China to build Zhejiang into demonstration zone for common prosperity
China's eastern Zhejiang Province is expected to make substantial progress in building a demonstration zone for common prosperity through high-quality development, according to a guideline released by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council on Thursday.
The guideline rolled out multiple measures to guide the province in setting an example for promoting common prosperity.
By 2025, Zhejiang should achieve solid progress in building the demonstration zone, with its per capita gross domestic product (GDP) reaching the level of moderately developed economies, while a social structure with a middle-income population as the majority should be generally developed by then, the guideline said.
And 10 years after that, the province will achieve greater success in high-quality development, achieving common prosperity on the whole, according to the guideline.
Promoting the common prosperity of all Chinese people is an arduous and long-term task that cannot be fully implemented in a short time. Thus, the urgent need is to select some areas with relatively sufficient conditions as a pilot, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in response to reporters' question on China's plans in Zhejiang.
Zhejiang's pioneering role
Building the demonstration zone in Zhejiang is conducive to promoting more coordination between urban and rural income distribution, boosting industrial development and optimizing public services, according to a research from Bank of China Research Institute.
As China is now the second-largest economy in the world, more attention should be paid to the coordination between urban and rural income growth and economic growth to narrow the income gap and strengthen middle-income groups. Zhejiang demonstration zone will broaden the income channels of urban and rural residents, and explore ways to increase the income of low-and middle-income groups, as well as improve the salary distribution policy for skilled talents, the research said.
Zhejiang has a developed economy, a strong sense of reform and innovation, and enjoys the foundation and advantages for the building of demonstration zones. The guideline said Zhejiang should build a coordinated advancement of industrial and consumption upgrading, to better meet people's diversified needs, which requires high-end, intelligent, and market-oriented development in the industry, and promote the vitality of labor, technology, state-owned and private capital and other factors, according to the research.
Why was Zhejiang selected?
Zhejiang Province has achieved obvious results in exploring and solving the problem of unbalanced and insufficient development; the fruits achieved through reforms there will provide experience for other parts of the country, China's state planner said.
Zhejiang is a comparatively wealthy province. Its residents' per capita disposable income stood at 52,400 yuan (about $8,199) in 2020, second only to Shanghai and Beijing.
The development there is also well-balanced as rural residents account for half of its total population, but the income differential between urban and rural residents is 1.96, much lower than the national 2.56.
All parts of Zhejiang generally show a relatively strong sense of reform and innovation, offering various advanced reform experiences such as quick and easy one-stop services. Despite all these services, the potential for further growth and prosperity remains strong in the province, for instance, in anti-monopoly management and preventing disorderly expansion of capital.
According to the NDRC, the problem-oriented guideline focuses on the weakest link hindering common prosperity and puts forward key measures to narrow the gap between urban and rural regional development and income distribution among different groups.