Starting in May, the State Council Information Office has been organizing news conferences for each province, autonomous region and municipality to give briefings about their social and economic development since the founding of New China 70 years ago.
During the Hunan session on July 25 in Beijing, Du Jiahao, Party chief of Hunan province, and Xu Dazhe, the provincial governor, spoke about the overall development of the province.
Hunan's GDP increased from 2.78 billion yuan ($395 million) in 1952 to 3.64 trillion yuan in 2018, an average annual growth rate of 8 percent from 1953 to 2018, ranking eighth in the country for the first time in 2018. Hunan's per capita GDP rose from 86 yuan in 1952 to 52,900 yuan in 2018. The total industrial added value for 2018 was 1.19 trillion yuan, 1,885 times that of 1952. The province is now home to three 1-trillion-yuan industries, 11 100-billion-yuan industries, and 20 emerging advantageous industrial chains.
Hunan has taken efforts to upgrade its agricultural modernization, and the outputs of rice, pork and aquatic animal products has ranked among the best in the country for years. The modern service sector in Hunan also witnessed a boom. Changsha, the capital city, became the first Chinese city to be recognized as a UNESCO Creative City in media arts in 2017, and Zhangjiajie, a popular tourist destination, has a strong reputation worldwide.
Over the past 70 years, Hunan's technological innovation and opening-up have taken giant strides forward. A wide range of world-leading scientific and technological achievements have been made in the province, including the development of super high-yield hybrid-rice, super computers, superfast trains, and medium-speed maglev train systems. Hunan has won 27 national science and technology awards, accounting for a tenth of the country's total. The Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan National Independent Innovation Demonstration Area, and the Xiangjiang New Area have shown great vitality.
Hunan has established economic and trade ties with more than 200 countries and regions, and over one-third of Fortune Global 500 enterprises have invested in the province. The China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo, which was held in Changsha from June 27 to 29, showcased the achievements and opportunities in China-Africa economic and trade collaborations.
The number of impoverished people in rural areas dropped from 44.58 million in 1978 to 830,000 in 2018. Hunan also sped up the integration of urban and rural development, with its urbanization rate rising from 7.9 percent in 1949 to 56.02 percent in 2018.
New Hunan in the Rise of Central China
Hunan, a manufacturing province, aims to promote the high-quality development of its manufacturing sector. The province is home to a wide range of well-known manufacturing enterprises, including engineering machinery, rail traffic and aerospace. In the future, Hunan will upgrade and transform its traditional industries on the basis of the existing manufacturing industry, with the aim of accelerating the informatization, digitization and intellectualization of the sector. At the same time, it will put emphasis on the development of emerging industries such as electronic information, high-end equipment and new materials, in order to make Hunan a highland for the high-quality development of manufacturing in Central China.
Hunan will also advance supply-side structural reform to promote the replacement of old growth drivers with new ones, improve the market economy and optimize the business environment. In recent years, Hunan has closed 462 coal mines, 3,734 unqualified enterprises, 1,180 fireworks and firecracker producers.
Blessed with abundant scientific and technological talents, and educational resources, Hunan will join forces to forge a new "highland" for talents in Central China, aiming to provide support for innovative development.
Pushing forward construction of the Yangtze River Economic Belt
Lying in the transitional zone between the country's eastern coastal areas and the midwest regions, and the junction of the Yangtze River Economic Belt and the Coastal Open Economic Zone, Hunan province enjoys an advantageous geographical position connecting the east and west, and linking the north and south of the country.
With the Beijing-Shanghai and Shanghai-Kunming high-speed railways meeting in Changsha, and the Chongqing-Changsha-Xiamen High-speed Railway passing through the province, Hunan's location advantages play a prominent role. The length of high-speed railway lines has reached 1,730 kilometers, and that of expressways is now 6,725 km, both of which rank fourth in the country. Such a modern and comprehensive transport system provides convenience and greater efficiency for the province's development.
Hunan will promote the integrated development of the Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan City Cluster, and the high-quality development of the Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan National Independent Innovation Demonstration Area, in order to foster innovative brands and enhance the functions of urban agglomeration. To upgrade its industrial chain and value chain to high levels, Hunan will bring in enterprises from the innovation and advanced manufacturing sectors, and develop leading enterprises.
Following the principles of "Ecology first, and green development", Hunan will set up the Green Development Demonstration Zone of the Yangtze River Economic Belt. Relying on the Yangtze River – the "golden waterway of China" – the province will carry out a number of transport infrastructure projects to establish a three-dimensional transport corridor connecting border provinces and cities to promote infrastructure connectivity and achieve substantive results.
Environmental protection and pollution control
Since 2013, Hunan has taken strict measures to protect Xiangjiang River, known as the "mother river" of Hunan, and launched a three-year action plan (2018-20) for pollution prevention and control to safeguard blue sky, Dongting Lake and Xiangjiang River. Of the whole basin of the river, 98.7 percent was found to have fairly good water quality–at grade I to grade III in China's five-tier water quality system, 10.5 percentage points higher than that of 2012.
Moreover, the province has devoted greater efforts to protect the riverbank of the Yangtze River. A series of in-depth rectification projects on illegal sand excavation, chemical industrial pollution and illegal pollution discharges was made to build a clean and beautiful Yangtze River.