Zhangjiagang  :  

Spirit of Zhangjiagang

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2015-04-22

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Editor's note: A third tier city with a budding economy in an ideal geographical location. This might seem all too familiar in China, where vast cities have sprung up seemingly overnight since the country's opening-up in the 1980s.

But if you think the city of Zhangjiagang in eastern China's Jiangsu province matches the same profile as the thousands of other broadly-the-same small cities in China, think again.

Famous for its many green spaces and parks, Zhangjiagang was chosen as a pilot city to develop its environment. Authorities in the city have re-energized areas that were previously neglected, planted thousands of trees and implemented a number of programs to create a harmonious society.

The city's economy has undergone a boom in recent years, taking its population up to around 1.5 million and attracting a plethora of foreign companies from the textile, manufacturing, steel and chemical industries.

Among prefecture cities in Jiangsu, Zhangjiagang ranks second in terms of its GDP and places third in the list of national Top 100 Cities ranking with economic strength.

Since the city's establishment of a 'unique model city of the nation' in 1993, modernization has taken place, paving the way for a number of malls, recreational facilities and high-class establishments throughout the city. Thanks to rules and guidelines implemented to encourage mutual respect, and obedience to authority, visitors to Zhangjiagang have commented on the beauty, friendliness and cleanliness of the city compared to others in China.

As foreign investment has poured in over the years, the city has become an increasingly attractive place for foreign experts to reside in, thanks to its obvious economic and geographical benefits but also for its slower pace of life and clean environment.

One such foreigner in the city is George Kastner. No stranger to foreign lands and languages, Kastner was born in Romania to Jewish parents, before moving to Israel and then on to the United States, where he has worked as a distinguished academic. Fluent in four languages, Kastner has worked as an international strategy and operations consultant in 22 countries in the Middle East, Latin American, North America, Europe and Asia, helping to improve efficiency in fields such as telecoms, manufacturing and textiles.

Spirit of Zhangjiagang

George Th. Kastner, Ph.D., CEO of First GTK Growth Tactics [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

His consultancy work as CEO of First GTK Growth Tactics has now brought him to Zhangjiagang, where he advises Jiangsu Guotai Litian Enterprises Co. - a part-government production trading company and the first large industrialized corporation established in the city.

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