Dr. Xie Shiying, director of the Human Settlement Environment Institute of Dongguan City Planning and Design Institute, told the 21st century economic reporter that the urbanization construction with county as an important carrier is a new stage of Chinas urbanization. Chinas overall level of urbanization has reached more than 60%, entering a basically stable stage, but the development is not balanced. Large cities may reach a higher level of urbanization, while the urbanization level of more than 1800 counties in China is relatively low, and there is still a lot of room for improvement.
The county-level population is large, and many counties have dozens or even millions of people. Urbanization with the county as an important carrier can effectively promote the construction of infrastructure and public service facilities, and improve the quality of human settlements and living environment of the whole county. Xie said.
At present, the urbanization of the county has entered the dividend period of policy development, but there are also many problems, such as funds, population, transportation, infrastructure construction, etc., which need to be overcome one by one.
New opportunities for County Development
Since the Qin Dynasty, county is a basic unit of grass-roots governance in China. Now, with the modernization of governance capacity and governance system, county has become a very important governance unit.
In June 2011, the notice of the State Council on printing and distributing the planning of national main functional areas was issued, which proposed to build county towns and small towns with development potential. The circular points out that Chinas land space is divided into the following main functional areas: optimized development area, key development area, restricted development area and prohibited development area. In principle, county-level administrative region is taken as the basic unit for optimized development, key development and restricted development area.
According to the statistical table of administrative divisions in 2018 issued by the Ministry of civil affairs, as of December 31, 2018, there are 2851 county-level administrative units in China, including 970 municipal districts, 375 county-level cities, 1335 counties, 117 autonomous counties, 49 banners, 3 autonomous banners, 1 special zone and 1 forest area.
Excluding municipal districts, there are 1881 county-level units. At present, the development level of these county-level units is not unified, but most of them are located in the optimized development areas and key development areas.
How to develop the county? In the fourteenth five year plan, the key point is to improve the urbanization and comprehensive service ability of the county.
Why does county become an important carrier of urbanization?
Xie Shiying said that the county has several advantages in promoting urbanization. First of all, there is a huge space for development, with great room for improvement in urbanization rate and infrastructure. Secondly, compared with the city, the cost of land, education, medical care, housing and other aspects of the county are relatively low, which can promote urbanization more efficiently. Third, the urbanization of the county can promote the coordinated development of the region. Many people can leave their hometown and do not need long-distance migration. Social problems such as left behind children and left behind elderly can also be solved.
However, county urbanization also faces many shortcomings. One of the problems is that the industrialization level of the county is lower than that of the prefecture level cities, which can not provide more employment opportunities, which makes it difficult for many counties to avoid becoming the siphon object of population in big cities or surrounding central cities.
Puning, a county-level city managed by Jieyang City in Guangdong Province, has encountered this problem. According to the statistical bulletin, by the end of 2019, the permanent population of Puning was 2.2132 million, an increase of 15200 over the end of the previous year. However, after deducting the natural growth of 28387 people, the actual outflow of more than 13000 people.
Puning resident Chen Jun (not his real name) is the owner of a cloth shop. He told 21st century economic report that many local people who went to university would not stay in Puning and would go to Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Mr. Chens son, with a bachelors degree, has not stayed in Puning and now works in Guangzhou.
Another Puning resident, Chen Jing (pseudonym), told the 21st century economic report that individual businesses in Puning are small in scale and are managed by family members. Even if they have to hire people, they are temporary. Several of her relatives shops are self-care, no one is invited.
According to the data, in 2019, the added value of Punings secondary industry was 23.639 billion yuan, an increase of 0.1%, and its contribution rate to the growth of GDP was 8.0%. In 2019, the proportion of urban population in Puning is 47.9%, only 0.04 percentage points higher than that at the end of last year.
Xie Shiying believes that the urbanization of a place is based on a certain degree of industrialization, but generally speaking, the industrialization foundation of the county is not very good. Therefore, in the early years, Guangdong put forward the idea of industrial transfer, which is the transfer of industries from the core cities of the Pearl River Delta to the peripheral small and medium-sized cities, including county towns, which can effectively promote the process of local urbanization through industrial development, including employment increase, population agglomeration, etc.
To achieve the development of county, it needs a certain amount of capital and human resources accumulation.
County development money from where, related to infrastructure construction.
This years government work report puts forward the construction of two new and one heavy, including strengthening the construction of new urbanization, and vigorously improving the public facilities and service capacity of the county, so as to meet the increasing demand of farmers to find jobs and settle down in the county.
According to the statistics of the 21st century economic report, many counties fiscal revenue will decline in 2019, some of which will decline by more than 10%.
This is the case in Puning. As a county-level city, the local general public budget revenue of Puning in 2019 was 2.119 billion yuan, 10.4% lower than that of the previous year, including 1.412 billion yuan of tax revenue, a decrease of 14.5%. However, the annual investment in fixed assets of Puning was 29.079 billion yuan, an increase of 8.3% over the previous year. Among them, infrastructure investment was 13 billion yuan, up 59.5% over the previous year.
Another county-level city, Xinyi City of Jiangsu Province, according to the statistical bulletin, in 2019, the citys general public budget revenue was 3.555 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 32.1%; the financial expenditure on peoples livelihood was 6.956 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 16.6%.
Xie Shiying pointed out that one disadvantage of county urbanization is that the resource allocation structure of Chinas urban development is top-down, that is, from big cities to small and medium-sized cities, and then to counties and towns and villages, county-level administrative units have certain disadvantages in resource allocation. Therefore, in the allocation of resources, including some industries and transportation projects, the county is not dominant.
The decline of county-level fiscal revenue is actually universal. After the tax and fee reform, county-level finance relies less on agricultural taxes and fees before, and more on transfer payments from higher level governments. He said.
However, with the arrival of the policy dividend period, this problem is expected to be partially solved.
Xie Shiying said that although the county-level finance has declined, the transfer payment of higher-level government has increased, and it can be balanced in this way. The state proposes to promote the urbanization construction with county as an important carrier, and more policies will be implemented to promote the development of county urbanization.
Feng Kui said that to solve the problem of lack of money in the development of the county, we should first mobilize farmers, let them participate, and stimulate their enthusiasm to participate in urbanization. In the past, some counties were built with the participation of farmers. Second, the attraction of industrial and commercial capital should be enhanced. Of course, the state also needs to further increase its support for county towns.
New consumption opportunities of county
Xie Shiying said that on the one hand, the population in the county is decreasing, because many people will leave the county to go to big cities. But the population of the county is increasing, that is, a lot of rural population will flow into the local county.
On the other hand, many migrant workers will return to work in their hometown, and they will generally return to the county because the public service level of education and medical treatment in the county is higher than that in the villages and towns.
21st century economic reporter learned that some counties, especially county-level cities, are speeding up infrastructure construction. Taking Kaili, a county-level city in Guizhou Province as an example, Li Yu, a local resident (not his real name), said that in recent years, Kaili has been constantly renovating new urban roads and public facilities, and railways and highways in terms of transportation infrastructure are gradually developing.
The local demand for housing and catering is also increasing. Some properties have been sold out before the foundation has been built, and even phase I to phase IV are sold out, and phase IV will not be delivered until 2028. In order to increase the sales of real estate, developers also pay attention to the construction of the community, which will be better. Kindergartens, hospitals, supermarkets have even bought houses to send parking spaces. Li Yu said.
Not only Kaili, many county-level units are ushering in a new upsurge of consumption growth. Xie Shiying pointed out that in the past, urbanization was more long-distance migration and more inter provincial flow. Now, more and more urbanization flows in the region and within the province, and the flow within cities and counties will increase in the future.
However, it is impossible for the county to copy the development path of big cities. Counties with conditions should be integrated into the high-speed and rail network of larger regions, shorten the traffic time distance with major urban areas, and truly integrate into the development of the whole urban agglomeration and metropolitan area. In addition, tourism characteristic economy and network economy can be developed to meet the needs of big cities through their own development. Xie said. Feng Kui said that in general, the role of county towns in urban agglomerations is changing. It used to be the base, and the future is the node of the network. In the future, on the one hand, large and medium-sized cities should be raised and leveled. To increase the core function is to upgrade the core functions and enhance the energy level; to flatten means that everything can not be developed, and some industries and services should be dispersed to the county. On the other hand, for the county, we must take the road of characteristic competition. We should rely on differentiated positioning to obtain comparative advantage and competitive advantage. For example, the county is relatively rich in labor resources, collective owned land needs to be fully utilized, and traditional industrial clusters have conditions and foundations. Source: editor in charge of economic report in the 21st century: Zhong Qiming_ NF5619
Feng Kui said that in general, the role of county towns in urban agglomerations is changing. It used to be the base, and the future is the node of the network.
On the other hand, for the county, we must take the road of characteristic competition. We should rely on differentiated positioning to obtain comparative advantage and competitive advantage. For example, the county is relatively rich in labor resources, collective owned land needs to be fully utilized, and traditional industrial clusters have conditions and foundations.