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'Panda capital' building itself into prime example of nation's opening-up

By Zhuang Qiange and Pang Bo | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-12 09:26
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Cargo being exported to France is loaded onto an aircraft at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in Sichuan province on June 2. PHOTO/CHINA DAILY

Chengdu, the Sichuan provincial capital — also dubbed the "panda capital of the world" — is deepening international exchanges and bolstering its opening-up.

On May 25, the first Chengdu-Europe Express — part of the China-Europe Railway Express leaving for Russia via Alashankou Port — departed from Chengdu International Railway Port bearing the carriage name of "Chengdu-Russia" and carrying 55 freight cars of goods such as color TV sets, spare parts, shoes and clothing.

Up to now, Chengdu has operated nearly 30,000 international trains, connecting 112 cities outside the country, and the cumulative number of China-Europe Railway Express trains departing Chengdu and Chongqing ranks first in the country.

TCL Optoelectronic Technology (Chengdu) Co Ltd was the first local enterprise to use Chengdu's China-Europe Railway Express, and the first processing trade enterprise in the Comprehensive Bonded Zone of Chengdu International Railway Port.

"Chengdu's China-Europe Railway Express has offered high punctuality and stability, helping us expand into the European market," said Chen Hezhi, general manager of the company, adding that by May 27, TCL had shipped 26,400 containers via the express, with an export value of some 21.76 billion yuan ($3.04 billion). Of these, 2,033 containers were shipped this year, with a value of 1.22 billion yuan.

With a history of over 4,500 years and now acting as a semi-provincial level city administering 12 districts, five county-level cities and three counties, Chengdu is making better use of its convenient air, highway and railway travel network links.

A key meeting of the Communist Party of China Chengdu Municipal Committee on June 5 passed a decision on speeding up the construction of an international gateway hub city and promoting high-quality development through high-standard opening-up for Chengdu, which now has 21.4 million residents.

For air travel, Chengdu's international and regional regular direct flights have expanded to 71, including 49 passenger routes and 22 freight routes, and forming a network of intercontinental routes reaching Europe, Asia, the United States, Australia and Africa.

As services trade is an important part of international commerce, Chengdu has issued a series of support policies in recent years, encouraging services trade enterprises to expand globally.

SystImmune, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chengdu-based Sichuan Biokin Pharmaceuticals Co Ltd, and US-based Bristol-Myers Squibb Co reached a global strategic cooperation agreement on Dec 11 on the development and commercialization rights of BL-B01D1 (EGFRXHER3 bispecific antibody-drug conjugate) in the United States. It had a potential total transaction value of up to $8.4 billion, breaking the record for Chinese-made innovative drugs going global.

In the first quarter, the firm received the first batch of authorized license transactions of $800 million, it said, adding that Chengdu's favorable policies encouraging pharmaceutical companies to increase R&D efforts, go global and expand exports, have injected vital momentum into its development.

In the first quarter, the total import and export value of Chengdu's services trade jumped by 84.3 percent year-on-year, making it a vital force in promoting the city's high-quality development of foreign trade.

Meanwhile, Chengdu is also deepening economic and trade exchanges with the outside world through other means.

Regarding cultural and sporting exhibition sectors, the city has made full use of domestic and international resources, and sped up the clustering of manufacturing, capital and talent in the metropolis.

On May 18, the 2024 Invest-Chengdu Conference kicked off in the city, showcasing 232 projects to attract targeted investment exceeding 840 billion yuan.

Relevant data show that Chengdu has set up economic and trade ties with 235 countries and regions around the world, with an average of two foreign-funded enterprises emerging in the city every day, with 315 of the Fortune Global 500 enterprises having a presence there.

"We started our going-global layout in 2022, and now we have established cooperation with partners in Uzbekistan," said Liu Yong, chief of the market development department of Chengdu Shiny Technology Co Ltd, adding that they will bring Uzbek businesses to Chengdu while helping more local enterprises to explore the international market.

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