(Yicai Global) Jan. 15 -- China's southern economic powerhouse of Guangzhou has become the country's fourth city, after Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, to boast a gross domestic product exceeding CNY2 trillion (USD 310 billion), the city's Mayor Wen Guihui said during a recent government meeting.
The city, located in southern Guangdong province, is expected to see its economy expand 7 percent annually in 2017, reaching CNY2.15 trillion.
Guangzhou could join the ranks of the world's top 20 cities in terms of total economic output in the future, a report from Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences said. The first-tier city's global economic impact is equivalent to that of the medium-developed countries such as Singapore and Israel.
The automobile manufacturing sector continued to represent a pillar industry in the city last year exceeding CNY500 billion USD(77.4 billion) in output, ranking at the forefront of major cities. The information service sector became the sixth sector in the city to exceed CNY100 billion in value last year.
The city is also seeing an influx of new high-tech enterprises with over 4,000 such firms established last year, said Zhou Jianjun, director of the Guangzhou Municipal Development and Reform Commission.
Gaps still remain in several areas compared to the other three first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen in terms of per capita GDP and the quality of development. For example, Guangzhou's population is current is 2.5 times that of Singapore, though per capita GDP is less than half that of the sovereign city-state.
Compared with Singapore, Guangzhou still has gaps in terms of income distribution and social public services, said Peng Peng, vice-president of the Comprehensive Reform and Development Research Institute of Guangdong Province.
In terms of housing, some 80 percent of residents in Singapore live in public housing (low-cost state-built housing provided by the city-state's public housing authority) to achieve affordable housing for residents. Singapore's higher education level is also a regional leader, and its healthcare standards are also high. Guangzhou still has a long way to go in contrast, Peng added.