Prioritizing infrastructure creation set to stabilize economy
Employees inspect transmission towers in Anhui province, part of an ultrahigh-voltage direct-current transmission project. [Song Weixing/for China Daily]
China's efforts to bolster infrastructure construction in a precise manner will help buttress the nation's economic growth this year amid a complicated external environment and resurgent domestic COVID-19 cases, experts said.
The comments came after a key meeting on Tuesday set the tone for comprehensively bolstering infrastructure construction nationwide, highlighting the significance of implementing such a policy in upholding national security, expanding domestic consumption and promoting high-quality development.
Lu Zhe, chief macroeconomist at Topsperity Securities, said: "Infrastructure will play an important supporting role for economic growth this year."
Lu predicted that the growth rate of infrastructure investment this year is likely to be between 5 and 7 percent.
The meeting of the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs on Tuesday called for efforts to coordinate development and security, optimize the layout, function and development mode of the country's infrastructure and build a modern infrastructure system in order to lay a solid foundation for comprehensively building China into a modern socialist country.
While calling for the upgrading of traditional infrastructure facilities, the meeting also stressed the need to step up construction of "new infrastructure", including 5G networks, the industrial internet, intercity transportation, intracity rail systems, data centers, artificial intelligence, ultrahigh voltage infrastructure and new energy vehicle charging stations.
Wu Hequan, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said the accelerated construction of "new infrastructure" such as 5G, artificial intelligence and big data will lay a sound foundation for the integration of digital and real economies, and help drive industrial upgrade and digital transformation in traditional sectors.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China's telecom carriers will build 600,000 new 5G base stations this year, and the ministry will also promote the application of superfast wireless technology in the industrial internet.
The National Development and Reform Commission, the nation's top economic regulator, said in a document on its official website on Wednesday that efforts to promote infrastructure will be made in a precise manner, and no "flood" of infrastructure stimuli will be allowed.
Ou Hong, director of the Department of Fixed Asset Investment at the NDRC, the economic regulator, said earlier this month that it will promote infrastructure construction in fields like water conservancy, transportation and energy, accelerate the push for "new infrastructure" construction, spur investment in equipment manufacturing and boost the development of sectors like health, education, eldercare and childcare.
Despite facing pressure from resurgent domestic COVID-19 cases, China has favorable conditions to stabilize investment, Ou said.