As efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 are paying off, the overwhelming majority of western China achieved positive economic growth in the first half, the latest economic data showed.

By July 21, Chongqing municipality, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Gansu and Qinghai provinces-as well as the Guangxi Zhuang, Ningxia Hui, Tibet, Xinjiang Uygur and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions-had announced their economic data for the first half. Only Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia reported negative growth.

Analyzing the data, the 21st Century Economic Research Institute concluded that the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the economic development of western China gradually eased.

In the first half, Sichuan led in western China with a GDP of 2.21 trillion yuan ($316 billion). The GDP of Shaanxi, Chongqing, Yunnan and Guangxi all exceeded 1 trillion yuan.

The GDP of Guizhou, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Gansu was between 400 billion yuan and 700 billion yuan, while that of Ningxia and Qinghai was 176.4 billion yuan and 139.1 billion yuan, respectively. The GDP of Tibet stood at 83.8 billion yuan and it was the only economy in western China with a GDP under 100 billion yuan.

In the first half, many areas of western China issued consumption vouchers and introduced stimulus policies to accelerate consumption, achieving obvious results, said Li Guo, an analyst at the 21st Century Economic Research Institute.

But the tourism industry in western China was greatly affected, Li said.

In the first half, the total number of tourists in Guizhou was 173 million, representing a decline of 69.9 percent over the same period last year, and total tourism revenue was 142.4 billion yuan, a decline of 75.2 percent from the same period last year.

The foreign trade situation of western China was mixed, Li said.

Chongqing’s total imports and exports of goods amounted to 275.9 billion yuan in the first half, up 3.5 percent over the same period last year. Electronic information products were key to promoting export growth of the municipality.

In the first half, Chongqing’s exports of electronic information products reached 126.1 billion yuan, up 5.2 percent year-on-year and accounting for 74.2 percent of its total exports.

At the same time, imports and exports of Xinjiang and Gansu decreased by 11.5 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively, over the same period of last year.

As the havoc of COVID-19 waned, industrial recovery in western China where exports account for a relatively low proportion of local economies became the driving force behind its economic development in the first half.

In Ningxia, the growth rate of value-added output of local industries above a designated size increased by 3.4 percent over the same period last year, raising its economic growth rate by one percentage point, Li said.

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