China's west gets impetus from high-tech
Transformation efforts bear fruit as region sees surge in industrial output
The industrial economy in China's western regions has registered speedy growth in the first quarter, with high-tech and emerging industries injecting fresh impetus into regional economic development amid uncertainties both at home and abroad, industry experts said.
The industrial output of Southwest China's Guizhou province increased 15.2 percent year-on-year in the first three months－8.7 percentage points higher than that of the nation, said the provincial bureau of statistics.
High-tech and emerging industries have seen remarkable growth, as output from new energy vehicle batteries and materials industry surged 44.9 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, 29.7 percentage points higher than that of overall industrial output in the province.
Meanwhile, output from the computing, telecommunications and other electronics equipment manufacturing sector in Guizhou surged 35.4 percent on a yearly basis.
During the January-March period, investment in high-tech industries surged 96.1 percent compared with the same period of the previous year. Among the total, investment in high-tech manufacturing and high-tech services industries increased 129.6 percent and 66.8 percent year-on-year, respectively.
In addition, industrial output in Sichuan province grew 8.1 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, with the output from electrical machinery and equipment manufacturing rising 39.3 percent year-on-year, according to local authorities.
"The western regions have ratcheted up efforts to build a modern industrial system and develop big data and cloud computing technologies, showcasing strong resilience and great potential in bolstering the development of high-tech and emerging industries," said Luo Zhongwei, a researcher at the Institute of Industrial Economics, which is part of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The government's decision to establish eight national computing hubs and 10 national data center clusters demonstrates that the country is taking steps to channel more computing resources from its eastern regions to less-developed but resource-rich western regions and the move will speed up digital transformation and upgrade industries in western regions, Luo added.
In January, China issued a guideline to support Guizhou in breaking new ground in the country's pursuit of fast development of its western regions in the new era. The guideline, released by the State Council, China's Cabinet, underscored the importance of promoting the construction of an inland open-economy pilot zone and developing the digital economy.
Guizhou has seen rapid development in its big data industry in recent years, with tech giants from home and abroad stepping up efforts to set up data centers in the province due to its cooler climate and ample power resources.
Chongqing has also witnessed its industrial output rise 8.5 percent on a yearly basis in the first three months. The output of emerging industries, such as photovoltaic cells, industrial robots and service robots, expanded 92.9 percent, 34.1 percent and 20.7 percent, respectively, higher than the overall first-quarter industrial output.
The western regions have abundant renewable energy and will become a key base for developing strategic emerging industries in the nation, said Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance, a telecom industry association, adding that compared with the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta areas, manpower costs are relatively low in western regions.
Xiang added that more efforts should be made to speed up some key industries including equipment manufacturing, new materials and new energy vehicles in western regions to promote the nation's high-quality economic development.
China's industrial economy maintained steady growth in the first quarter, with industrial output growing 6.5 percent year-on-year, 2.6 percentage points higher than that of the fourth quarter of last year, said the National Bureau of Statistics.