Shanghai demonstrates its continued growth and development at promotion convention

Cao Qian
Shanghai has embarked on its next stage of development to further enhance its attractiveness as both a destination for investment and as a liveable international metropolis.
Cao Qian
Shanghai demonstrates its continued growth and development at promotion convention

Representatives from investment promotion agencies and enterprise alliances jointly launch the Invest Shanghai Initiative during the Shanghai City Promotion Convention.

Shanghai has embarked on its next stage of development to further enhance its competitiveness and attractiveness as both a destination for investment and as a liveable international metropolis, senior officials from the municipal government told a grand event held during the fourth China International Import Expo.

The city is again inviting investors from around the globe to set up and grow their business in Shanghai.

Held in its third consecutive year with an aim to expand the spillover effects of the CIIE, the conference was virtual and offline attended by representatives mainly from multinational, state-owned, and private enterprises, professional service providers, foreign consulates in Shanghai, international organizations, and investment promotion agencies.

"Shanghai boasts comprehensive strengths in attracting businesses from both within the country and around the world," Li said. "It is a place where you can find unlimited inspiration, like-minded partners, competitive industrial strengths, a challenging and valuable market, high-quality, efficient administrative services, as well as an enriched life experience."

Participants were updated on the city's latest achievements with detailed information about various aspects of its development.

Boosted by solid industrial recovery, the strong performance of new growth drivers, and continuous demand for consumption, Shanghai's gross domestic product rose 9.8 percent year on year in the first nine months of 2021.

Industrial added value increased by 15.2 percent, 7.9 percentage points faster than during the same period in 2019. Key emerging industries, including digital innovation, new energy, high-end equipment, energy conservation, environmental protection, and biomedicine, all maintained double-digit growth, while total retail sales of social consumer goods and total sales of goods both posted an annual growth rate of around 20 percent.

Shanghai's import and export numbers, meanwhile, remained atop the list of the world's cities with total foreign trade rising 15.4 percent from the same period a year ago to 2.92 trillion yuan (US$456.7 billion) during the first nine months.

The city is now home to around 70,000 foreign-invested enterprises and more than 800 certified regional headquarters of multinational corporations.

Paid-in foreign investment climbed 15 percent to US$17.847 billion during the first three quarters, and the number of newly-established foreign-funded firms rose 27.1 percent from the same period last year to 5,136.

The number of market entities of various types exceeded 3 million in Shanghai, which added an average of 1,989 new enterprises on a daily basis in the first three quarters of this year, an increase of 24 percent.

On its way to building itself into a global science and technology innovation center, Shanghai's R&D expenditure is already equivalent to around 4.1 percent of its GDP, which has reached the level of developed countries.

By the end of the third quarter, nearly 17,000 certified high-tech enterprises, 88 state-level R&D institutions, and over 500 foreign-invested R&D centers had been set up in the city. There are 14 state-level university-based science parks and more than 500 maker spaces. Specifically, the city's talent for 5G R&D, integrated circuit industry, and artificial intelligence accounts for 50 percent, 40 percent, and one-third, respectively, of the country's total.

"Shanghai leads the growth of the Yangtze River Delta region, and that's why we have set up our science and innovation headquarters as well as our China headquarters here," said Leon Wang, executive vice president, international, and China president of AstraZeneca. "The city is definitely irreplaceable in terms of its large number of high-level talent in various fields, and many of our partners are also located in Shanghai."

In early October, the multinational biopharmaceutical giant officially unveiled its upgraded R&D China Center in downtown Jing'an District, together with the Shanghai International Life Science Innovation Campus, and the Medical Healthcare AI Innovation Center.

Looking forward, a more promising Shanghai has unfolded at the convention with detailed development goals announced for the next five years through 2025 to further improve urban functions, quality of life, environmental quality, and efficiency of government.

Major highlights include the cultivation of new engines to accelerate its development. The city has listed integrated circuit, biomedicine, and artificial intelligence as three key innovation-driven industries, and vows to boost the construction of six industry clusters, namely ICT (information and communications technology), life science and healthcare, automobile, high-end equipment, new material, and modern consumer goods to facilitate its future economic growth.

Five "new cities," namely Jiading, Qingpu, Songjiang, Fengxian, and Nanhui, will be further developed. Each leveraging its own strength, they will be built into conveniently accessed liveable areas where urban life and industrial development are well integrated.

Unwavering in its commitment to a higher level of opening up to the outside world, Shanghai will continue to welcome foreign investment, protect the legal rights and interests of foreign-invested enterprises, and provide better services for enterprises from all over the world to invest, start businesses, and expand those enterprises.

"Shiseido is celebrating its 40th anniversary in China this year, and our growth has indeed benefited a lot from Shanghai's great business environment," Anri Nakahara, vice president of China region external affairs with Shiseido, told Shanghai Daily while attending the promotional conference. "We feel grateful and are very much impressed by the efficiency of local administrative departments, among others."

In its latest testament to its commitment to increasing investment and expanding footprint in Shanghai, the Japanese cosmetics giant unveiled on October 27 a new R&D center in Oriental Beauty Valley in suburban Fengxian District, which is the second of its kind in the city and the third in the country.

"Shanghai is determined to make every effort to promote high-quality development, create high-quality life, and achieve high-efficiency governance to enhance its core competitiveness and comprehensive soft power," Shanghai Mayor Gong Zheng told the promotion convention. "Friends from all around the world are always welcome to learn about, invest in, and grow with Shanghai where more opportunities for investment and development, as well as better business environment and services, will be provided."

Shanghai demonstrates its continued growth and development at promotion convention

A total of 19 projects involving investment of 17.8 billion yuan are signed during the event.

As part of the event, contracts involving 19 projects with a total investment of 17.8 billion yuan (US$2.78 billion) were signed on site. They covered industries including biopharmaceutical, integrated circuits, artificial intelligence, high-end equipment, advanced materials, life sciences, and healthcare.

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