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Yunnan's rapid economic growth continues

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Yunnan's gross domestic product was up 12.5 percent year-on-year in the first three months of 2011, growing to 173.9 billion yuan (US$26.6 billion), according to newly released data from the Yunnan Provincial Statistics Bureau.

GDP growth in Yunnan, which was higher than the national average by 2.8 percentage points, ranked 16th nationally and seventh in western China. The fact that seven of the 16 fastest-growing economies in mainland China's 32 administrative regions are in the country's west underscores the success of Beijing's Go West policy in spurring the region's economic growth.

Agricultural production was up 3.1 percent, totaling 30.4 billion yuan, just under half of industrial output, which expanded 15.9 percent over the first quarter of 2010 to reach 62.5 billion yuan.

Industrial production in traditionally agrarian Yunnan is expected to continue to grow for the foreseeable future, especially on the back of the opening of Kunming's new airport later this year and the launch of operations at a planned oil refinery in Anning in 2012.

Another pillar of Yunnan's plan to sustain economic growth, the retail sector, swelled 17 percent to 66.2 billion yuan.

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