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Shanghai aims to become IT savvy center
( 2003-07-31 14:53) (Eastday.com)

Shanghai's top two leaders vowed on Wednesday to use emerging technologies to help turn the city into a major information technology hub in the Asia- Pacific region by 2010.

"Often the emergence of a new technology can offer good opportunities for developing countries to narrow their gap with advanced economies," Secretary of Chinese Communist Party Shanghai Committee Chen Liangyu told about 500 officials, senior executives and scholars.

"We haven't invested huge funds in old technologies like many major international cities, so we can adopt new technologies more aggressively. On the other hand, we are also more advanced than most domestic cities," Chen said. "This unique position is our advantage, we cannot afford to miss it."

The government Wednesday introduced its blueprint for developing the information technology sector over the next eight years.

According to the plan, Shanghai should match other major international cities in the developed countries in using the information technology by 2005.

To meet that goal, the city's Internet penetration rate among the public should reach 50 percent, while local residents should spend 10 percent of their disposable income on information services. The city government should also be able to provide 90 percent of its services over the Web.

The plan also calls for Shanghai to establish the basic framework of a digital city - meaning most information resources are digitized and processed through an integrated network - by 2007.

The plan's ultimate goal is to make Shanghai an important telecom hub in the Asia-Pacific region with an active Internet-based economy by 2010.

"We are not developing information technology for its own sake, it should help upgrade our traditional manufacturing and service industries, as well as government reform," said Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng. "We have already built an advanced information infrastructure, it will pay off by helping us shore up local economic development."

Even before the plan was announced, information technology had already emerged as one of the city's pillar industries.

In the first half of this year, the information industry accounted for 10.1 percent of the city's gross domestic product, compared with 5.3 percent in 1997. To date, one-third of all foreign investment pouring into the city was aimed at the information industry and local information technology companies contributed one-fifth of the city's export revenues last year.

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