This article is of interest for me because it is about Tianjin, my home for the last year and a half. It seems we are building a Wall Street wannabe in the Binhai district. The site is called Yujiapu, and the plan is to build the world’s largest financial zone over the next ten years.
Although not about to supplant Shanghai, home of China’s main stock exchange, Tianjin has been racing to hone its credentials as a financial hub. In the past three years alone, it has opened the Bohai Commodity Exchange, the Binhai International Equity Exchange, the Tianjin Climate Exchange and the Tianjin Ferroalloy Exchange.
Tianjin’s economy grew 17.4 percent last year, the fastest of China’s 31 provincial-level areas. While that would have been cause for celebration in the past, the local government has been modest in trumpeting its achievement.
Much of the article discusses China’s problems in trying to moderate its tremendous economic growth, hoping instead for consistent growth over the long term.
Fuzzy as it sounds, the concept is well understood in China to mean a more sustainable economic model: slower industrial investment, less pollution and a fairer distribution of income.
During the National People’s Congress this month, China will unveil a detailed policy blueprint for the coming five years. Hu and Wen will try to enshrine their agenda by setting an official goal of 7 percent annual growth from now until 2015, well down from the 11.2 percent average of the past five years.
Provincial governments are pushing for higher growth rates than the central government has targeted, and they have been successful, discounting the foreign perception of China as a very centralized economy.
“It’s quite clear that the central government will not be able to realize its goal,” said Yang Zhiyong, an economist in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a top government think-tank.
Outsiders often assume that Beijing is omnipotent in governing China, bending far-flung cities and villages to its will. The reality is different.
Growth continues and the threat of loan defaults and a slow-down are ignored for now.