BEIJING, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Like her peers in the city, the 11-year-old daughter of Chen Haipeng, a woman from central China's Henan Province, finally has her own room.
Chen, 33, left a dark and narrow bungalow in the countryside of the city of Luoyang last August and moved into a 130-square-meter apartment with three bedrooms with the help of a government-initiated urbanization program.
Under the program, 14,000 people from five villages in the town of Koudian will be relocated by the end of 2014 to a brand-new community with sound facilities, including schools, supermarkets, clinics, a culture center and a nursing home.
Currently, a total of 260 families have moved into 24 blocks of six-story buildings.
Cable TV, Internet access and hygienic bathrooms, which many of the villagers believed to be a privilege enjoyed only by city dwellers, have become part of the villagers' lives.
Relocating rural residents will save land and improve their life quality, said Ren Baojun, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) committee of Koudian.
The saved land will be used for industrial development or farming. The total amount of arable land will be increased to guarantee food safety, he said.
The construction of the community will cost 615 million yuan (97.5 million U.S. dollars). The funding will mainly come from the sale and lease of the saved land and government subsidies, Ren said.
Unlike her old house, which she only had the right to use and not to sell, Chen owns her new department and can trade it on the market if she so desires.
Chen's experience epitomizes China's rapid urbanization process. As a traditional agricultural country, China has witnessed a large-scale population immigration from the countryside to the cities.
Chen's home province of Henan has a vast population and limited land resources have stunted its economic development. The provincial government has subsequently looked for new urbanization methods, such as improving employment and life quality for rural residents.
In order to support his family, Chen's husband had worked in the city of Suzhou in east China's Jiangsu Province since 2003 as an electrician.
However, when the local government in Koudian introduced new electronics and furniture manufacturing companies at a new industrial park near his hometown, he elected to come back.
He now works at an electronics company and has a monthly salary of 5,000 yuan, almost the same as his previous salary in Suzhou. Chen found herself a factory job with a monthly salary of 2,000 yuan at the same company.
The farmland Chen left behind has been leased to a large grain planter who pays her an amount of rent nearly equivalent to the money she would make if she grew and sold crops on the land herself.
Urbanization will be key to China's sustained growth in the future, as it can prompt investment and consumption, especially at a time when China's economy shas shown signs of slowing.
Data released last week by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that China's economic growth slowed to an annual rate of 7.4 percent in the third quarter, the lowest growth rate since 2009.
China's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) calls for the government to implement a strategy of simultaneous industrialization, urbanization and rural modernization.
Increasing the urban population and reducing the widening gap between cities and rural areas is crucial for China to continue its economic growth.
Over the past 30-plus years since reform and opening-up, China's urbanization rate has risen from 17.9 percent to today's 51.3 percent, said Premier Wen Jiabao at the Summer Davos Forum in September.
By the end of 2011, about 691 million people were living in cities, according to the NBS.
Although China's urbanization rate is over 50 percent, it is still lower than the average level of 60 percent in emerging nations and 80 percent in developed countries.
China's economic growth cannot rely heavily on the international market in light of the sluggish world economy. Urbanization is expected to become a major engine for China's future development, said Li Yang, deputy head of the Chinese Academy of Social Science.
However, urbanization also has its problems, such as urban sprawl, the constant construction of industrial parks and environmental pollution.
Rural residents who want to integrate after moving to cities face many difficulties in employment, social security and housing.
Premier Wen said urbanization is still incomplete because many farmers living in urban areas have yet to enjoy equal treatment. Their problems in employment, social security, education, housing and medical care must be tackled, he said.