In 2021, China had 24 cities with GDP exceeding 1 trillion yuan ($157.12 billion), with Dongguan in South China's Guangdong Province joining the list, and Beijing becoming the first city whose GDP exceeded 4 trillion yuan.
Dongguan announced on Tuesday in its government work report that the city’s GDP exceeded 1 trillion yuan in 2021, making the city the 24th in China to reach that level. The city has a population of over ten million.
According to the report, the total volume of the city’s imports and exports last year grew year-on-year by 15 percent to 1.5 trillion yuan, despite China-U.S. trade friction and the sporadic flare-ups of COVID-19.
Fifty years ago, Dongguan was still an agricultural county with few inhabitants. Since the implementation of reform and opening-up, the city’s economy has grown rapidly as it gradually became a global manufacturing base.
In 1978, Dongguan’s GDP reached 611.22 million yuan. The city’s GDP totaled 7.377 billion yuan in 1991, 12 times higher compared with the 1978 level.
“Dongguan is a microcosm of China's rapid economic development since the reform and opening-up,” Liu Xuezhi, a senior macroeconomics expert at Bank of Communications, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Liu noted that in addition to Dongguan, more cities in China have seen rapid development in industrial output in recent decades, as China has changed from an agricultural country to a manufacturing power.
In 2006, Shanghai was the first city whose GDP exceeded 1 trillion yuan, and two years later Beijing reached the same level. The fact that 24 cities have now reached the 1 trillion mark shows the sustained momentum of the country's economic development, Liu said.
In 2021, Beijing became the first city in China with GDP totaling 4 trillion yuan, thanks to a year-on-year increase of 8.5 percent, Beijing mayor Chen Jining said on January 6.
Analysts said that boosted by the new generation of information technology and the explosive development of the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, Beijing’s economy has seen continuous growth.
From January to November 2021, the output value of two COVID-19-vaccine manufacturers – Beijing-based Sinovac R&D Company and Beijing Institute of Biological Products Company under Sinopharm – has exceeded 230 billion yuan. At present, Beijing has produced about 5 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Shanghai is expected to join Beijing at the level of 4 trillion yuan soon. Experts noted that this figure equals or exceeds the GDP level of more than 20 countries and regions in the world, such as Thailand, Belgium and Austria.
On January 8, Ning Jizhe, director of China's National Bureau of Statistics, said that China's GDP exceeded 100 trillion yuan in 2021 for the second consecutive year, with per capita GDP totaling $10,000 for the third consecutive year.
Liu said that in 2021, China's economy continued its gradual recovery after the epidemic, maintaining stable economic operations despite sporadic further outbreaks of COVID-19.