Open­ing-up has brought pros­per­ity to town­ship in Guang­dong

China Daily - - CHINA - By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Dong­guan, Guang­dong zheng­caix­[email protected]­

The sit­u­a­tion in Changan town­ship had be­come se­ri­ous, with young peo­ple hav­ing left while the aged lived in panic af­ter the farm­lands had been aban­doned.

“This truly de­scribed Changan town­ship be­fore China’s re­form and open­ing-up poli­cies were in­tro­duced in the late 1970s,” said Guo Rongxin, deputy Party chief and head of Changan town­ship in Dong­guan, Guang­dong prov­ince.

“Due to poverty, many young peo­ple risked their lives to se­cretly swim to Hong Kong to pur­sue their dreams of wealth,” he said.

Guo said Hong Kong now has more than 30,000 per­ma­nent res­i­dents from Changan town­ship, which is sit­u­ated in the south­ern­most of Dong­guan.

Af­ter four decades of de­vel­op­ment, Changan, for­merly an agri­cul­tural town­ship, has now be­come a ma­jor pro­duc­tion base, Guo said.

“The good in­vest­ment cli­mate and high gov­ern­ment work ef­fi­ciency are still at­tract­ing more and more in­vestors and busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tives from home and abroad to set up their pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties or start their busi­nesses here,” he said.

“Al­most all the prod­ucts sold around the world can be pro­duced in Changan,” Guo said with pride.

Dong­guan, home to the coun­try’s mo­bile phone gi­ants Huawei, Oppo and Vivo, pro­duced more than 293 mil­lion smart­phones in the first 10 months, up 6.7 per­cent this year and ac­count­ing for 26.7 per­cent of the coun­try’s to­tal.

Changan’s GDP reached more than 55 bil­lion yuan ($8 bil­lion) last year, com­par­ing with only 5.2 mil­lion yuan in 1978. Its in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion hit 194 bil­lion yuan in 2017 com­pared with about 500,000 yuan in 1978.

“Changan would not have been able to have made such great eco­nomic achieve­ments without the 40 years of the coun­try’s re­form and openingup,” said Guo.

When China had just opened its door to the out­side world in the early 1980s, many Changan of­fi­cials found it very dif­fi­cult to ap­ply for a visa to Hong Kong, so they had to pre­tend to be sailors to travel there and lobby their fel­low towns­men to in­vest in Changan.

Zhao Xiao­qun, chair­woman of Dong­guan Chitwing Tech­nolo­gies, said the Changan town­ship gov­ern­ment and re­lated de­part­ments have done a lot to serve do­mes­tic and for­eign in­vestors.

“Elec­tric­ity sup­ply has not been sus­pended in re­cent years, which en­sures our pro­duc­tion even when the town is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a power short­age,” Zhao said.

Zhao’s com­pany, a Shen­zhen stock ex­change listed com­pany, has ex­panded to be­tween 7,000 and 8,000 work­ers, up from 1,000 in 2007. The com­pany’s an­nual in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion has now reached more than 2 bil­lion yuan.

Cai Guodong, Party chief of Changan’s Wusha com­mu­nity, said great changes have taken place in his com­mu­nity in the past four decades.

“Now the liv­ing stan­dard of most res­i­dents in the com­mu­nity can com­pete with their coun­ter­parts from the United States and Europe,” he told me­dia.

Most of the res­i­dents can now earn more than 100,000 yuan a year and the com­mu­nity pays most of the med­i­cal care for them, and the av­er­age liv­ing space in Wusha com­mu­nity comes to more than 80 square me­ters, said Cai.

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