- China.org.cn, April 21, 2015
Benefits from Regional Development
Hunan Province has a favorable geographic location. Situated in south-central China along the southern end of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, the province borders Hubei in the north, Jiangxi in the east, Guangdong in the southeast, Guangxi in the southwest, Guizhou in the west and Chongqing in the northwest.
Hunan is ushering in new opportunities for rapid development as China focuses on several important regional development strategies, including the Yangtze River Economic Belt. This zone runs along China's longest river and covers more than 2 million square kilometers, roughly one fifth of the country's total area.
Hunan is included in the Yangtze River Economic Belt together with ten other provinces and municipalities – Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan, Chongqing, Yunnan and Guizhou. The Yangtze will be used to connect relatively developed eastern China with central and western China. Against this backdrop, Hunan's geographic advantage will make it strategically significant in boosting both regional and national economic growth.
With the further cooperation of western China, Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macao, the Guangxi Beibu Gulf Economic Zone and ASEAN countries, Hunan will also benefit from China's "Belt and Road" initiatives.
Overall Economic Strengths and Emerging Industries
Hunan is fortunate to have a solid industrial base and strong economic fundamentals. Hunan's local economy has maintained an enviable growth rate for many years and has made smart investments in industrial development and innovation. The province's gross domestic product ranked 10th nationally in 2014 at 2.7 trillion yuan (US$435.48 billion), a 9.5 percent increase over the previous year.
Primary industries in Hunan contributed 314.88 billion yuan (US$50.78 billion) to regional GDP growth, secondary industries added 1.25 trillion yuan (US$201.61 billion) and tertiary industries added an additional 1.14 trillion yuan (US$183.87 billion).
Though Hunan is well-known for its agricultural sector and cultural exports, it is also beefing up the development of seven strategic emerging industries: advanced equipment manufacturing, information technology, new materials manufacturing, creative cultural services and products, biological engineering, new energy and environmental protection. By the end of 2014, the province was home to a total of 3,097 enterprises engaged in these strategic emerging industries, 532 more than it had 2013. The value-added of these strategic emerging industries reached 308.83 billion yuan (US$49.81 billion) in 2014, up 13.7 percent from 2013 and accounting for 11.4 percent of provincial GDP.
The valued-added of Hunan's advanced high-tech manufacturing sector saw a 20.7-percent increase in 2014, accounting for 19 percent of provincial GDP. Emerging industries including mobile Internet, integrated circuits, information consumption and intelligent manufacturing are booming to become new points of growth.
Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment
The value of Hunan's imports and exports reached 190.69 billion yuan (US$30.76 billion) last year, a 22.2 percent increase, of which 123.04 billion yuan (US$19.85 billion) came from exports, an increase of 33.9 percent.
Hunan is able to draw in a great deal of foreign investment, which has greatly assisted its economic development. A total of 539 foreign-invested projects were approved in the province 2014, with actually utilized foreign investment topping US$10.27 billion, up 17.9 percent over the previous year.
A total of 131 Fortune Global 500 companies had invested in various locations within Hunan Province by the end of 2013.
Hunan, a province with a rich historical heritage and abundant tourism resources, is a powerhouse in the national tourism industry. In 2014, Hunan received a total of 412 million domestic and international tourists, up 14.39 percent over 2013. The province's tourism industry reported 304.62 billion yuan (US$49.13 billion) in revenue, a 13.58 percent increase over the previous year.