GUANGZHOU, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- A local official in Guangdong Province said Friday that 2,452 manufacturing companies had closed or suspended production last year in the southern part of the province because of the world economic and financial downturn.
Among the closed companies, 96 percent were small or medium-sized, said Liang Yaowen, head of the Guangdong Provincial Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation.
"Manufacturing is an important part of Guangdong's economy," he said.
Guangdong still has more than 70,000 registered factories, whose export and import trade exceeded 417 billion U.S. dollars last year.
As of 2008, these companies employed 61 million people, he added.
Guangdong has pledged to lower the company contributions for social insurance premiums by 15 billion yuan (2.2 billion U.S. dollars) this year to save jobs.