City achieves overall growth despite pandemic

Huang Yixuan
Shanghai's economy maintained overall growth in 2020 despite the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, with emerging industries developing as an important driving force.
Huang Yixuan

Shanghai's economy maintained overall growth in 2020 despite the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, with emerging industries developing as an important driving force, according to the city's Report on the Work of the Government released on Sunday.

"Over the past year, confronted with the severe impact of deep recession in the world economy and the COVID-19 epidemic, we have grasped the nettle and made all-out efforts to bolster the economy with most practical measures," Shanghai Mayor Gong Zheng told the Fifth Session of the 15th Shanghai People’s Congress that opened on Sunday.

Shanghai has bitten the bullet after the 6.7 percent slump in the city's gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2020, and at the end achieved an overall 1.7 percent growth for the full year.

Revenue from the local general public budget dipped 1.7 percent amid larger tax cuts and fee reductions. The surveyed urban unemployment rate was stabilized below 4.4 percent, and consumer prices rose 1.7 percent.

New momentum for economic development continued to be unleashed. Industrial strategic emerging industries contributed 40 percent of the overall output value of industrial enterprises above the designated size.

Gong also highlighted the booming digital economy, with  revenue in software and information services sectors jumping more than 12 percent, while the output of new-generation information technologies rose 6.2 percent. On average, the city saw 1,665 new enterprises being set up per day, an increase of 12.8 percent.

In the face of the shock of the pandemic, the city adhered to ensuring stability on six fronts and securities in six areas.

It actively supported enterprises to resume production and operations, launching a series of policies and measures to combat the epidemic, benefit businesses, stabilize employment and accelerate recovery.

The measures led to an overall value of new tax cuts and fee reductions exceeding 230 billion yuan. Also, 570,000 new jobs were created.

Meanwhile, to expand domestic demand and stabilize foreign demand, a series of policies were formulated and quickly put into practice. These included measures for expanding investment, new infrastructure construction, promoting consumption, stabilizing foreign trade, utilizing foreign capital, and promoting steady and healthy development of small and medium-sized enterprises.

"The year 2020 marks the end of the 13th Five-Year Plan," Gong said. "We have achieved the major goals and tasks set out in the plan, and are now on the verge of victory in building a higher level of moderately prosperous society in an all-round way, with the city’s capacity and core competitiveness having leapt to a new stage.

Looking back on the past five years, with the deepening of high-quality development and the formation of an industrial structure dominated by the service economy, the city’s GDP rose from 2.69 trillion yuan to 3.87 trillion yuan, with a per capita GDP exceeding US$23,000.

The number of patents for inventions per 10,000 people increased from 28.9 to 60.2, and  intellectual property protection was improved significantly.

A number of hardcore industries, including integrated circuits, biomedicine, artificial intelligence, new energy vehicles, high-end equipment and advanced materials, grew rapidly. 

"It was also the five years when reform and opening up was promoted at a notably quicker pace," Gong said.

Shanghai is now home to 771 regional headquarters and 481 research and development centers of foreign enterprises,  236 and 85 more than  five years ago, indicating that the city has become one of the most important centers for the global economy.

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