Future plans set to build on the successes and reform measures implemented
The past five years marks a milestone in the development of Shanxi province with an extraordinary performance in many aspects, Jin Xiangjun, then acting governor of the province, told delegates to the recent session of the Shanxi Provincial People's Congress.
The annual conference of Shanxi's legislative body ran from Jan 12 to 16. Jin made the remarks in the government work report addressed at the opening day of this year's session. He was elected as the governor of Shanxi on Jan 16.
In his government work report, Jin summarized the achievements that Shanxi had made over the past five years and released the government's plan for the next five years and especially for this year.
Highlighting high-quality development and sticking to the principle of achieving growth in a proactive and cautious manner, Jin said Shanxi had implemented a new development model, deepened supply-side reform and carried out effective measures to drive domestic demands during the past five years.
As a result, Shanxi has seen sustained economic growth both in quantity and quality. Its GDP maintained an average annual increase of about 6 percent and its 2022 GDP ranked 20th among all the provincial-level regions in China, with per capita GDP surpassing 70,000 yuan ($10,353) in 2022.
The work report said that Shanxi had accelerated its pace in industrial transformation over the past five years, which highlights the upgrading of traditional industries and the cultivation of emerging sectors as new growth areas.
The report said that the strategic emerging industries and high-tech industries had maintained an average annual increase of 11.6 percent and 11.7 percent respectively over the past five years. The service industry reported a combined added value of more than 1 trillion yuan last year, while the digital economy surpassed 500 billion yuan.
As a result of developing three landmark tourist routes along the Yellow River, the Great Wall and the Taihang Mountains, the tourism industry has been a rapidly growing sector for Shanxi. The province is now home to 10 5A — the nation's highest-ranking — tourist destinations.
The report said the province's 93 development zones are major contributors to Shanxi's growth. The zones, accounting for 1.86 percent of Shanxi's land area, generated 31 percent of the province's GDP over the past five years.
Shanxi has also been promoting an energy revolution campaign to upgrade its coal mining industries and step up the development of clean and renewable energy resources.
By the end of 2022, 80 percent of Shanxi's coal output was produced at coal mines with advanced, more efficient and cleaner production facilities. Shanxi produced 1.3 billion metric tons of coal last year, ranking first in China and playing a vital role in ensuring national energy security.
With a focus on balanced development between the urban and rural areas and increasing investments in agricultural and rural infrastructure, Shanxi has seen breakthroughs in both poverty alleviation and rural vitalization over the past five years.
Shanxi announced the elimination of absolute poverty in 2021, which encompassed 58 counties and 3.29 million residents.
In 2022, Shanxi's total grain output and per-unit grain output both set records.
The work report said that Shanxi's sustained development also featured continuous improvement in the ecological environment over the past five years. As a result of unrelenting efforts in combating pollution, Shanxi saw 74.5 percent of the days in 2022 achieving good or excellent air quality. There has been steady improvement in water quality in its major rivers and lakes.
The government work report also set the goals for Shanxi's development in the following years. It said Shanxi will basically fulfill its mission in industrial transformation in 2030, freeing itself from the reliance on traditional energy development like coal mining. It is expected to realize Socialist modernization in 2035, together with the rest of the country.
To fulfill these goals, Shanxi will have a raft of tasks on its agenda for the next five years.
In the area of agricultural development, Shanxi will focus on the improvement of farmland and adding irrigation facilities. It plans to transform 800,000 hectares of land into high-standard farmland in the next five years. This initiative is expected to push Shanxi's annual grain output to 15 million tons in five years.
In the field of transport, Shanxi will build two major high-speed railways to link Xinzhou with Xiong'an in Hebei province and connect Taiyuan with Suide in Shaanxi province. The construction of expressways will continue in the province, making it possible for every county in Shanxi to gain access to expressways.
Other major transport facilities for the next five years will include the third phase of Taiyuan Airport, the No 1 Subway Line in Taiyuan and the completion of three major sightseeing roads along the Yellow River, the Great Wall and the Taihang Mountains.
In the education sector, Shanxi hopes to have two or three first-class higher-learning institutions and three to five first-class disciplines in the next five years. The government work report said there should be at least one high-quality senior high school in each county, county-level city or district.
To drive development with innovation, the province expects to have 15 national-level laboratories or innovation platforms in the next five years.
The government report said that efforts will continue to improve Shanxi's ecological environment by curbing the pollution of air and water. It expects all the sections of the Fenhe River, the second-largest river in Shanxi, will have good or excellent water quality within the five years.
The work report said there will also be plans to bolster the public health service and build more cultural facilities for residents.
The work report also set the targets for this year, which include a year-on-year GDP increase of 6 percent, and similar growth rates for the per capita disposable income of urban residents and a relatively higher increase for the per capita income of rural residents. It expects to control urban residents' unemployment rate at about 5.5 percent and inflation rate at roughly 3 percent.