively.

Beijing Reports Double-digit Rise in Exports

Beijing exported US$5.276 billion worth of commodities in the first 11 months, up 18.7 percent on a year-on-year basis.

Sources from the Beijing Municipal Customs said the national capital saw 1,253 new overseas-financed businesses established from January to November, up 24.9 percent.

These new ventures involved a combined contractual overseas investment of US$5.2 billion, including US$2.56 billion in foreign direct investment, a rise of 12.5 percent.

It is estimated that Beijing municipality will do US$13.8 billion worth of foreign trade this year, and exports alone will go up by 19 percent to hit about US$5.8 billion.

Heilongjiang Province to Boost Trade with Russia

China's northernmost Heilongjiang province is bent on improving its infrastructure for border trade with Russia and more input will be pumped into the efforts in the years ahead, said a provincial official in charge of development planning.

"Along with improvement of the infrastructure, Heilongjiang will be turned into a hub for Chinese firms to enter the market inRussia," Zhu Shengtian, chief of transport and energy with the Provincial Development Planning Commission, said earlier this week.

According to the official, more than 170 million yuan (about US$20.48 million) has been raised for building its border trade infrastructure so far this year.

In the first 10 months of the year, the border trade between Heilongjiang and Russia stood at US$1.924 billion, up 42.5 percent from the same period last year and accounting for 53.8 percent of the province's entire foreign trade and about one fifth of the national total trade with Russia.

Ten projects, including trading centers, export processing zones, transport and telecom facilities, and works for customs checkups of passengers and cargo have broken ground.

Heilongjiang province has a total of 25 outlets which are authorized by the Chinese government to handle overseas cargo and foreign passengers. The infrastructure of these outlets is currently either outdated or inadequate to meet the needs from a rising trade with Russia.

It is estimated that by 2005, the number of foreign passengers going through these outlets will rise by 50 percent over the level of 2000.

With more money being spent on improving the border trade infrastructure, border outlets in Heilongjiang will be able to handle 12 million tons of cargo and the capacity for storage will amount to 2 million tons.

Tianjin Invests 180 billion yuan in River Project

Tianjin, a northern Chinese port city southeast of Beijing, Wednesday invited bidding on designs for its massive 180 billion yuan (US$21.7 billion) projectto develop the areas along the Haihe River that flows through the city.

Prestigious domestic and foreign design institutions, including those from the United States, France and Australia, showed strong interest in the project at Wednesday's press conference sponsored by the municipal government.

The initial phase includes the building of a cross-river bridge, six shopping areas and business and aquatic sports facilities, according to Huo Bing, chief engineer with the Tianjin Bureau of Planning and Land Resources.

Designs submitted by the institutions will be reviewed by a committee of experts, government officials and deputies of investors.

Tianjin plans to develop the river area into a multi-functional zone with integrated capabilities in flood control, navigation, tourism and entertainment within three to five years.

Jiangsu's GDP to Exceed 1 trillion yuan Mark

The gross domestic product (GDP) of east China's Jiangsu Province is expected to exceed 1 trillion yuan (about US$120.5 billion) this year.

Liang Baohua, acting governor of Jiangsu, said Wednesday at the on-going provincial economic work meeting that all of the province's economic indices have reached the highest level in recent years and that its GDP will reach a record high this year.

Liang said that during the year, the provincial government had taken an active part in expanding domestic demand. The demand of investment and consumption had seen marked respective increases.

It is expected that the province's fixed asset investments will reach 384.8 billion yuan this year, up 16.5 percent from the previous year.

Foreign trade continues to grow rapidly. The total trade volume of the province exceeded US$69 billion this year.

During the period, the province attracted 10 billion US dollars in foreign direct investment, a figure representing a 70 percent increase over the previous year and accounting for nearly 20 percent of the country's total FDI.

The province's private sector developed well during the year. As of the end of November, a total of 284,000 private enterprises had registered in the province, more than in any other province in the country.

Nearly 390,000 lay-offs in the province have been re-employed, bringing its re-employment rate up to 60 percent this year.

(Edited by china.org.cn December 19, 2002)

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