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Chengdu hosts more Fortune 500 firms

Updated: 2013-05-31 09:21
By Zheng Yangpeng (China Daily)

Thirty-one more Fortune 500 companies have established a presence in Chengdu since it was chosen to host the 2013 Fortune Global Forum, demonstrating the increasing international appeal of the city.

Multinationals as Roche, Danone and Schneider Electric have set up their regional headquarters in Chengdu, meaning the city now plays host to a total of 238 members of the Fortune 500, officials announced at a news conference.

"Western China has proved to be a major draw for leaders from all over the world. We are pleased to bring that focus to Chengdu, a city at the center of the region's story of development," said Andrew Serwer, Fortune's managing editor.

More than 600 leaders from governments, multinationals and civil society will attend the forum from June 6 to 8, which Serwer noted as being the strongest response in its history.

Zhang Gaoli, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and executive vice-premier, has been invited to deliver a speech at the opening night dinner.

The forum, under the theme of "China's new future", will include four major topics: "China Century", "sustainable development", "innovation and technology", and "global financial crisis and economic recovery".

Serwer said Fortune chose Chengdu because the city embodies China's new trends: the quick economic growth of western regions, the fast urbanization process, and the transition from a production-and-export-oriented economy to a more consumption-led economy.

Xu Fengxian, a senior researcher with the Institute of Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Fortune's decision shows that China's economic gravity is moving westward and the region is opening up more to the world.

Sichuan, the province in which Chengdu is located, is an example of the trend.

From 2008 to 2012, the province's GDP grew at an average rate of 13.6 percent. In 2012, its GDP hit 2.38 trillion yuan ($388 billion), the eighth largest economy nationwide and the largest in western China, according to Gan Lin, Sichuan's deputy governor.

Chengdu has also been a showcase for western China's growing integration into the world economy.

Ge Honglin, mayor of the city, announced that Chengdu recently opened another four direct flight lines to Frankfurt, London, Melbourne and Vancouver, bringing its total number of international flight lines to 58. This June, a direct line to San Francisco will join them.

The city is also striving to be an international logistics center for rail and air. The first freight train between Chengdu and the Polish city of Lodz started running on April 26th, shortening the shipping time between the cities by two thirds.

Since Shanghai became the first Chinese city to host the Fortune Global Forum in 1999, the country has witnessed a dramatic economic rise.