Hu Chunhua, the second-youngest member of the Communist Party’s new Politburo, was appointed party boss of Guangdong, the southern manufacturing hub that has China’s biggest provincial economy.
Hu, 49, replaces Wang Yang, a fellow Politburo member whose new post hasn’t been announced, the Xinhua News Agency said yesterday. Wang appeared publicly earlier this month when he hosted the party’s new general secretary, Vice President Xi Jinping, on a tour of the region.
Formerly party secretary of Inner Mongolia province, Hu may become a top leader in the country’s political transition a decade from now, according to political analysts including Bo Zhiyue, senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore’s East Asia Institute. His nickname is “Little Hu” for his close ties to Xi’s predecessor as party general secretary, Hu Jintao.
Guangdong, home to factories assembling products including Apple Inc. iPhones, had gross domestic product of 5.32 trillion yuan ($853.6 billion) last year, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, on par with Indonesia’s. It’s also the most populous province in the world’s most populous country.
Guangdong is home to special economic zones such as Shenzhen that were created during China’s economic reforms under late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. Xi’s father, Xi Zhongxun, led the province in the 1970s and 1980s.
Hu is joined by Sun Zhengcai as the youngest members of the new Politburo. The two could succeed China’s new leaders in 2022, according to Bo and Joseph Cheng, a political science professor at the City University of Hong Kong.
Hu studied Chinese literature at Peking University, where many students who participated in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests were educated. He rose through the party ranks in Tibet before moving on to the top job in Inner Mongolia, which supplies most of China’s raw coal.