Wokers at a factory in the southwestern province of Sichuan, which is expected to join the ranks of provinces with GDP of 2 trillion yuan this year. (File Photo/Xinhua)
Local governments in China have published their yearly economic reports as the year draws to a close. The southern province of Guangdong is likely to be the first to report a GDP of 5 trillion yuan (US$793 billion), while more than two-thirds of provinces could see GDP figures of 1 trillion yuan (US$158 billion), according to the Chinese-language First Financial Daily.
According to official figures, as of the first three quarters of this year a total of five provinces hit a GDP of 2 trillion yuan (US$317 billion). The top three were Guangdong, Jiangsu and Shandong, with 3.69 trillion yuan (US$586 billion), 3.51 trillion (US$557 billion) yuan and 3.3 trillion yuan (US$524 billion), respectively.
The report said Guangdong is likely to reach 5 trillion yuan this year, while Shandong and two other provinces record over 4 trillion yuan (US$635.5 billion). The gap between Guangdong and the provinces of Jiangsu and Shandong has narrowed year-on-year.
Many experts told the newspaper that Guangdong will be surpassed by Jiangsu sooner or later because the southern province's income mainly depends on traditional and low added-value industry and trails in new emerging industries.
Besides the leading group of provinces, more and more regions are expected to join the "RMB1 trillion GDP" and "RMB2 trillion GDP" clubs. Sichuan and Liaoning are expected to join the latter group, joining Zhejiang, Henan and Hebei. The number of provinces and regions with GDP of 1 trillion yuan and above will also increase from 17 to 22. This means that two-thirds of the 31 provincial-level regions in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) will reach a GDP of one trillion yuan this year.
The expansion of this group reflects the rapid growth in China's less-developed central and western provinces. All of the newcomers have seen GDP growth of 12% this year.
Sheng Yi, vice director of the Sichuan Social Science Academy, told the newspaper that the central and western provinces still have space to grow compared with the decline in growth seen in the country's more developed coastal provinces, which have already reached a certain level of expansion.
"As long as the economy reaches a certain scale, we may have more capability to shift or combine industries, as well as integrating local resources," Sheng was quoted by the First Financial Daily as saying.