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China Daily Updated: 2024-02-01

Yantian in Dongguan, a manufacturing and trade mecca in Guangdong province, has become the first village in the city to surpass 10 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) in economic output, according to a government work report.

By the end of 2023, total assets of Yantian and its lower-level units reached 10.26 billion yuan, with an average per capita dividend for local villagers exceeding 47,000 yuan, said the report, which was delivered on Wednesday by Lyu Chengxi, mayor of Dongguan, to the annual session of the local people's congress.

The village, located at the southeastern end of Dongguan and bordering Shenzhen, Guangdong, covers a total area of 24 square kilometers, with a permanent population of about 150,000.

Industrial development, spurred by the introduction of key projects, has played an essential role in promoting Yantian's economy, said Deng Zerong, Party chief of the village.

"By leveraging the creation of a modern industry park as a catalyst, we have been promoting village-enterprise cooperation, facilitating the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries for sustained growth in the collective economy of village-level units," said Deng.

In recent years, Dongguan has actively nurtured strategic emerging industries, attracting leading enterprises to settle in the city. Major projects such as a smart-tech zone by e-commerce giant JD and a digital center have been introduced to Yantian, helping greatly accelerate the formation of new productive forces.

Yantian's performance in promoting industrial development represents the realization of a project targeting high-quality rural development of 10,000 villages from 1,000 townships in 100 counties, which was initiated by the Guangdong government in late 2022.

"By transforming collectively owned land into State-owned land, Yantian has attracted and aggregated high-quality industrial resources and innovative elements," said Deng.

The village has established an industrial platform with 3 million square meters for emerging industries, helping gather 4,572 enterprises, Deng added.

Currently, the village has developed various properties totaling 705,000 sq m, generating an annual rental income of approximately 160 million yuan. With 700 million yuan in trust and financial products, the village receives annual dividends of 90 million yuan, ensuring that local villagers benefit from rural industrial development.

"Yantian's output value of over 10 billion yuan further strengthened our confidence in doing business in the village. We have reached an agreement with the village committee to increase our investment and expand production," said Liu Ren, general manager of Dongguan Dailywin Watch Group.

The watch company, which has been rooted in Yantian for 30 years, developed into a publicly listed enterprise primarily engaged in the manufacture and sale of high-quality timepieces.

Liu Yiqiang, a professor at the School of International Relations at Guangzhou-based Jinan University, said the core driving force behind the 10 billion-yuan villages lies in industrial development and upgrading.

"Villages aiming to join the 10 billion-yuan club should first identify their own leading industries and key directions, breaking through to ascend toward higher industrial value chains," said Liu, who has been engaged in the study of rural vitalization across the country for years.

With nearly 600 villages and residential communities, Dongguan has gradually transformed from an agricultural base to a manufacturing and trade hub since the 1980s, when a growing number of processing industries were first introduced to the city.

The city, with collective rural assets accounting for about one-third of the total in Guangdong, currently has 45 villages with assets exceeding 100 million yuan for each.

"The robust industrial development in villages contributed significantly to Dongguan's overall economic development," said Liu.

According to local statistics authorities, Dongguan's GDP grew 2.6 percent year-on-year to 1.14 trillion yuan in 2023, with 313,000 new business entities springing up in the city.

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