Beijing’s Extraordinary Socio-economic Development
As the capital city of China, Beijing has promoted a series of structural reforms and opened itself up to the outside world, thereby achieving remarkable socio- economic development over the past four decades.
As the capital city of China, Beijing has been at the forefront of the country's reform and opening-up programme. It has unswervingly promoted a series of structural reforms and opened itself up to the outside world, thereby achieving remarkable socio-economic development over the past four decades.
On December 21, 2018, the Information Office of the People's Government of Beijing Municipality and Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform held a press conference discussing socio-economic development in the municipality. This was one in a series of news conferences themed “taking the path of reform and bravely advancing in the new era,” and part of the city's 40th anniversary celebration of China's reform and opening-up.
Leading from the Front
Over the past 40 years, under the correct leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council, the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee and the People's Government of Beijing Municipality have continuously deepened reform and expanded openingup, realised great socio-economic development, and laid a solid foundation for the construction of a world-class, harmonious and liveable capital. These improvements are mainly reflected in the following aspects:
Beijing's overall economic strength has been significantly improved and its economic structure has been continuously
optimised. Over the past four decades, the municipality has persisted in taking development as its priority, determinedly promoted reform, spared no effort in expanding opening-up, moved into a stage of rapid development and enhanced its overall economic strength to record levels. In 2017, Beijing's gross domestic product (GDP) exceeded 2.8 trillion yuan, having doubled every five years on average over the past 40 years, with an average actual growth rate of 10 percent per year. Over the same period, the proportion of the capital's economic aggregate in China rose from 2.9 percent to 3.4 percent. In 2017, Beijing's per capita GDP reached US$19,100, marking an annual average growth rate of 7.4 percent, matching the level of wealthy nations/ regions around the world. Economic growth has also contributed to an increase in fiscal revenue. In 2017, Beijing's fiscal revenue reached 543 billion yuan, equivalent to a greater-than hundred-fold increase over the past 40 years. Reform and opening-up has given rise to continued optimisation of the economic structure as well as more intensive and efficient development patterns. Scientific and technological innovation has become the main driving force in the capital's economic development, with a contribution rate of more than 60 percent.
Reform of Beijing's economic system has been deepened and its modern market system has been improved. Over the past 40 years, the capital has consolidated and developed the public-owned economy and continuously enhanced the vitality, controlling force and influence of the Stateowned economy. In addition, Beijing has encouraged, supported and guided the development of non-public sectors of the economy, allowing these sectors to continue growing. In 2017, the total assets of State-owned enterprises based in Beijing reached 6.4 trillion yuan. During the first three quarters of 2018, above-designatedsize non-public entities in the municipality reached a total operating income of 4.51354 trillion yuan (year-on-year increase of 7.3 percent) and profits of 455.28 billion yuan (year-on-year increase of 8.5 percent). More than 1.7 million business owners and nearly 10 million workers engaged in Beijing's private and individual economy, accounting for more than 80 percent of the capital's total. The municipality's modern market system has been gradually improved, and the decisive role of its market mechanisms in commodity exchange and resource allocation has been steadily established. A mature commodity circulation system has been formed in Beijing, the city's labour and talent system has been improved, and its capital market system has gradually matured. As of October 2018, Beijing was home to a total of 315 listed companies, accounting for 8.8 percent of China's total; and 475 new over-the-counter (OTC) companies, accounting for 13.5 percent. Beijing has taken the lead in establishing a technology market in China and developed into the country's largest collection and distribution centre for technological commodities and information.
The municipality has accelerated the transformation of government functions and continued optimising its business environment. In recent years, it has deepened reforms to “streamline administration and delegate power, combine the delegation of power with regulation, and improve services,” allowed market-oriented mechanisms to take root, and popularised the concept of a service-oriented government with the public. The capital has compiled a unified and standardised list of powers, and simplified municipality-level examination and approval services by 51.2 percent. It has continued abolishing and delegating examination and approval powers, and simplified over 1,000 administrative examination and approval items in two batches, representing 68 percent of the total. It has changed or eliminated more than 200 kinds of certificates, and promised that no department will be able to add more at random. The capital has simplified its investment approval process, decreasing the number of investment project approval links from over 80 to 40–50, and reduced approval time from more than 300 workdays to an average of 109 workdays. Approval shall now be cancelled and converted into filing when there is sufficient market competition. Now, enterprises are able to make independent decisions and effective regulation can be realised through economic and legal means.
Beijing has transformed its urban development and rendered its capitalfunctions more prominent. Since the beginning of reform and opening-up, and especially since General Secretary Xi Jinping's two inspection visits of Beijing, the capital has defined its strategic orientation as China's hub for political, cultural, international communication, and scientific and technological innovation. It has also separated its capital functions from its urban functions, grasped the dialectical relationship between “removing” and “obtaining,” expedited the transformation of urban development concepts and modes, and taken a new path of sound development. With the removal of the city's non-capital functions as its key task, Beijing has completed a number of consensusbased, accurate and effective projects to remove functions not related to the city's role as the capital. The capital has prioritised investment in infrastructure, ecological environment, public services and other fields; continuously improved its basic urban functions; continuously upgraded ecological functions; and served and guaranteed urban operations and the livelihood of its residents. Over the past 40 years, investment in Beijing's urban infrastructure has risen over 500-fold, the urban road network has expanded from the Third to Seventh Ring Roads, the total length of public bus routes has increased by 13.7 times, the length of rail-based transit operations has increased by 25 times, and the per capita green area of parks has tripled. By increasing the