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Shanghai to base growth on service industry
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The city's mayor said yesterday he expects the local economy to reach 2 trillion yuan ($277 billion) by 2012.


Mayor Han Zheng said in his work report that GDP in the financial hub grew by an estimated 12.6 percent to 1.2 trillion yuan last year.


By 2012, GDP per capita will be more than 100,000 yuan for Shanghai's permanent residents, he said.


The city has maintained double-digit annual GDP growth for the past 16 years, although the target for last year was just 9 percent. This year's target is 10 percent.


In his report, Han put forward goals to help realize "sound and rapid" economic growth in the "four centers" of international economics, finance, trade and shipping.


"One of the key tasks in the years to 2012 is to quicken the pace of developing an industrial structure, with the service sector at its core, and increase its global competitiveness," Han told deputies to the city's congress.


By 2012, Han said the service industry will be worth in excess of 1.1 trillion yuan and account for more than 80 percent of GDP in the city's central areas.


The service sector is estimated to have grown by 621 billion yuan last year, to account for more than half the city's total GDP.


Funding for research and development will be increased to 3 percent of GDP per year until 2012, Han said.


Deputies to the congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) welcomed yesterday's report, saying the city has made remarkable progress in social and economic areas since 2003.


Mao Zengdian, a professor at Shanghai Jiaotong University, said: "Mayor Han did not say much about the progress the city has already made in his report, but the achievement is really stunning."


Huge progress has been made in regard to the city's efforts to establish itself as an international shipping center and an air traffic hub, he said.


According to official figures, Shanghai is the world's second largest cargo center handling more than 26 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) a year.


Last year, the city's two airports handled 51.6 million passengers, up 110 percent on 2003, and 2.9 million tons of cargo, up 170 percent.


Zhang Jianzu, a deputy to the nation's CPPCC, said: "We have seen outstanding progress in Shanghai and in the national economy.


"But both the city and the country are facing pressure from skyrocketing property prices and high inflation."


But more measures will still have to be adopted to ensure migrant workers and people in rural areas share the fruits of economic growth, Zhang said.


(China Daily January 25, 2008)

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