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China's Biggest Farming Province Is Now Majority Urban [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2018-3-9 11:10:15 |Display all floors
(Bloomberg) China’s drive to transform itself into a developed economy has passed a significant milestone -- it’s biggest agricultural province is now more than half urban.

Henan, in central China, had 50.2 percent of its 96 million residents in cities or towns at the end of last year, from 48.5 percent in 2016, according to local government data. The third-most-populous province, it produces about a tenth of the country’s food and surpassed the majority urban milestone six years after China as a whole.

The shift is being lauded by state media as a sign of progress for Henan.

“The employment market, civilization level and social welfare system will change fundamentally when urbanization is over 50 percent,” Wei Houkai, head of the Rural Development Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the official Xinhua News Agency this week.

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Post time 2018-3-9 11:12:55 |Display all floors

Home to almost 1.4 billion people, China is morphing from a land of villages and farming plots to one dominated by mega cities and rapidly growing towns. Overall urbanization stands at 59 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, with Guangdong -- the most-populous of China’s 22 provinces -- the most citified: it’s urban ratio is 70 percent. The world’s No. 2 economy is still behind the U.S., at 82 percent, and Russia, which has an urban ratio of 74 percent, but is ahead of India at 34 percent, U.S. government data shows.

City Dwellers

China's largest farming province now has majority urban population

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Sources: National Bureau of Statistics of China; Henan and Guangdong governments

Just 13 years ago, Henan’s urban ratio was 31 percent, versus 43 percent nationwide and 61 percent in Guangdong, which is adjacent to Hong Kong. The transformation is all the more remarkable because of Henan’s agricultural heritage. A prolific producer of grain, cotton, cooking oil and meat, it’s sometimes referred to as “the granary of China.”

The shift mirrors the change nationwide, with millions of China’s farmers moving to cities over the past two decades to seek jobs in manufacturing and other industrial sectors. While many voluntarily migrated, others were forced out as local governments sought to turn rural land into urban developments to boost economic growth.

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Post time 2018-3-9 11:14:17 |Display all floors

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To boost growth and manage migration from rural areas, China will look into rural land use and ownership issues according to the government work report Prime Minister Li Keqiang presented at the annual legislative meeting that got under way in Beijing this week.

“Agricultural Henan crossing the threshold to become mainly urban is a reminder that China’s growth-boosting urban shift still has further to run,” said Qian Wan, a provincial research specialist for Bloomberg Economics in Beijing. “Major developed economies are 80 percent urban or above.”

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Post time 2018-3-9 13:46:27 |Display all floors
Urbanization would still be one of the engines for sustained development for many years to come, so it's unlikely that China would experience slowdown or a growth rate below 3% in the foreseeable future.

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Post time 2018-3-15 04:55:02 |Display all floors
Henan Province is the largest producer of agricultural products in China. WH Group, started in Luohe and now with headquarters in Zhengzhou, is the largest pork producer in the world. It was previously the largest in China, however, after acquiring Smithfield Foods, the largest U.S. pork producer, it is now the largest in the world. Sanquan Foods, headquarterd in Zhengzhou (I've met the founder and CEO's wife), is the largest pre-packaged dumpling producer in China. It's founder has been listed among the 400 richest people in the world according to Forbes magazine.

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