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Zhejiang’s GDP to top 12 trillion yuan in five years

The annual GDP of Zhejiang province is expected to top 12 trillion yuan ($1.79 trillion), and the per capita GDP will hit 170,000 yuan over the next five years, according to a top local official.

“By then, the per capita disposable income of Zhejiang’s residents will reach 85,000 yuan and the income gap between urban and rural residents will be reduced to a ratio less than 1.9:1. The province’s urbanization progress will continue, with the urbanization ratio reaching 76 percent five years later,” Yuan Jiajun, Party secretary of the CPC Zhejiang Provincial Committee, said in his report to the ongoing 15th CPC Zhejiang Provincial Congress on Monday.

Figures show that Zhejiang’s GDP reached over 7.35 trillion yuan last year, up 8.5 percent year-on-year, and its per capita GDP topped 113,000 yuan.

In 2021, the province’s urbanization rate was 72.7 percent and the ratio of disposable income between urban and rural residents in the province dropped from 1.96:1 in 2020 to 1.94:1, seeing a narrowing income gap between urban and rural residents over the past nine years.

The per capita disposable income for urban residents was 68,487 yuan, and that for rural residents was 35,247 yuan, ranking first over the past 21 years and 37 years respectively across the country.

“During the past five years, Zhejiang’s GDP has increased from 4.73 trillion yuan to 7.35 trillion yuan. To achieve the goal of 12 trillion yuan in the next five years, the pace of both the increase in the province’s financial revenue and that of economic growth should be accelerated,” said an article published by the CPC Zhejiang provincial committee on Monday.

The province is spearheading efforts toward achieving common prosperity, a popular phrase referring to a more equal distribution of wealth.

In 2021, Zhejiang was designated as a demonstration zone for common prosperity and the province will strive to achieve it by 2035, with its per capita GDP and the income of urban and rural residents reaching the standard for developed countries. The authorities in Zhejiang have taken a series of measures to achieve the goal.

While Zhejiang’s economy already rivals some economic powerhouses in the world, its per capita GDP still lags behind. For example, Switzerland, one of the richest countries in Europe, saw its GDP reach $812 billion in 2021, which is lower than that of Zhejiang, but its per capita GDP stood at $94,696, which is much higher, according to statistics from the International Monetary Fund.

“Common prosperity is the basic social status of social fairness. I think fairness means equal opportunity. This is why we need social security, including medical care, education and public housing, which aim to ensure equal opportunities for everyone,” said Zheng Yongnian, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and president of the Institute for International Affairs, Qianhai, in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

“Like its poverty alleviation efforts, China’s pursuing and ultimately achieving common prosperity will provide a ‘China approach’, as China’s success in common prosperity will be the first time that such a populous nation accomplishes the feat,” said Zheng.

Zhejiang will use multiple measures to build the economic powerhouse into a demonstration zone, in a bid to achieve high-quality economic development in the years ahead, promoting innovation-driven development, advancing digital reform, promoting the integration of urban and rural development, and creating prosperity in culture as well as spirit across the province, according to local authorities.

Fang Xiaoying contributed to this story.

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