Shanghai aims for 6.5% GDP growth

Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong said today at the annual session of the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress that GDP growth of 6.5 percent will be the target for this year.

Shanghai aims to expand its GDP by around 6.5 percent this year with priorities to deepen market reforms and enhance innovation, the city's mayor said at the first session of the 15th Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress, which opened today.

The year 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up, and is also a critical year for building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects, Mayor Ying Yong said as he delivered the Report on the Work of the Government.

“It is imperative for us to pursue excellence in development, adopt a need-based, problem-solving-oriented and results-driven approach, strengthen the role of innovation, focus on rule making, expand services and improve people’s quality of life,” Ying said.

In terms of economic targets, Ying said Shanghai will make further improvements in the quality and efficiency of development.

The target for this year is slightly lower than the 6.9 percent growth recorded last year that lifted the city’s GDP above the 3 trillion yuan (US$467 billion) mark for the first time.

He said revenue in the general public budget is targeted to increase at 7 percent, compared with last year’s 9.1 percent.

Research and development expenditure is expected to be kept at around 3.8 percent of the local GDP, and the government also plans to spend 3 percent of GDP in environmental protection.

The focus of this year’s work includes deepening reform and opening-up across the board, pressing ahead with the initiative of Shanghai as a science and technology innovation center, and furthering supply-side structural reform while upgrading the real economy, Ying said.

He pledged to turn the free trade zone (FTZ) into a "stress test area" for the open economy, and will explore the establishment of a free trade port on the strengths of the existing Yangshan Deep Water Port and Pudong International Airport.

Both opening-up and innovation policies will be integrated in new FTZ policies.

As part of efforts to promote opening-up, more concrete measures will be implemented to encourage regional headquarters of multinational corporations to move more of their global-scale operations such as trade, R&D and settlement to Shanghai.

The government aims to make the China International Import Expo, which is to be inaugurated in November this year, a world-class exhibition.

To promote innovation in greater concentration and visibility, Ying said efforts will be focused on development of the Zhangjiang Comprehensive National Science Center, enhancing support for the commercialization of scientific and technological achievements, and promoting the use of artificial intelligence in urban management.

Meanwhile, the government pledged to keep real estate policies consistent to curb rising home and land prices and cut fiscal reliance on the sector.

More efforts will be put into building a housing system that ensures supply from multiple sources, guarantees affordability from different channels, and encourages both rentals and home ownership.

The government will support professional and institutional letting agencies for the rental of homes, and put into market a total of 200,000 housing units for rent.

“We will insist that houses be built for living in, not for speculation,” Ying said.

Unemployment rate will be kept below 4.3 percent and Shanghai residents' average disposable income will grow at the same pace as GDP, Ying said.

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