GDP soars in Guangdong's pilot free trade zone

This undated photo shows a bird's eye view of Qianhai of Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China. [PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY]

The China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone saw its gross domestic product more than double to 466.3 billion yuan ($65.4 billion) last year after eight years of operation.

The zone has focused on the building of a modern industrial system, which includes automobiles, artificial intelligence, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, integrated circuits, modern financial services and professional service, said Zhang Jinsong, director of the Guangdong Commerce Department, at a news conference in Guangzhou on Wednesday.

Launched in 2015, the zone includes areas of Hengqin, Zhuhai; Nansha, Guangzhou; and Qianhai and Shekou in Shenzhen. It has embraced more than 260,000 new businesses and utilized $50 billion in foreign investment with its commitment to align with international standards and rules, Zhang said.

The zone is running the shortest foreign investment negative list in the country and has cut the average customs clearance time by 80 percent, with foreign trade increasing by an average 25 percent annually over the past eight years.

It has also made breakthroughs in cooperation with the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions in the sectors of financial services, legal services, tourism and architecture, he said.