Beijing: China's regional economies grew stably in the first half of 2016, but were marked by performance divergence, the government said on Saturday.
The underdeveloped western region posted the fastest growth rate of 8 per cent year-on-year, well above the national average of 6.7 percent; the central and east regions grew by 7.8 per cent and 7.6 per cent respectively; while the northeast rust belt increased by 2.2 per cent, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the top economic planner.
Meanwhile, fixed asset investment and industrial value-added output in the west region expanded by 13.5 per cent and 7.2 per cent.
In the first six months, Chongqing and Tibet in the west led the growth at the provincial level, both posted growth speed of 10.6 per cent, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
In sharp contrast, the northeastern steel-making province of Liaoning saw its economy shrink by 1 per cent in the first half of 2016 from the same period last year, the only province to report a contraction.
Liaoning was one of the last of China's 31 provincial regions to announce its gross domestic product (GDP) data.
Figures are yet to be published for highly industrialized Heilongjiang in the northeast.
The provincial growth imbalance came as China tries to restructure its economy from one that is export driven to consumer driven.
China's economy grew 6.7 per cent year-on-year in Q2, aided by infrastructure investment, a housing boom and bank lending. The growth rate is the country's slowest quarterly growth since the first quarter of 2009.
Last year China's GDP slowed down to 6.9 per cent. The government has fixed this year's target between 6.5 per cent to 7 per cent.
To bolster economic growth, the top economic planner has suggested more policy tools to boost private investment rather than relying on government spending.
The private sector will be important to supporting economic growth, generating about 60 per cent of China's GDP and around 80 per cent of jobs.
However, private investment has been slowing. It increased by only 2.8 per cent in H1, down from 3.9 per cent in the first five months of the year,cry from the breakneck growth seen over the last decade, which was over 20 per cent each year, the Xinhua report said.