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Ice-and-snow Fervor Fuels Full Revitalization of Northeast China

By Xinhua|Jan 31,2024

* This winter, Harbin, capital city of China's northernmost Heilongjiang Province, has enjoyed prominence as a top winter destination.

* Northeast China has also been constantly using cutting-edge technologies since 2023, in its bid to foster new industries, nurture new productive forces, and add new drivers to the transformation and development of old industrial bases.

Harbin - Once the nation's heavy-industry heartland, northeast China has in recent years seen an escalating winter sports boom and also grasped other golden opportunities courtesy of its silvery snow.

This winter, Harbin, capital city of China's northernmost Heilongjiang Province, has enjoyed prominence as a top winter destination.

An aerial drone photo shows tourists visiting the Harbin Ice-Snow World in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, Jan. 26, 2024. (Photo/Zhang Tao, Xinhua)

Despite the temperature plummeting below minus 20 degrees Celsius, thousands of tourists persisted in enjoying the majestic ice sculptures at the Harbin Ice-Snow World, a renowned ice-and-snow theme park.

"Upon arriving in Harbin, we immediately visited this venue, which has become a sensation on social media this winter!" said Qi Song, a tourist traveling with his family from central China's Henan Province.

During the three-day New Year holiday, the "ice city" of Harbin received more than 3 million visitors, raking in 5.91 billion yuan (about 831 million U.S. dollars) of tourism revenue. Both the number of tourists and the amount of tourism revenue surpassed the figures for 2019, marking a historical peak.

The popularity of Harbin echoes the opinions expressed at the local "two sessions" of the three northeast provinces of China in January. The northeast China consists of the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning.

People visit an exhibition during the 2023 Liaoning International Fair of Investment and Trade in Shenyang, northeast China's Liaoning Province, Sept. 25, 2023. (Photo/Long Lei, Xinhua)

Local "two sessions," the annual meetings of provincial-level lawmakers and political advisors, discuss local economic and social development during the previous year and also make plans for the year ahead.

According to lawmakers and political advisors who attended the "two sessions" of the three provinces, the region witnessed improved economic development, accelerated industrial transformation and enhanced innovation capacity in 2023, which instilled confidence and laid the foundation for the full revitalization of northeast China in the new era.

During the local "two sessions" meetings in the three northeast provinces, more efforts and progress in pursuit of the full revitalization of northeast China were unveiled.

In 2023, the economic aggregate of Liaoning Province exceeded 3 trillion yuan for the first time, with an economic growth rate reaching 5.3 percent, surpassing the national average for the first time in a decade.

Jilin Province saw its GDP grow by 6.3 percent in 2023, ranking among the top achievers in the country, while Heilongjiang's grain production reached about 77.88 billion kilograms last year, accounting for 11.2 percent of the country's total and ranking first in the country for 14 consecutive years.

Northeast China has also been constantly using cutting-edge technologies since 2023, in its bid to foster new industries, nurture new productive forces, and add new drivers to the transformation and development of old industrial bases.

A drone photo taken on March 8, 2023 shows wind turbine blades produced by Chongtong Chengfei New Material Co., Ltd. in Da'an City, northeast China's Jilin Province. (Photo/Jiang Mingming, Xinhua)

"New productive forces provide scientific guidance for accelerating scientific and technological innovation and promoting high-quality development in the new era," said Zhang Changbin, a political advisor in Heilongjiang.

According to the government work report delivered at the annual session of the provincial people's congress in Heilongjiang, the province will accelerate the development of the digital economy and deepen the R&D and application of big data and artificial intelligence in 2024, while also developing and strengthening electronic information and other industries.

From traditional agriculture to emerging industries, local deputies and political advisors of the three provinces are confident of the revitalization prospects of northeast China and full of positive expectations for high-quality development of this region.

As for economic prospects in 2024, Jilin has set a gross domestic product (GDP) growth target of about 6 percent for this year, while Liaoning and Heilongjiang have both set their 2024 GDP growth targets at around 5.5 percent.

"Northeast China has a solid industrial and scientific research foundation, and is now shifting from traditional and modern industrialization to new industrialization," said Li Zheng, dean of the School of Economics at Liaoning University, who thinks breakthroughs will be made in the full revitalization of northeast China during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).

"Meanwhile, northeast China is continuously optimizing its institutions, mechanisms and business environment, which will further stimulate the vitality of market entities and the potential for social creation," Li added.

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