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Overall Strategy for Regional Development and Advancing the Formation of the Development Priority Zones*


Liu Feng

Research Report No.164, 2007

I. Overall Strategy for Current Regional Development   

Regions are a carrier of the economic society, as well as a spatial form of co-existence and interaction between man and nature. The state economy is organically composed of regional economies. As a result, the overall strategy for regional development has always been an important integral part of the state strategy and a spatial reflection of the state development strategy.   

Currently, China has set the objective of constructing a moderately prosperous society to a higher level in an all-round way to benefit over one billion people by 2020 with gross domestic product tripling that of 2000. To realize such an objective, China will face growing constraints against its economic growth, such as population growth, energy supply, ecological environment and natural resources. For this reason, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council have pointed out that China should establish and carry out the scientific outlook on development, devote major efforts to implementing the strategy of rejuvenating China through scientific and educational development, and take a new road for China's industrialization imbued with scientific and technological content, good economic efficiency, low resource consuming, less environmental pollution and with human resources to be brought into full play; that efforts should be continually made to plan as a whole the urban and rural development, the regional development, economic and social development, the harmonious development between man and nature and China's domestic development and opening up, to stick to the people-first principle, to establish an outlook on all-around, harmonious and sustainable development and to construct a harmonious society.

The formulation and implementation of regional development policy must be focused on state overall objective and take all-around construction of a moderately prosperous society, the construction of a harmonious society, the implementation of the strategy of "rejuvenating China through scientific and educational development" and the strategy for sustainable development as the main line. It should be aimed at the overall resolution of serious problems and the problems with the development pattern, system and mechanism from the perspective of state interests, and be centered on the establishment of the regional development policy system suited to national conditions of China to guide and standardize the regional development so as to realize a sound and rapid development. The overall strategy for regional development in the new era must embody three principles: First, a unification of efficiency and fairness; second, a harmony between man and nature; and third, a fair competition and co-operation between the regions.

The Fifth Plenary Session of the 16th CPC Central Committee put forward the guideline of continually carrying out and pushing forward the large-scale development of the western region, revitalizing the old industrial bases in northeast China, promoting the economic booming of central China, encouraging east China to take the lead in the development, and improving the regional coordination and interaction mechanism as the basic ideas for the overall strategy for regional development.

II. Framework of the Overall Strategy for Regional Development   

In order to implement the overall strategy for regional development, stress should be laid on further making clear the strategic layout for regional development, functional positioning, priority tasks in the development and policy guidance, targeting proper work arrangements and the implementation of policies and measures in line with the bearing capacity of resources and environment and the basis and potential for the development. In accordance with the requirements for giving play to comparative edges, we should enhance poor sectors and requirement for equalized basic public services. By so doing, we could gradually form the coordinated regional development pattern with clear positioning of principal functions, and sound interaction between the regions and narrow gaps in basic public service and the people's living standard.

The overall strategy for regional development can be described as a general framework, including one general requirement,the perfection of three basic environments, the implementation of three types of regional policies and the improvement of four kinds of coordinating mechanisms. See chart as follows.

1.One general requirement

The general requirement and crux of the overall strategy for regional development at the present time is to facilitate the coordinated regional development. Coordinated regional development is the regional development strategy determined by the Chinese Central Government in the Ninth Five-Year Plan for National Economy and Social Development and the Outline for Long-range Targets in 2010. At the Third Plenary Session of the Sixteenth CPC Central Committee, the Central Government further set forth a requirement of planning the regional development as a whole under the guidance of the scientific outlook on development. Coordinated regional development is meant to ensure an optimal spatial distribution of resources, to give full play to the individual advantages of various regions and their enthusiasm for development, to tap the potential for the development of various regions, and to facilitate the formation of a coordinated relationship among various regions by complementing each other with their respective advantages, working in coordination with each other through division of labor, promoting mutual development and interacting in a sound way. The coordinated regional development is a prerequisite for the steady, sound and effective development of the national economy, an important part and task in scientific development as well as a prerequisite for the realization of the sustainable development. Promoting the coordinated regional development is a strategic task in reform and opening up and in the construction of the socialist modernization, as well as a requirement for the construction of a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way and for the establishment of a harmonious socialist society.

Overall Strategy for Regional Development and Advancing the Formation of the Development Priority Zones*

Framework for Coordinated Regional Development

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*This paper is a sub-report of the series under the title of "Study of the Regional Policy for Classified Management of Development Priority Zones".