Economic transformation bears fruit in Guizhou

Updated: 2013-05-21 07:50

By Yang Wanli and Yang Jun (China Daily)

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For Lei Hongmei, 24, whose family was moved to a new residential area when construction began on the industrial park, relocation not only provides much better living conditions, but also great business opportunities.

Lei's family lived in Xiaobao village for more than 60 years, but in 2009, when construction began on the industrial park, the local government built the Pearl River residential area to house relocated families.

Economic transformation bears fruit in Guizhou

Workers in the packaging department of De Chang Xiang Co, one of the leading producers of traditional Chinese medicine in Guizhou province. Feng Yongbin / China Daily

Each family in the village was given one or two apartments the same area as their previous homes. With a park, an outdoor exercise area, service centers and a supermarket, Pearl River is almost indistinguishable from modern residential areas in metropolises such as Beijing and Shanghai. Even better for the residents, the new homes were provided gratis.

"Most villagers used to live in adobe houses, some of which had no toilet or shower room," said Lei, who added that her parents have appreciated the move. "As they get older, they need to visit the bathroom more frequently in the evenings and that was really inconvenient in our old home."

Lei said about 30 of her relatives from Xiaobao, which has a population of around 2,800, have now moved to the Pearl River complex. In addition to being given new homes, the villagers were also compensated for the move: "Some of the families still have farming land in the villages, while others used their compensation to open small businesses," Lei said.

The local government provides free technical training courses for the younger and middle-aged villagers, focusing on the sort of work that will be available in the industrial park when construction is completed in 2020.

Lei has a strong sense of how to run a business. House decorations are in great demand as a result of the relocation of the village and, sensing an opportunity, she opened a lighting shop in Pearl River, selling European-style crystal chandeliers. A chandelier with a diameter of 60 centimeters sells for about 1,000 yuan, and Lei earns around 60,000 yuan annually from the business.

"I think the relocation of our village is what the government calls urbanization. It has improved the standard of living in the rural areas. More importantly, even though we are no longer farmers, we have other opportunities to make a living using our own abilities and the recently acquired skills, which really makes us the same as urban residents," she said.

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