DALIAN -- China's northeastern coastal city of Dalian is making itself ready to play host to more than 1,700 participants in the Inaugural Annual Meeting of the New Champions, also dubbed as "Summer Davos".
Convened by the World Economic Forum, the meeting is scheduled to open here on Thursday. Different from the forum's annual meeting at the Swiss winter resort of Davos, the meeting at Dalian is focused on newly emerging businesses and nations.
Dalian in Liaoning Province is a major port, industrial, trade and tourism city. "Hosting the forum will bring the city more chances to open itself up. It is also an excellent opportunity for local companies to emerge as global players," said Xia Deren, mayor of Dalian.
"We hope Dalian will be better known to people around the world amid and after the meeting," he said, adding that the city has been fully prepared for the meeting.
Local police have sent speed boats to patrol the areas close to the major venue, and are tightening security ahead of the visit of high-ranking officials including Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
Ten leading hotels in the city have been tightly booked for the event. Shangri-La Hotel's local managers said they have invited chefs from Jordan, Italy, Japan and Singapore to cater to the different tastes of guests. Newspapers of different languages are also sent to the hotel rooms.
The city, with a downtown population of more than two million and about 500,000 vehicles, introduces traffic restriction from September 4 to 8, allowing cars with odd or even numbered plates to hit the road on alternative dates. However, taxis, buses and special vehicles are free to run.
During the meeting, 395 sponsored cars and 57 buses will be in service for the participants.
Government officials, entrepreneurs and specialists will discuss a wide range of issues such as changing global business environment, China's economic development and cooperation between traditional and new actors.
In the past two decades, Dalian has been one of the fastest growing cities in China. In 2006, it registered a total GDP of 256. 9 billion yuan (US$34 billion), up 16.5 percent over 2005. It received about 700,000 visitors from overseas last year, according to statistics on the city's official website.