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A Fruitful Year in Retrospect

A prosperous year
Metro Mart, an emporium in downtown Suzhou, hit a record high on the Jan. 2, 2005 VIP shopping day with a sales revenue of 15 million yuan RMB, and the sales of deluxe goods in the whole year reached an inspiring amount of 800 million RMB. On Guanqian Street, where Metro is located, the stores accommodated over 100 million customer visits in the year 2005. Most noteworthy is the rise in the income of rural population. Statistical departments have listed the following sources of income for the peasants in Suzhou: labor, savings interest, redistribution from collective economy, rent of housing or other assets, investment, statutory subsidies, dividends from community undertakings, social security, and household businesses, etc.

Both urban and rural citizens are benefiting from the economic growth of Suzhou.

Suzhou Bureau of Statistics publicized a report on Jan. 9 that GDP of the whole municipality reached the total of 400 billion RMB, rising by 15.3%, and that the average GDP (registered citizens) amounts to 66,826 yuan RMB, the equivalent of over 8,000 USD. The local financial revenue hit 31.678 billion RMB, which it to say, a daily revenue of 87 million RMB.

According to Wang Rong, the municipal Party secretary, 005 is a year of breakthroughs in all fields of economy as the result of implementing development plans through scientific and technological advancement in an all-round way.

Industry breaks through 1,000 billion.
Suzhou has risen as a major industrial city in the province, which registered last year the historic total industrial output value of 1,210 billion yuan RMB, an annual increase of 26.6%. In the sustained industrial growth, the sales rate is as high as 98%, with a comprehensive industrial efficiency index of 168.96% and 20% increase of taxes and interest. Marked progress was made in economizing energy, shown in the fact that the ratio of industrial growth Vs power consumption dropped by 1.6%. New and high technologies are rising in prominence, as the pillar industries are taken up by telecommunications, computer manufacturing, electronics, and apparatus manufacturing. Another record high was hit by industrial investment, which amounted to 106.1 billion RMB in 2005, creating 300,000 jobs in the year.

Technological innovation takes the lead in development.
Scientific and technological progress is playing an ever-increasing role in the local economic development. Investment in R&D alone amounted to 6 billion RMB, an annual rise of 30% and comprising 1.5% of GDP. Technological projects, at the national, provincial, and municipal levels, numbered 525, an increase of 70%, and patent applications 6,000 and authorized patents 33,350, both rising by 20%. A civilian-run enterprise in SND, where 260 hi-tech enterprises are clustered, successfully developed the first 16-ton vibration experiment platform in the country, which broke the embargo imposed on China by USA, UK, and Japan and contributing to the successful launching of "Shengzhou No.6" manned spacecraft. In the Technological Park of SIP, the 30-odd enterprises of consigned software development exported a total value of over 30 million US dollars in 2005, making up 40% that of the province. In the meantime, efforts are being intensified in the cooperation among manufacturers, research institutions, and universities, in introducing talents and R&D setups, and in the industrialization of research and innovations. The process is gathering speed from "made in Suzhou" to "developed in Suzhou".

Service sector shows encouraging growth.
Encouraging growth in service sector is manifested in software, logistics, tourism, trade, and commerce. The added value from service sector stays in the first place in the whole province. A drastic increase of 35.7% was registered in the total import and export volume, exceeding 140 billion USD. The great production capacity and fast-growing import and export in Suzhou brought into being an expanding harbor, which handled over 100 million tons annually, rising as one of the ninth largest in China. Shipment exceeded 1 million containers. Suzhou Port has now become the most important import and export container port for minerals, coal, steels, timber, serials, and edible oils, and chemicals. In tourism, Suzhou Municipality and all the 5 county-level cities were elected excellent tourist cities in the country, and a series of new tour items were launched last year, including joyful peasant homes in Lake Tai Vacation Zone, the ancient town of Qiandeng in Kunshan, the TV and film base in Shajiabang of Changshu, the commercial and leisure tourist belt at Jinji Lake, SIP, Baimajian Ecological Park in SND, and 11 demonstration spots of industry and agriculture, etc. Last year, Suzhou was visited by 150 overseas tourists and 3,600 domestic tourists, ranking the first in Jiangsu Province.

Thriving commerce was seen in both the urban and rural areas. The total social commodities sales volume increased by 17.6%, reaching 82.136 billion yuan RMB. Shopping arcades sprang up one after another, and shopping malls are swarmed with customers. Wal Mart and Carrefour were successfully introduced into SIP, while Metro started business in SND on Jan. 6, 2006. An excellent situation is unfolding with interactive promotion of industries and services, and increase in both total economic volume and average income in a new stage of development.

Jan. 27, 2006

   
 
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