BEIJING, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Pearl River Delta,
the vanguard of China's economic reforms starting in 1978, will again take the
lead as the country deepens economic reform and opens wider to the world, the
country's top economic planner said Thursday.
Under a plan released by the National Development and
Reform Commission (NDRC), the delta -- together with the Hong Kong and Macao
Special Administrative Regions -- will become "a globally competitive" and "most
vigorous area in the Asia-Pacific region" by 2020.
Guangdong Province, the major component of the delta,
leads China's economy, with annual gross domestic product growth of 13.45
percent over the three decades since 1978. That is 3.5 percentage points higher
than the national average.
The regional economic output of Guangdong exceeded
that of Taiwan in 2007 for the first time, topping 3.06 trillion yuan
(448billion U.S. dollars) and comprising one-eighth of China's total.
It surpassed Singapore and Hong Kong, two Asian
economic powerhouses, in 1998 and 2003, respectively.
"The combined economic output of Guangdong, Hong Kong
and Macao makes it the fourth-largest economy in Asia after Japan, the Republic
of Korea and India," said NDRC vice-director Du Ying in his outlook for the
delta on Thursday.
The delta will further benefit from increasing
economic interactions with Hong Kong and Macao as well as its participation in
the developing China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, according to the NDRC plan.
There are many requirements to achieve the national
target set for the delta from 2008 to 2020. Following are the major challenges
for the region as enumerated in the NDRC plan.
-- The regional economy has been hit by falling
external demand amid the global financial crisis and overcapacity in some
-- Low value-added products and lack of innovation
have blunted the delta's competitive edge.
-- The deep-rooted, energy-intensive development mode
is raising concern over pollution and resource supplies.
-- Imbalances among rural, urban and regional
development levels must be corrected.
-- Social development has lagged economic
development. Improvement is needed in human resources development, public
services and culture.
-- Political administration and social management
reforms must deepen.