China's economic powerhouse Guangdong is set to continue its powerful growth streak while targeting 6-6.5 percent in economic growth this year, Governor Ma Xingrui said on Monday.
The GDP in Guangdong Province grew by 6.8 percent year on year and reached 9.73 trillion yuan (about 1.44 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2018, said Ma in a government work report at the opening ceremony for the annual session of the provincial legislature.
The figure accounted for around 10 percent of the national total.
Guangdong is a leading foreign trade player in the country, with its imports and exports topping 7.16 trillion yuan last year, a historic high, ranking first in the country for the 33rd year in a row.
The province's per capita disposable income saw an increase of 8.8 percent to 35,800 yuan (5,264 dollars) last year.
"The economic growth in 2018 was quite a feat, considering the fact that its economic volume is already very large," said Yin Tao, deputy director of the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences.
Yin attributed the sustained economic prosperity to a robust manufacturing sector, booming service sector and huge investment in research and development.
The number of big high-tech firms in Guangdong exceeded 40,000. Last year it spent 250 billion yuan (36.7 billion U.S. dollars) in R&D.
The province, home to 111 million people, has been at the forefront in China's reform and opening up.
The private sector is a major contributor to economic growth. In 2018, the value-added output of the private sector grew 7.3 percent year on year, accounting for 54.1 percent of the provincial GDP.
The output, number of businesses and tax contributions of Guangdong's private sector top among Chinese provincial regions, according to the provincial industry and information technology department.
Private companies generated 65 percent of the province's new patents and over 80 percent of new products, creating over 80 percent of the total new jobs in the province, the department said.
In 2018, 1.48 million new jobs were created in the province, and the urban registered unemployment rate came in at 2.41 percent.
Guangdong was profoundly engaged in the construction of the Belt and Road last year. Trade volume with the Belt and Road countries rose 7.3 percent in 2018 while the actual investment to these countries saw a dramatic increase of 64.2 percent.