(ATF) China's national high-tech zones have maintained growth despite the impact of the coronavirus epidemic, a senior official said on Thursday.
In May, revenue from the 169 high-tech zones reached 3.27 trillion yuan ($467 billion), up 10.3% year-on-year, while export volumes from them reached 319bn yuan, up 14%, said Xu Nanping, vice minister of science and technology, at a press conference.
In the first quarter, the high-tech zones employed more than 26.6 million people, up 2.1%. A total of 508,000 new jobs were created during the period, up 6.7%.
China has granted high-tech zone status to areas around the country, offering companies that work within them tax breaks and other incentives to operate and grow. Such regions have been given additional planning prominence during the pandemic because the government sees digital and other technology-based industries as key to rebuilding the coronavirus-hit economy.
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A State Council guideline issued earlier this week urged faster development of the zones in order to accelerate innovation. The top political organ said more money should be allocated to them.
Last year, the zones created 12.2tn yuan in output and paid 1.9tn yuan in taxes and fees, accounting for 12.3% of China's GDP and 11.8% of the country's tax revenue.
Research and development expenditure of enterprises in the national high-tech zones totalled 826bn yuan, accounting for half the R&D expenditure of enterprises in the China last year. The number of invention patents authorised accounted for 37.5% of the country's total.
By the end of 2019, national high-tech zones housed 81,000 high-tech enterprises, accounting for 36% of the country's total.