Michelin Challenge latest global event in Chengdu
Updated: 2014-11-27 07:51
By Li Yu and Peng Chao in Chengdu(China Daily)
Though an inland city in southwestern China, Chengdu is now one of the nation's top destinations for international conventions and exhibitions.
The most recent was the 12th Michelin Challenge Bibendum.
Launched in 1998, the event is an international forum that brings together political decision-makers, industry representatives and scientists to discuss sustainable mobility challenges and solutions.
This year it drew some 3,000 participants from around the world who shared insights on the theme of "innovation in mobility at the heart of growth and urban well-being".
It is the first time for the event to come to western China, and third time in the country. It was held in Shanghai in 2004 and 2007.
Both Chengdu and Michelin are located at the center of their regions and act as an engine for economic development, former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Rafarin said at the opening ceremony.
"The two sides have great potential and broad prospects for cooperation based on their common vision and expectations for the future and in innovation," he said.
Western China is becoming the most dynamic region of the country thanks to China's "Go West" campaign and national strategy to develop the Silk Road Economic Belt.
Ideally positioned to serve as a hub in the western part of the country, Chengdu is also China's third-largest car producing city.
Jean-Dominique S��nard, CEO of Michelin Group, said Chengdu has a solid foundation in the automobile industry and provides access to the huge western China market, making it a perfect place to hold the Michelin Challenge Bibendum.
"China faces problems in sustainable mobility due to the rapid economic development in recent years. As a representative of China's fast-developing cities, Chengdu is also of much research value," he added.
Philippe Verneuil, president of Michelin China, said Chengdu made a deep impression on him when he was at the Fortune Global Forum in the city last year.
"The Sichuan and Chengdu governments provide strong support for hosting such major global events. It is a key factor why we put the event here," he said.
Last year, Chengdu hosted the Fortune Global Forum 2013 and the 12th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention, making it the first city to hold the two events in the same year.
"Chengdu has gained global attention from exhibitors and conference organizers since then and become a top destination in central and western China for global events," said an official at the Chengdu Bureau of Exposition.
International events staged in Chengdu this year include the 90th National Sugar & Wine Trade Fair, the Chengdu Motor Show 2014, the Sino-German Dialogue Forum 2014, the 15th International Furniture Fair Chengdu, the 2014 Chengdu Creative Design Week, and the 15th Western China International Fair.
The Western China International Fair was founded in 2000 for implementation of the "Go West" campaign put forward by the central government.
One of the largest, most influential and advanced economic and trade fairs in China, it serves as an important venue for the opening-up and development of western China.
The fair this year attracted some 60,000 participants from 98 countries around the world. The exhibition covered 240,000 square meters and facilitated 1,067 investment deals worth 805 billion yuan ($131 billion).
The 2014 Chengdu Creative Design Week that aims to promote the city's cultural industry was held from Oct 1 to 14.
The event gathered 5,000 creative designs and products from countries and regions including the United Kingdom and Italy, as well as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Beijing. It attracted more than 11,2000 visitors from around the world. The trade volume totaled 480 million yuan.
The Chengdu Bureau of Expositions and other government departments are striving to make the city a world-class exhibition and convention center.
In July, the bureau signed a cooperation agreement with Italy's Fiera Roma exhibition company, which followed partnerships with other world-renowned exhibition companies including German's Koelnmesse, and Britain's UBM and Reed Exhibitions.
The city started construction on the Western China International Expo Center in June.
Covering 840,000 square meters, it will become the largest in central and western China when complete in 2016.
The latest data shows Chengdu held 415 major events in the first 10 months of this year, including 85 international conventions and 40 international exhibitions. The events generated direct revenue of 5.87 billion yuan, a 17.6 percent rise year-on-year.
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Participants test drive vehicles using eco-friendly technologies during the Michelin Challenge Bibendum in mid-November. Photos Provided to China Daily
Foreign businessmen discuss opportunities at the Western China International Fair.
(China Daily 11/27/2014 page7)