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Hebei invests to keep growing

 The gross of domestic product (GDP) of north China's Hebei province in the first half of this year reached 751.36 billion yuan (US$110 billion), up 8.7 per cent year-on-year.

The increase was driven by 571.68 billion yuan (US$83.66 billion) in fixed asset investment – a 50.2 percent increase compared to the same period last year, Wu Xiaohua, a deputy chief with the Hebei development and reform commission, said at a press conference here on August 11, 2009.

Hebei, a province adjacent to Beijing and Tianjin Municipality, has the sixth largest GDP in China so far this year. As a result of the global economic downturn, Hebei saw slower growth in retail sales of consumption goods this year, which only increased by 17.8 percent and suffered from a heavy drop in exports, which were down 36 percent compared to the first half of last year.

As a result, Hebei has relied on government investment to reach the central government's goal of an 8 percent increase in GDP by the end of the year.

Wu said that Hebei had planned to invest 136.9 billion yuan (US$20 billion) in new projects in 2009. The central and local governments plan to pour into 9.55 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion) and 11.8 billion yuan (US$1.7 billion) respectively.

Much of the investment will focus on infrastructure, Yang Guohua, a vice director of Hebei traffic and communication department,said.

The urban infrastructure investment in Hebei has reached 111.08 billion yuan (US$16.25 billion) in first half of this year, Yang added noting that 53.1 billion yuan (US$7.77 billion) of that investment would be allocated to expressways, highways, railways and ports.

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