The government has approved a plan to rejuvenate the economy of northeast China by 2015.
The northeastern region, once a leading industrial hub, will be built into an internationally competitive base for equipment manufacturing, raw materials and energy supplies, according to a statement from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planning body.
Angang Steel Co Ltd, a State-owned steelmaker, is located in Anshan City, Liaoning Province. [File photo]
The region, which includes the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning, will also be built into an important base for agriculture and animal husbandry, according to the NDRC.
The government also aims to build the region into a key gateway between China and northeast Asia, the statement said.
Du Ying, NDRC vice minister, said that the country will further open up the coastal and border areas in the region, support cities including Dalian, Dandong, Heihe, Manzhouli, Hunchun, and Suifenhe in reaching a higher degree of openness, and deepen Sino-Russian regional cooperation.
As the earliest industrial hub in China, the northeast region once supplied the nation with machinery, energies, and farm produces.
However, economic development began taking a shift since the 1980s as the southern regions, including the advanced Guangdong Province and eastern coastal areas, were rapidly catching up and outran the northeast in economic vitality.
The northeast region is even called a "rusty industrial belt" because its products are not as competitive, and problems such as short-running energy resources and unemployment have become acute.
According to the NDRC, the central government will step up fiscal support for the northeast region during its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) period. Such fiscal arrangement is set to total 29.5 billion yuan (around 4.7 billion U.S. dollars) for the region in 2011 and 2012.
Further, the plan aims to raise the urbanization rate to 60 percent in the northeast by 2015, as compared to a current national average of around 50 percent; the tertiary industry will account for 40 percent of the local GDP.
Annual grain output in the country's largest grain producing base is also targeted to reach 126.4 million tonnes by 2015, compared to 107.75 million tonnes in 2011.
The government also aims to create 7.5 million new jobs in urban areas in the region and keep unemployment rate under five percent between 2011 and 2015;
During the period, a total of 3.1 million affordable housing units will be constructed to benefit the middle- and low-income people, while nine-year free compulsory education will be accessible to 98.5 percent of the students.