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Shanghai's Hongqiao on track as HUB to bridge domestic, international markets

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China Daily| Updated: November 8, 2022

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The Hongqiao International Opening-Hub Building Forum and Hub Conference 2022, a parallel session of the Hongqiao International Economic Forum of the China International Import Expo, is held on Sunday. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Global experts and business representatives at the Hongqiao International Opening-Hub Building Forum and Hub Conference 2022, a parallel session of the Hongqiao International Economic Forum of the China International Import Expo, on Sunday exchanged ideas about the roles of a hub in promoting innovation and communication, the achievements of the Hongqiao International Opening-Hub, as well as its future path.

The State Council released a framework plan and 29 policies in February 2021 to build Shanghai's Hongqiao area, which contains the Hongqiao International Central Business District, and parts of neighboring Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, into an international opening-up hub to bridge the domestic and international markets.

Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce, said in a video message that over the last year or so, the Hongqiao International Opening-hub has attached greater attention to high-quality development and regional integrated development to become a such a hub.

Shanghai's Hongqiao literally means rainbow bridge for Shanghai, and it is now a bridge for the Yangtze Delta Region and the entire world, according to Wang.

"Hongqiao International Opening-up Hub is one of the practices in promoting the Chinese path to modernization. The hub will focus on developing transportation, exhibition and business to be a connecting point between the world and China, a key spot in supporting China to establish a unified domestic market and a new engine in promoting integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region," said Gong Zheng, the mayor of Shanghai.

Marcos Troyjo, president of New Development Bank, also shared his thoughts about the role of a hub through an online video.

"A hub is where heterogeneous supply chains interact horizontally. It is like a melting pot nurturing unintended, and at one time unimaginable benefits of cross innovation. A hub can enjoy even more innovation by agglomerating fresh ideas and thoughts from entrepreneurs, researchers, financiers and officials with diverse backgrounds," said Troyjo.

"Stock exchange double-entry accounting, factory system, assembly lines, these mind transcending ideas were all associated which led to the fundamental transformation of how businesses and societies are organized. A hub of manufacture is also a hub of 'mindfacture'," he said.

Troyjo said Hongqiao is advancing steadily in three aspects as an economic hub. They are features of an efficient transportation network connecting businesses in the Yangtze River Delta region, a rich set of industries including many of the world's leading players, and improving policies, rules and regulations to nurture breakthroughs and innovations.

Nobel Prize laureate Thomas Sargent also delivered an online speech about the roles of hub cities and how they can benefit opening-up, ordinary people and businesses, and be a breeding ground for new ideas.

Apart from exchanging ideas on how to make the Hongqiao International Opening-hub play bigger roles in economic and social development. participants talked about the role of the Shanghai Hongqiao International Central Business District, which has been in the process of being upgraded since March last year.

Liu Shijin, deputy director of the Committee on Economic Affairs of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, suggested that the CBD has to strengthen ties with leading universities and research institutions to promote integration of fundamental research, application and commercialization to create new development engines.

Wang Yiming, vice-chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said that the inflow of people, merchants, businesses, information, capital and data can push hubs to upgrade from a single function like transportation to multiple functions. This will lead to the gathering of headquarters, investments, professional services, innovations and industries.

China's accelerated steps in applying the new development pattern, leveraging the strengths of China's enormous market, attracting global resources and production factors with its strong domestic economy, and amplifying the interplay between domestic and international markets and resources will support the Hongqiao International CBD to upgrade and unlock more potential, said Wang.

Over the last 20 months, the upgraded Hongqiao International CBD has made great strides in gathering globally leading enterprises and promoting innovations.

By the end of October, the CBD was home to more than 5,000 international trade companies. It also boasts about 500 headquarters of various enterprises and 35 trade promotion organizations. In the first nine months of 202, Hongqiao International CBD stands out in appealing to global investors despite the pandemic and market uncertainties. The foreign capital paid-in increased 165.7 percent year-on-year. The global trade volume increased 31.9 percent year-on-year. In 2022, the CBD attracted nearly 130 billion yuan ($18.01 billion) in investment, having increased more than 60 percent from the previous year.

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