Urbanization to usher in new investment

BEIJING, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Urbanization, a key driver of China's economic growth, is expected to accelerate in the coming year and usher in a new round of investment, the China Securities Journal reported on Wednesday.

Market analysts believe that the urbanization drive will create investment opportunities in infrastructure, environmental protection and retail, among other sectors, according to the newspaper.

Jin Bei, head of the Institute of Industrial Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said China's county-level economies are gathering steam in the urbanization process as the majority of rural Chinese head for their nearby counties, instead of traveling a long distance to migrate to big cities.

Developing county-level economies will drive infrastructure development, he said.

Meanwhile, county-level economic sectors are small in scale and are growing at great cost in terms of pollution and use of resources, weighing heavily on the environment, said Jin.

Therefore, their development provides huge opportunities for the environmental protection sector, he said.

CITIC Securities added that in big cities, the urbanization process will benefit sectors related to "smart city" design, including security and surveillance products, and intelligent transportation systems, among others.

Overall, as more rural Chinese settle in cities and towns, retail sales of consumer goods will grow, CITIC Securities said, with more spending on furniture, home appliances, food and beverages, and mobile handsets.

A CASS report forecasts that China's economy may grow 7.5 percent in 2014, with retail sales surging by 13.1 percent, fixed-asset investment up 20.1 percent, and exports up 9.1 percent.