Li Mingyuan, mayor of the Xi'an municipal People's Government, introduced Xi'an's economic and social development at a press conference of Shaanxi province to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Aug 7.
The press conference of Shaanxi province to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China is held on Aug 7. [Photo/Xi'an municipal government's official WeChat public account]
Enhanced comprehensive economic strength
In 2018, Xi'an's total output value amounted to 834.99 billion yuan ($118.28 billion), increasing by 858 times than that of 1949 (189 million yuan). Its per capita GDP reached 85,114 yuan, an increase of 1,024 times than that of 1949 (83 yuan).
The total retail sales of consumer goods generated 465.87 billion yuan, an increase of 3,085 times than that in 1950 (151 million yuan). Its local fiscal revenue reached 68.47 billion yuan, a rise of 4,465 times than that in 1950 (15.33 million yuan).
The city's value-added industrial output was 187.436 billion yuan, an increase of 5,512 times than that in 1949 (34 million yuan).
The non-public economy has grown from non-existence, spanning the private sector economy and individual self-employed businesses. In 2018, Xi’an generated 445.96 billion yuan in added value of the non-public economy, 20.9 times that of 2000, accounting for 53.4 percent of the GDP.
Increasing city strategic position
Xi'an is a city that is determined at the national level to becoming an international metropolis. The State Council approved the development plan for the Guanzhong Plain city cluster and clarified the goal of Xi'an to also become a national central city in February 2018.
In 2015, the country stated that it is necessary to build a new center for reform and opening-up based on Xi'an, and identified Xi'an as an innovation and reform pilot zone.
In 2016, Xi'an High-tech Industries Development Zone was defined as an independent innovation demonstration zone. In May 2019, the country issued guiding instructions to build the Belt and Road comprehensive pilot zone in Xi’an.
The city has many advantages in many fields, undertaking more than 20 national innovation reform pilots and demonstration tasks for cross-border e-commerce, new energy vehicles, next-generation internet, and the airport economy.
Distinctive historic and cultural city
Relying on rich resources such as history, culture, and landscape, Xi'an vigorously promotes the "culture+" and "tourism+" strategies, aiming to build a world-class tourist destination city.
It has accelerated the implementation of the national project for site protection, the restoration plan for the imperial city, and the multiplication plan for the cultural tourism industry. It will strive to build itself into a Silk Road cultural center, as well as a world-renowned hub for culture and tourism.
Xi'an possesses six world cultural heritages, including the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, the Terracotta Warriors, Site of Weiyang Palace, Site of Daming Palace, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Small Wild Goose Pagoda, and Xingjiao Temple Pagoda.
In 2018, the city received a total of 247 million tourists from home and abroad. The total tourism revenue amounted to 225.48 billion yuan, and the added value of the tourism industry accounted for 8.74 percent of GDP.
Changing urban and rural environment
The total length of highways in Xi'an has exceeded 14,500 kilometers, and that of expressways has reached 572 km. Xi'an has also taken the lead in West China to enter into the "subway era."
Several important water conservancy projects, such as constructing a surrounding drainage network, drawing water from Heihe River in North China's Inner Mongolia, and constructing 10 water resources, have been conducted to solve the long-term problem of water shortage in Xi'an.
The forest coverage rate has reached 48.03 percent, and the per capita park green area is 12.05 square meters.
The Terracotta Warriors. [Photo by Wang Xin/For China Daily]
Every village has highways, running water, televisions, and internet networks. 99 percent of household garbage and 45 percent of sewage in administrative villages have been effectively managed.
Xi'an has been honored as a "National Sanitary City," "National Garden City," "National Forest City," and "National Civilized City."
Prominent development motivations
A new pattern of development has been constructed in Xi'an, which is: supported by five major industries, including the high-tech, equipment manufacturing, tourism, modern service, and cultural industries; driven by strategic emerging industries, such as smart terminals, electronic information, new energy automobiles, and biological medicine; and led by national development zones, related to the high-tech, finance, aeronautics, and astronautics industries.
As Xi'an furthers reforms to streamline administration and delegate power, its business environment has ranked in the top 10 in China. A total of 215 Fortune Global 500 companies, 293 China's top 500 companies, and 220 top 500 private companies have settled in Xi'an.
Nine of the top 10 internet enterprises have also settled in Xi'an, and new retail enterprises are developing rapidly, such as Hema Fresh.
Social behavior has also improved to these new developments, such as drivers stopping at zebra crossings for pedestrians. In addition, the "Most Cultural and Traditional Spring Festival in Xi'an" (Xi'an nian, zui Zhongguo) has become a trademark of Xi'an Spring Festival celebrations.
Xi’an has been listed as "China's ten cities of positive energy" and is one the most successful 40 cities during the 40-years since reform and opening-up.
Improved international standards
Based on the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi'an has been transformed into an open and advanced city which promotes high-level opening-up.
Xi'an has built Xi'an Port, China's largest land port with both domestic and international codes, as well as operates the China-Europe Chang'an freight train at a high level.
The passenger throughput of Xi'an Xianyang International Airport ranks seventh in China, and Xi'an has become the first city in Northwest China with the 72-hour visa-free transit policy.
An international trade single window has been established in Xi'an's free trade area, ensuring efficient 24-hour customs clearance.
The Xi'an area of China (Shaanxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone has established a "single window" for international trade, realizing 24-hour customs clearance facilitation.
Customers visit a Hema Fresh store in Xi'an. [Photo provided to China Daily]
To date, Xi'an has set up a consulate-general for four countries, including Thailand, Korea, Cambodia, and Malaysia, as well as visa application centers for 26 countries, such as France, Germany, and Spain.
In 2018, the total import and export volume of Xi'an reached 330.39 billion yuan ($46.80 billion), and the actual utilized foreign capital reached $6.35 billion, which were 367 and 114 times respectively than that of 1987.
Several important international activities have been held in Xi’an, such as the International Horticultural Expo, and the permanent site of the World Culture and Tourism Forum has settled in the city. Its "going-out" enterprises have gradually become well-known overseas, including Shaanxi Blower Group Co and Shaanxi Automobile Group Co.
Increasingly improving people’s quality of life
In 2018, the per capita disposable income of urban and rural residents reached 38,729 yuan and 13,286 yuan respectively, which was 175 times and 171 times of that in 1957.
The total number of employers reached 6.21 million in 2018, which was 7.1 times of that in 1949.
As of 2018, there were 81 colleges in Xi'an compared to two colleges in 1949. The number of secondary schools in the city had reached 456, which is 10.4 times of that in 1949.
A total of 6,645 medical institutions had been established by 2018 with 77,700 beds, which were 151 and 101 times of those in 1949.
In 2018, the participation rates of endowment and medical insurance for urban and rural residents reached 99.8 percent and 97.1 percent respectively. The participation rate of the new rural cooperative medical system reached 99.4 percent.
Through poverty alleviation efforts, the number of people under the poverty line in rural areas has rapidly decreased, and the poverty incidence had been reduced to 0.23 percent in 2018.
In addition, Xi'an has furthered the construction of a peaceful city and promotes the fight against crime, enhancing people's sense of security.
Xi'an has been honored as China's Happiest City seven years in a row, and was listed as "2018 China’s special contribution city for overall quality of life."
In the future, Xi'an will continue to build itself into a national central city and an international metropolis, striving to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China with outstanding achievements.