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China's industrial output to grow by 11 pct this year and next

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BEIJING, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- China's industrial value-added output will grow by 11 percent this year and next, despite uncertainties including global economic turmoil, weak outbound demand and high inflation, a senior official said Wednesday.

"The country will continue its efforts to promote economic restructuring and energy-saving and emission reduction plans, which may potentially slow industrial output growth over the rest of the year," Xiao Chunquan, deputy director of the Performance Inspection and Coordination Bureau of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said at a press conference.

"But the country will meet its full-year target of 11-percent output growth set at the beginning of 2011," Xiao said.

During the first three quarters of this year, the country's industrial value-added output increased 14.2 percent year-on-year, down 0.1 percentage point from the growth in the first half of this year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Industrial value-added output measures the final results of industrial production, which is the value of gross industrial output minus intermediate inputs, such as raw materials and labor costs.

SMALL FIRMS

Some small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially micro-sized companies, have faced difficulties such as limited access to bank lending, excessive increases in raw-material prices, rising labor costs and heavy tax burdens, said Zheng Xin, deputy director of the ministry's SMEs division, at the same press conference.

The country has introduced a string of measures to tide SMEs over current difficulties, including tax breaks and stronger financial support.

China's banking regulator said Tuesday that commercial banks must ensure the growth of loans extended to small firms is not slower than that for average lending, and ensure that they support borrowers with loans of less than five million yuan (781,250 U.S. dollars).

Zheng said the operations of the country's small and micro-sized firms remain stable, citing a survey on such firms in 13 provinces, which was conducted by central government departments.

Similarly, Sheng Laiyun, spokesman for the NBS, said last week that small and micro-sized firms were experiencing a slowdown in business expansion and decreasing business revenues, but their performances were "generally normal."

"The ministry will create sound business environments, help small firms enhance their ability to innovate and explore overseas markets," Zheng said.

SMEs play a crucial role in China's economy as they account for nearly 80 percent of the country's urban employment.

4G TRIAL

China Mobile Communications Corp. has completed the first phase of its trial of a new fourth-generation mobile network, said Chen Jiachun, deputy director of the ministry's telecommunications development department, at the press conference.

The communications company began a trial of its 4G TD-LTE network in six cities including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Xiamen early this year.

Seven communications-equipment manufacturers and six chip companies from home and abroad also participated in the trial, Chen said.

The trial "effectively pushed forward the development of the 4G technology" and helped establish a complete industry chain that involves domestic and foreign equipment manufacturers, he said.

The country will launch a trial-basis commercialization of the 4G technology "at an appropriate time," Chen added.

In addition, the ministry revealed at the conference that the country's 3G mobile phone users had reached 102 million by the end of September, 43.16 million of which used the country's self-developed TD-SCDMA standard.

When asked how Chinese companies seeking public listings in overseas markets will be affected after China.com, the first Chinese Internet company listed in Nasdaq, filed for bankruptcy protection, Chen said the Internet industry is a vibrant and highly competitive sector.

"It's natural that some enterprises might die and new ones will appear. This is a normal phenomenon that is determined by the rules that govern market economies," he said.

"I believe valuable and competitive Chinese Internet companies will continue to wow overseas investors."

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