City policies encouraging innovation

Forum on foreign-funded R&D centers told that Shanghai will never cease expanding opening up and improving the business environment. 
Dong Jun / SHINE

The China International Import Expo opens to the general public for the first day on Friday. About 250,000 people are expected to visit the expo site on the last day of the event on Saturday. 

As the first China International Import Expo comes to a close on Saturday, a forum was told that Shanghai will never cease expanding opening-up, improving the business environment and encouraging innovation.

Friday’s annual forum on foreign research and development centers in Shanghai saw representatives of seven foreign R&D centers and SAIC Motor share their achievements and research results as well as their thoughts on technology and innovation.

By September this year, 438 qualified foreign-funded R&D centers had been set up in Shanghai and had developed at a rapid pace with the support of the government’s preferential policies, according to Yang Chao, deputy director of the city’s commerce commission.

Yang quoted President Xi Jinping’s speech at the opening ceremony of the expo: “Every city has its character. Located where the Yangtze River flows into the Pacific Ocean, Shanghai has been a pioneer of opening in China. The city’s development is made possible by its character, competitive edge and steps toward greater opening. Having myself worked here, I know personally just how important it is for Shanghai to be open and for China to keep the city open. Indeed, openness, innovation and inclusiveness have become the hallmark of Shanghai. They are also a vivid reflection of China in the new era and its commitment to development and progress.”

Yang added: “President Xi also mentioned the importance of developing the input-output efficiency of urban economic density, the ability to allocate global resources and the innovation strategies, which, I think, have laid a solid foundation for our further promotion of foreign-funded R&D centers in Shanghai.”

Shanghai, as a pioneer in reform, opening-up, innovation and development, has issued 22 measures to develop as a technology and innovation center and 30 measures on promoting the transformation of scientific and technological achievements.

“These policies are a solid demonstration of Shanghai’s efforts in technology innovation,” said Dai Ying, chairman of GE China Technology Center and also director of the R&D Centers Working Committee of Shanghai Association of Foreign Investment. 

Shanghai has been chosen as expats’ favorite city to work and live in for six years in a row. 

Earlier, Tesla announced the establishment of a factory in Shanghai, and many other well-known enterprises also announced the setting-up of R&D centers and factories in the city, Dai said.

“All these have proved that Shanghai is a pioneer in China’s reform and opening-up, and the policies in Shanghai have also attracted more innovative enterprises to come to Shanghai,” Dai said.

Yang highlighted the positive influence of the CIIE on the development of innovation.

“The expo will stimulate enterprises to further develop innovation,” he said. “If someone asks me what is the biggest difference between this import expo and other exhibitions, I will say it’s ‘comprehensiveness.’” 

Yang said that when the CIIE was first mentioned last year, many foreigners had some suspicions about it.

“Can such a comprehensive exhibition be effective?” they asked, as all the exhibitions they had participated in before were focused on a specific field. 

“But now, all such doubts have been disabused, because the audience walking into the exhibition hall will find that extreme comprehensiveness is excellence,” Yang said.

Many enterprises had brought their most advanced technology, services and products to the import expo, making it a great opportunity to communicate, exchange ideas and learn from others, thus bringing a new surge of energy for innovation and further enhancing the vitality and competitiveness of companies, Yang said.

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