Guangdong's foreign trade moved up another notch in 2021 by exceeding 8 trillion yuan (US$1.18 trillion) for the first time despite growing headwinds in global trade, according to a press conference held by the provincial government information office in provincial capital Guangzhou on Thursday.
The total value of Guangdong's imports and exports rose by 16.7% year on year to 8.27 trillion yuan in 2021, 1.2 trillion yuan more than the previous year, Zhang Jinsong, head of the Commerce Department of Guangdong, said at the conference.
Guangdong's retail sales of consumer goods, a major indicator of consumption growth, and actual use of foreign capital also hit new records in 2021, totaling 4.4 trillion yuan and 184 billion yuan, respectively, up 9.9% and 13.8% from a year earlier.
According to Zhang, Guangdong has actively seized opportunities to develop digital trade and it has won national support for the construction of a global trade digitization pilot area in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA).
The province, home to seven digital service export bases, saw its digital trade imports and exports hit US$81.23 billion last year, a growth of 22.7% year on year. More than 300 overseas warehouses with a total area of over 2 million square meters have been built by the province.
In 2021, Guangdong's cross-border e-commerce imports and exports as well as procurement of goods for export both surpassed 300 billion yuan at an average annual growth rate of 92.1% and 40.3%, respectively.
Guangdong has attracted 218 foreign-funded projects with an annual investment of more than US$100 million each over the last five years. The over-10-billion-dollar projects invested by multinational corporations including ExxonMobil and BASF have started construction in the province.
The province has also deepened the reform of combined ports in the GBA. Compared with 2017, the overall customs clearance time of import and export was reduced by 81% and 94%, respectively, in 2021.
Guangdong's value-added industrial output, another important economic indicator, topped 4.5 trillion yuan in 2021, ranking first in China and accounting for about one-eighth of the country, according to Wu Dongwen, deputy head of the Department of Industry and Information Technology of Guangdong.
Guangdong has also become the top destination for Hong Kong and Macao compatriots to start businesses, live and work on the mainland.
According to official data, the Hong Kong and Macao youth innovation and entrepreneurship bases in Guangdong have so far incubated 1,008 Hong Kong and Macao projects.
Over 85,100 Hong Kong and Macao residents have submitted employment registration in Guangdong, and over 215,900 compatriots from Hong Kong and Macao have joined the province's social security system, statistics showed.