President visits 'education city' that has 60,000 students and teachers.
President Xi Jinping promised during a visit to Guizhou province to promote vocational education to support manufacturing and alleviate poverty.
During a visit to Qingzhen Vocational Education City on Wednesday, Xi said vocational education is an important part of China's education system.
A large number of technicians and skilled workers are urgently needed in different professions and trades, Xi told students at Guizhou Machinery Industry School, a 6,000-student vocational school that trains equipment technicians, according to video footage on China Central Television.
The footage showed Xi watching students operating machines, and a student showed the president a chessboard made of aluminum alloy.
Qingzhen Vocational Education City, an area of about 50 square kilometers in Qingzhen, is now home to 19 vocational schools and more than 60,000 students and teachers.
Qingzhen students who are not admitted to senior high schools and universities can receive free vocational training in schools in the vocational education city - a way to eliminate poverty, the education city's website says.
Although the Guizhou economy expanded by 10.4 percent in the first quarter this year - the second-fastest rate in the country in that period, following 10.8 percent growth last year - it is still one of the provincial areas with the highest concentration of poverty-stricken communities.
Total economic volume in Guizhou reached $148.9 billion last year, ranking only 26th among the 31 provincial areas on the Chinese mainland. By 2013, nearly 7.5 million of Guizhou's rural population were still living below the poverty line - about $370 a year.
Xi urged Guizhou to adopt a unique development path, different from both the nation's east and the west, and to catch up with the developed areas.
During his trip, Xi also called for more investment in the big data industry while he visited a big data exhibition center in Guiyang, Guizhou's capital. More effort should be made to promote the integration of information and industrialization, he said.
Experts said Guizhou, where temperatures are moderate and hydropower is abundant, is a suitable place for the development of the big data industry, which requires a cool climate and relatively cheap energy.
It is the first province in China to come up with a big data industrial development plan, which envisions a big data trading center, free Wi-Fi and a big data laboratory. So far, data centers of Foxconn, China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom have set up shops in Guiyang.
Statistics from the Guiyang municipal government show that the total value of the big data industry in the city reached 66.3 billion yuan ($10.71 billion) by the end of last year.
During his three-day visit to the southwestern province, Xi told the local government it could improve its people's livelihoods through sound management of key issues including education, medical care, social security and food safety. He called for better care for senior citizens and rural children whose parents have left them to work in cities.
Xinhua contributed to this story.