Zaozhuang makes great strides towards prosperity
Zaozhuang in East China's Shandong province has made significant achievements over the past six decades and is looking to achieve higher goals over the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period, the city's government officials said at a news conference held by the Information Office of Shandong Provincial People's Government on Sept 8.
According to Chen Ping, Party secretary of Zaozhuang, the city's GDP reached 173.3 billion yuan ($26.83 biliion) in 2020, 690 times that of 1961, the year when the city was established.
Zaozhuang's industrial structure has been greatly improved, with the output of its secondary and tertiary industries accounting for 40.6 and 49.8 percent respectively of the total. Diverse modern sectors, such as high-end equipment, new materials, new energy, and information technology, have become pillars in the city.
The annual per capita disposable income of urban and rural residents in Zaozhuang reached 35,098 and 17,690 yuan respectively, with residents having an average life expectancy of 76.6 years, said Chen, adding that a total of 498 beautiful demonstration villages have been built.
Healthcare services and educational conditions are also improving. By the end of 2020, Zaozhuang had 2,745 medical institutions, with more than 24,000 beds and 29,000 staff members. It is also home to 18 occupational middle schools, 25 high schools, 109 middle schools, 586 primary schools, 772 kindergartens, and six special schools.
Zaozhuang's aims for the next five years and a series of measures were announced at the news conference. It will focus on developing its lithium battery industry to accelerate the building of a green city. Its national lithium battery quality supervision and inspection center has been acknowledged by the International Electrotechnical Commission as a certified laboratory.
The city also plans to build several high-level platforms, like the Yangtze River Delta region high-end manufacturing base, to bring in businesses and projects. During the first eight months of the year, 632 new projects worth more than 100 million yuan have been initiated, nearly half of which have started construction.
Zaozhuang will continue to deepen its financial reform and introduce measures to support the high-quality development of the finance sector. The 2021 China Capital Empowerment Conference was held in Zaozhuang this June.
In addition, more efforts will be made to expand the city's opening up. Zaozhuang's foreign trade from January to July surged 45.3 percent year-on-year, while its actual use of foreign direct investment increased 84.4 percent year-on-year.