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Hongqiao CBD to become locomotive for development

By Shi Jing in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2019-12-11 09:21
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A bird's eye view of the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), which is located in the Hongqiao central business district. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Shanghai's latest plan targets to turn district into global business, trade center

Shanghai Hongqiao central business district, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, will be developed into an international business and trade center facilitating Shanghai's new round of opening-up, according to the municipal government's latest plan.

In mid-November, Shanghai released the action plan detailing efforts to expand the district by another 64.8 square kilometers. The plan states that the area will become an important driver for regional economic development by 2022 and global hub by 2025.

Apart from its role of furthering Shanghai's continued reform and opening-up, the Hongqiao CBD will also facilitate the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region. Efforts will be made to create an internationally first-class business environment, said the plan.

Specifically, the Hongqiao CBD will become a highland of the modern service industry by elevating its commercial capacity. More efforts will be made to build a cluster of professional service providers such as accounting firms, law firms and consultancies in the district.

Meanwhile, the district will feature signature industrial parks and office buildings, such as those housing the regional headquarters of Fortune 500 companies. Innovation incubators and service platforms to advance commercial technology applications will be set up in the district to explore new retail business models. An industrial platform for artificial intelligence will also be introduced.

"Shanghai has strategically designated the Hongqiao CBD and Lingang Special Area as the two wings for its future development," said Sun Yuanxin, a professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and deputy dean of its Institute for Free Trade Zone Research.

While Lingang is expected to use the world's most competitive regions as a benchmark for the establishment of fair trade, the Hongqiao CBD is set to become an important engine that drives high-quality development of the regional economy, said Sun.

According to Min Shilin, executive deputy director of the Hongqiao CBD, "internationalization" will be one of the keywords for the high-quality development of the district.

On one hand, the Hongqiao CBD should attract international capital, Fortune 500 companies, multinational enterprises, products, talents, services, education and culture. On the other, the zone should also export products and services and even deliver domestically created systems and ideas to the rest of the world.

"Internationalization of the Hongqiao CBD should help give Shanghai more say in global resource allocation and economic development. In this way, Shanghai will become an engine of global economic development and the cradle of new business models. It is our hope that Shanghai will also grow into a source of new economic order and theories for the world through the development of the Hongqiao CBD," he said.

Min said that the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region will be another key instrument in the Hongqiao CBD's development. Among the 52,000 companies that are currently based in the district, about 40 percent of them are backed by investment from entrepreneurs in the Yangtze River Delta region.

"It is only when the Hongqiao CBD completely integrates itself into the Yangtze River Delta region that it can gain the upper hand in global competition," said Min.

According to Yang Jianwen, a senior expert at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Hongqiao CBD is home to the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai)-the venue for the annual China International Import Expo-and this means that it is well-positioned to connect onshore and offshore businesses as well as online and offline commerce.

"It should be the CBD's ultimate goal to become an international hub for digital trade. In this sense, the local administrators should promote businesses such as information services, technology trade, service trade, finance leasing and international trade settlement. More cross-border e-commerce companies should be encouraged to set up their operations here," he said.

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