Has Tianjin's GDP surpassed Guangzhou? - Everyday life - Chinadaily Forum
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Has Tianjin's GDP surpassed Guangzhou? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2018-5-12 11:14:42 |Display all floors

(CGTN) Netizens were left questioning their math skills on Friday, amid confusion over reports that south China’s Guangzhou was overtaken by northern city Tianjin in the first quarter of 2018, in terms of GDP.

According to data published by the Guangdong Province first-tier city, Guangzhou saw a GDP of 495.402 billion yuan (78.076 billion US dollars) in the first three months of this year, an increase in real terms of 4.3 percent compared to the previous year.

Meanwhile in Tianjin, local authorities announced that the municipality’s GDP in the first quarter was 495.942 billion yuan (78.171 billion US dollars), ahead of Guangzhou by 540 million yuan.

The data show Tianjin overtook Guangzhou in terms of GDP for the first time in two decades, despite the northern port city’s 2018 Q1 GDP increasing year-on-year by only 1.9 percent in real terms.

Reaction to the data highlights growing skepticism and confusion over regional data, after several cases in recent years of inflated economic information.

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Post time 2018-5-12 11:15:32 |Display all floors

On Sina Weibo, netizens were left scratching their heads, with user @dupiwu commenting, “my math isn’t great. The city with the lower GDP increase still overtook the other one?”

Other commenters said they were “embarrassed” that they couldn’t understand the data, while @heyanZ said, “such a pity I didn’t read enough books at school, I just don’t understand.”

@dadongtaixiaorenwu said, "Who calculated this? Guangzhou was higher than Tianjin last year, and its growth rate was 4.3 percent. Tianjin's growth rate was only 1.9 percent. Who can tell me how Tianjin overtook Guangzhou? The statistics bureau is truly magical."

According to the Guangzhou Bureau of Statistics, the city’s economy is still in the middle of moving onto a services-based economic model, but its growth remains stable and focused on quality rather than quantity. The bureau did however add that GDP had “fallen too far.”

Other data released by the Guangzhou bureau showed that growth in investment in the first quarter stood only at 2.5 percent, compared to 10.3 percent a year before. Private investment saw negative growth of 7.2 percent, while state-owned investment was down 35.5 percent.

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Post time 2018-5-12 11:15:53 |Display all floors

Long a hub for foreign trade, Guangzhou saw a 10.2 percent contraction in overseas commerce in the first quarter. One year before, foreign trade had grown by 31.9 percent.

Despite apparently overtaking Guangzhou, Tianjin’s quarterly growth was the worst of all 29 provinces, regions and municipalities which submitted data. The GDP growth rate of 1.9 percent came in stark contrast to the 8.0 percent growth published by authorities in 2017’s first quarter.

Cong Yi, a professor at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, told the Global Times last month, “Tianjin has had to curb its traditional sectors such as heavy and chemical industries. But while these industries have been shrinking in Tianjin, the new growth drivers such as high-end manufacturing have not been strong enough to replace the lost GDP.”

Tianjin’s statistics bureau came under fire in January, with Xinhua reporting that the city had inflated its economic data.

Tianjin’s Binhai New Area admitted to data inflation, and revised down its 2016 GDP figures by more than one third to 665.4 billion yuan (102.3 billion US dollars). The area had initially claimed it was the first Chinese special economic zone to hit 1 trillion yuan GDP, ahead of Shanghai’s Pudong New Area.

Data inflation has previously been uncovered in northeast China’s Liaoning Province, with exaggerated numbers reported between 2011 and 2014, according to Xinhua. Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region admitted last year that 2016 industrial data was inflated by as much as 40 percent.

The central government has said it has zero tolerance for any fabrication of economic data, with Xinhua calling official efforts to curb data inflation “conducive to high-quality development.”

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