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Metropolis to further ramp up high-level opening-up

By CAO CHEN in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2021-11-10 10:09
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An aerial view of the Lingang Special Area of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone in Shanghai. [Photo by Gao Erqiang/China Daily]

Shanghai will deepen its high-level opening up to drive reform, development and innovation, Mayor Gong Zheng said at a convention to promote the city on Saturday.

Gong said the city will constantly welcome foreign investment, better protect the legal rights and interests of foreign invested enterprises, and provide better services for them.

One of the measures taken will accelerate the opening-up of regulations and standards in the Pudong New Area, a pioneer area for reforms in China. Tougher stress tests will be conducted in the Lingang Special Area of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone as well, he added.

"Efforts will also be made to build the Hongqiao International Hub into a distribution center for international trade," Gong said.

The plan also includes enhancing the integration of the digital economy and the real economy, reinforcing the digital upgrading of core social sectors such as education, healthcare and civilization, and expanding application scenarios of digitalization in urban and rural communities.

Gong pointed out the city is committed to creating a world-class business environment that is backed by high administrative efficiency, standardized government services, and a comprehensive legal system for trade and investment.

To achieve this, the city will continue to implement the negative list for market access and abolish regulations and practices that hinder fair competition and the formation of a unified market.

Gong noted that Shanghai "craves talent now more than ever", and the city will be enhancing medical services for expats and international educational resources for their children in order to attract high-quality talent.

Deals for 19 projects worth 17.8 billion yuan ($2.78 billion) in investments were signed at the convention. The projects are related to sectors such as biomedicine, integrated circuits and artificial intelligence.

Official data show that Shanghai is now home to nearly 17,000 high-tech enterprises, 501 foreign-invested R&D centers, and 818 regional headquarters of multinational corporations.

"Shanghai has a unique, modern business environment," said Rajat Agarwal, president of Henkel Greater China, a German chemical and consumer goods company that has its Asia-Pacific headquarters in the city.

Agarwal said the company is in the process of investing and upgrading one of its bases in Zhangjiang, Pudong New Area. The upgraded facility, which represents an investment of 500 million yuan, will become the company's second largest inspiration center in the world by 2023.

"Shanghai provides a good environment for hiring top global talents. We are pleased to be part of the city and will make tailor-made solutions for Chinese customers. It's our plan to improve the capacity of manufacturing operations in the two facilities we already have in the domestic market," he said.

The conducive business environment in the city has also attracted other major firms such as British-Swedish pharmaceutical conglomerate AstraZeneca.

Lured by Shanghai's influence in the Yangtze River Delta region, the company established a global R&D center in the city as well as manufacturing sites in neighboring Jiangsu province.

"The city is where many of our partners, including universities and research institutes, are located. It is also a place where we get to witness the growth of the country, which is a key target of our investments," said Wang Lei, executive vice-president, international and China president of AstraZeneca.

Unveiled in Jing'an district on Oct 11, the R&D center currently employs nearly 600 scientists. The company said it is aiming to increase the number of scientists at the center to 5,000 in five years.

"We're grateful for the support provided by the district government and expect to contribute to the R&D and innovation of the local medicine industry," Wang added.

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