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January 17, 2011

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Mayor outlines a vision of bigger, stronger city

Shanghai will keep prices stable, make preparations for the introduction of a property tax, speed up economic transformation and further open up in 2011 in its aim to grow bigger and stronger with residents enjoying better lives, Mayor Han Zheng said yesterday.

Addressing the annual session of the Shanghai People's Congress, Han told SPC deputies that the city had set this year's growth target for gross domestic product at 8 percent, the same as 2010's. The drive is also in line with Shanghai's 12th Five Year Plan which targets an average economic growth of 8 percent each year to the end of 2015.

"After two decades of rapid growth, Shanghai can't wait to shift its economic development pattern as the model of relying on investment has already been worn out," Han said. "Better quality and higher efficiency are the key tasks for us in the 12th Five Year Plan."

Shanghai is building up a more dominant services industry to achieve the aim, he said. The services sector is expected to account for 65 percent of the city's economy by 2015, from 2010's 57 percent.

After hosting the World Expo and securing strong economic growth last year, the city was looking forward to achieving more this year, he said.

Shanghai will endeavor to expand its financial markets, attract solid overseas companies to issue bonds or get listed, build up its over-the-counter equities market and prepare for the introduction of an insurance exchange.

As for the people's well-being, Han said the government will focus on solving issues related to prices, employment, social insurance and housing.

"We'll further strengthen measures to curb inflation to make prices stable," he said.

In housing, the city will go all out to expand the supply of affordable housing in building up a multi-layer home market.

"We will be prepared for the housing tax trial to curb speculation," Han said. He underscored that housing for living, for local residents, and for non-luxury use should be the mainstream.

The city plans to build 15 million square meters of affordable homes this year, including low-rental and budget homes. Last year it built 13 million square meters of such homes, more than planned, for people on low incomes.

Among other proposals by the city government is fiscal revenue on a par with economic growth, an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent, and environmental protection investment equivalent to 3 percent of the city's total gross domestic product, Han said.

Also attending the session were 36 resident representatives invited by the SPC.

The city is making its governance more transparent this year.

A better city administration is also targeted. The city will strictly regulate administrative fees to cut the burden on residents and business.

The city will publicize its fiscal spending, and the whereabouts of local government bonds and other non-tax income. This year, the city will also publish the auditing report on the operating capital of the World Expo.

Shanghai's 2011 goals

? Annual GDP growth of around 8 percent

? Registered unemployment rate within 4.5 percent

? Investment in environmental protection 3 percent of GDP

? 15 million square meters of affordable housing

? Access to 100Mbps broadband for 3 million households

2010 achievements

? Annual GDP growth of 10 percent

? Annual foreign trade volume of US$180.8 billion

? Average household disposable income of 31,838 yuan (US$4,833)

? Metro network coverage of 452.6 kilometers

? Direct foreign investment of US$11 billion


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