New efforts are being taken to build northeast China’s old industrial base into a prominent economic area.
Northeast China, covering Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning provinces and the eastern part of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, was once dubbed the "cradle" of China’s industry.
It was the birthplace of New China’s first car, airplane and 10,000-ton freight vessel. In addition to the origin of Chinese steel production, the northeast’s old industrial base topped China’s largest industrial concentration when the planned economy dominated before the 1980s. But its status in the national economy has declined partly due to a large proportion of old-fashioned production techniques used by state-owned enterprises.
Zhang Guobao, Vice Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, said, at an October 20 conference, that in 2004, northeast China’s total state-owned assets accounted for 14.9% of the country’s total, much higher than its share in the national GDP. Private economy in the northeast remained considerably weak.
One example of highly concentrated state-owned capital can be found in Changchun, capital city of Jilin Province. The city is known as an "auto capital" with the automobile industry accounting for 70% of its total economy.
The prominent economic position that state-owned First Automotive Works (FAW) holds in Jilin Province has been turned into an interesting saying: When FAW coughs, Jilin gets a cold while Changchun has a high fever.
Beijing Review.com.cn puts forward an eight point plan on how the situation can be improved in the future.