China’s real economy has staged a recovery in recent months, with the latest regional economic indicators showing that high-tech and strategic emerging industries are fueling growth momentum in areas where the service industry largely rules.
Officials and experts said the development indicated that measures to shore up the real economy and exploit technologies to advance manufacturing have borne fruit.
In the first three quarters, Shanghai posted year-on-year GDP growth of 7 percent, primarily driven by gains in “quality” industrial output, said Mayor Ying Yong on the sidelines of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
The value added of the secondary industry rallied 8.1 percent year-on-year from January to September, outpacing that of the service sector, which expanded 6.6 percent, Ying said.
The city, which sees over two-thirds of its economic contribution coming from modern services, recorded a 9.4 percent jump in industrial output from January to September, 1.2 percentage points higher than the first six months of this year.
Among them, industrial enterprises generated profit of 207.4 billion yuan ($31.3 billion) from January to August, up 15.7 percent, data from the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Statistics showed.
“The results, the best-ever readings in years, are clear indications that our efforts to bolster the real economy have started to pay off, and that the industrial sector and the service sector are spurring better synergies,” Ying said.
Similar patterns were spotted in East China’s Zhejiang province, when the value added of the industrial sector jumped 8.3 percent in the first nine months, beating the 8.1 percent same-period GDP growth for the first time since 2014, said Che Jun, Party chief of Zhejiang.
“We are starting to see initial signs of improvement (in the real economy) as the integration of new and old growth engines continues to deepen.”
In his address to the 19th CPC National Congress, Xi Jinping called for more efforts to build China into a manufacturer of quality, and foster new areas of growth through further integration of the internet, big data, and artificial intelligence with the real economy.
In the latest instance, the city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang, known as the cradle for Chinese private businesses, has rolled out a string of favorable policies from financing to incubator building to encourage family-run businesses to stay committed to the real economy and adopt new technologies to revamp and upgrade their facilities, said Zhou Jiangyong, the city’s Party chief.
In a similar move, Shanghai introduced a 50-point circular in May that aims to build the financial hub into a “new highland” for strategic emerging industries, including high-end equipment manufacturing and new energy technologies, which the authorities hope would account for 35 percent of the city’s overall industrial output by 2022.
By channeling more private capital into mixed-ownership reform and streamlining corporate registration process, local authorities also pledged to groom an army of “hidden champions” in respective areas and pour resources into constructing the industrial internet.
For instance, ZPMC, the world’s largest port machinery manufacturer headquartered in Shanghai, is embracing internet of things technologies to centralize machinery data, deliver data insights in near-real-time reports, and provide global monitoring capabilities, according to its chairman Song Hailiang.
“Brick-and-mortar commerce, such as Intime Retail and Bailian Group, is set to revolutionize people’s shopping experience by teaming up with internet giants and using big data, AI, and virtual reality,” said Yang Yaqiong, senior analyst at Beijing-based internet consultancy Analysys.