Shanghai and friendship cities seek high-quality development

Yang Meiping
Representatives from 13 cities in 12 countries gathered in Shanghai this week, seeking to deepen cooperation and promote high-quality development.
Yang Meiping
Shanghai and friendship cities seek high-quality development
Ti Gong

Delegates at the 2023 Shanghai International Friendship Cities Cooperation Forum.

Representatives from 13 cities in 12 countries gathered in Shanghai this week, seeking to deepen cooperation and promote high-quality development.

At the 2023 Shanghai International Friendship Cities Cooperation Forum on Friday, delegates from the cities, including Dunedin in New Zealand, Carabobo State in Johannesburg in South Africa and Los Angeles in the United States, shared their unique experiences and strengths in regards to smart city development and wishes to push progress forward in this area through cooperation.

Trade and investment were other key topics of conversation, with many cities expressing a desire to deepen their relationships with one another and create a solid foundation for high-quality, reciprocal cooperation.

Dunedin and Shanghai have been sister city since 1994. The sisterhood relationship has been productive in various areas, ranging from business to education and culture, said Jules Radich, mayor of the New Zealand city.

He gave several examples including the investment of Shanghai Maling Aquarius Co's investment in Silver Fern farms, New Zealand's largest red meat producer.

"The company business has become very profitable and is making significant business in sustainability and taking new innovative products to markets around the world," he said. "This is a true partnership between Shanghai and New Zealand in the red meat business in part made possible thanks to the close relationship between our cities."

In the electric vehicle area, Radich said, China's BYD has been growing very rapidly in his city and has become very popular. In addition to that, the city will take a shipment of electric buses from Shanghai's Pudong New Area for public transport.

He also spoke highly of the education relationships between the two cities, ranging from primary school level to higher institutions and postgraduate students.

Radich said this week's trip in Shanghai was very productive as the Dunedin delegation visited several companies in Shanghai and signed several memorandums of understanding with their Shanghai counterparts. These included two universities, the Shanghai Chamber of Commerce and the Shanghai art film federation.

"The value of all sister-city relationships is that each city has its own unique strengths," he said.

"There are many things that we can learn from each other, providing opportunities to enrich our communities not only in business, but also with cultural, environmental and social well-being issues."

Shanghai and friendship cities seek high-quality development

A city-business connect event was held on Thursday.

Rafael Lacava, governor of Carabobo State of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, has signed an MOU with Shanghai during the visit. He said the state is eager to become an official sister city of Shanghai.

He said China is an important and respectful partner of Venezuela as China's modernization is a "lighthouse" for Venezuela's development. Carabobo would like to learn from Shanghai and work with it to make common progress.

Yoma Etienne Bako, president of the special delegation of No. 5 District of Bobo Dioulasso of the Burkina Faso, also expressed the wish to establish a sister-city relationship with Shanghai and explore more possibilities for cooperation, such as the development of a smart city.

Hua Yuan, vice mayor of Shanghai, said all participants of the forum have reached a consensus to promote cooperation in not only the development of smart city, but also trade and investment, as well as cultural exchanges. This has laid a solid foundation to continue enhancing exchanges and cooperation between the friendship cities.

He said Shanghai will expand the spill-over effects of the China International Import Expo to promote efficiency of cooperation and provide new opportunities for the whole world.

He also said the city will continue to improve its business environment and welcome investments by businesses from all friendship cities.

He said 4,321 foreign ventures have been set up in Shanghai in the first three quarters of the year, a 35 percent increase from the same period last year. The actual foreign investment in Shanghai has exceeded US$20 billion for three consecutive years and this year is expected to be over US$24 billion.

He added that Shanghai will also support Chinese enterprises in going overseas and welcome representatives from the friendship cities to make recommendations of areas and directions with investment potential for Chinese businesses.

Hua also said Shanghai wishes to expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges with the cities for improved mutual understanding and better development, bringing more benefits to the well-being of all peoples.

Special Reports