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China: Beijing’s GDP to break 1-trillion-yuan mark in 2008

Beijing’s GDP is expected to break the 1-trillion-yuan mark ($146.2 billion) this year thanks to its hosting of the Olympic Games, a city official said on Sunday.

The Games had given impetus and vigor to Beijing’s economy and helped the city achieve sound and fast economic development, said Wang Haiping, deputy director of the Municipal Development and Reform Commission (BMDRC).

In 2007, the city’s GDP grew 12.3% over a year earlier to stand at 900 billion yuan, twice that of 2001 when it won the bid to host the Games, Wang said. Over the past six years, Beijing’s annual GDP growth was 12.4% on average. Figures from the Beijing Statistics Bureau (BSB) showed the city’s GDP reached 497.3 billion yuan in the H1, up 11% from the same period last year. Wang said GDP per capita had risen from $3,262 in 2001 to $7,654 last year, and would surpass $8,000 this year.

Hosting the Olympic Games had boosted the city’s economy with infrastructure investment, a better environment, increased consumption and improved living standards, he said. According to the BSB, Beijing’s annual GDP growth from 2005 to 2008, which saw huge investments for the Olympics, would reach 11.8% on average, 0.8 percentage point higher than the 2001-2005 period.

In 2007, the Olympic factor contributed 1.14% to the growth rate, according to BSB estimates. The bureau forecast the Olympic factor, which referred to the impetus generated by investment in infrastructure and sports facilities, would add 0.85% to Beijing’s GDP growth this year. As a whole, economic activities related to the Games would have generated a combined GDP of 105.5 billion yuan for Beijing during 2004-2008, according to the BSB.

The municipal government reported on Friday that it had spent less than 13 billion yuan on the construction of 31 competition venues, 45 training venues and other Games facilities. On Saturday, BMDRC deputy director Lu Yingchuan said economists were generally agreed that the economy of Beijing would experience no big fluctuations or slump after the Olympics. (Xinhua)