China will step up efforts in four areas – railways, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei economic zone, information and elderly healthcare –to support the economy and spur consumption, the Shanghai Securities News reported Monday, citing deliberations at a work meeting of the Central Political Bureau.
According to the meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping last Friday, the government will speed up the construction of railways in the central and western regions.
China Railway Corp. has increased the number of construction projects this year to 48 from 44 originally, and will raise its fixed-asset investment to 720 billion yuan (US$115.15 billion) from an original target of 700 billion yuan.
Railway investment worth 1.15 trillion yuan in the central and western regions has been completed in the first three years of the current Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), accounting for 72 percent of the target, and the target is to raise that to 78 percent by the end of the year, the report said.
The bureau will also pursue plans to develop the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei economic zone, which is expected to help tremendously in achieving the country’s economic growth target of 7-8 percent annually, Chi Fulin, president of the Hainan office of the China Institute for Reform and Development, was quoted as saying.
Plans are also being drafted to drive up consumption in the information sector, and among the bright spots are smart connected devices, mobile internet, big data and cloud computing, the newspaper said.
Internet-based information consumption is expected to reach 2.16 trillion yuan by 2015, according to Lu Wei, secretary-general of the Internet Society of China.
Meanwhile, the bureau sees the need to implement new measures to support healthcare services for the elderly, which is seen as an important engine to spur economic growth amid the country’s rapidly aging population.
More than 200 million people will be aged 65 or older by 2015, accounting for 14.8 percent of total population. Medical, healthcare, catering and travel services to meet their needs are still underdeveloped, Zhai Zhenwu, deputy chairman of the China Population Association, was quoted as saying.
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