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Shanghai sets growth target, key undertakings for 2024

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chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: January 24, 2024

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A view of Shanghai's Pudong New Area. [Photo by Wang Gang/For China Daily]

Intl trade center role to be bolstered, Pudong to be further developed

Shanghai's GDP is expected to grow by about 5 percent this year after reaching 4.72 trillion yuan ($660 billion) in 2023, Gong Zheng, mayor of Shanghai, said on Jan 23.

The growth of residents' per capita disposable income will keep pace with economic growth, with the increase in consumer prices projected at about 3 percent, Gong said while delivering the Shanghai government work report at the annual session of the Shanghai People's Congress, the city's legislative body.

"Shanghai aims to accelerate the pace of building itself into an international trade center this year. It will actively participate in the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative and the construction of a pilot zone for Silk Road e-commerce cooperation, while enhancing the international development capabilities of local service institutions in fields such as accounting and law," said Gong.

The pilot zone was approved in Shanghai in October.

Another focus of Shanghai's efforts will be comprehensively promoting the construction of Pudong New Area so that it can better fulfill its role as a pioneering area for China's socialist modernization, facilitating the country's high-level reform and opening-up.

On Monday, the State Council released an implementation plan for Pudong's pilot comprehensive reform from 2023 to 2027.

"Shanghai will fulfill the 280 tasks specified in the central government's document and the city's action plan about Pudong, including exploring retail business pilots in cross-border e-commerce imports of over-the-counter drugs and medical devices, promoting bonded maintenance, re-manufacturing and bonded research and development outside the special customs supervision zone, and further building a leading area for international talent development," said Gong.

"A batch of new regulations in Pudong will be introduced," he said.

Shanghai's new development momentum grew steadily and the dividends of reform and opening-up were steadily released, said Gong.

After completing the 208 tasks in business environment benchmarking for the World Bank's new evaluation system, a new round of reform with 150 tasks and measures will be carried out this year to focus on being more market-oriented, international and with a better rule of law, Gong said.

An average of more than 1,900 enterprises were newly established in Shanghai per day last year, bringing the total number of enterprises in the city to more than 2.89 million. Altogether 606,000 new jobs were added.

The surveyed urban unemployment rate in Shanghai last year was 4.5 percent, and the target is aimed at below 5 percent this year, said Gong.

Research by China International Intellectech Co, a State-owned human resources and intellectual services provider, showed that 81 percent of enterprises have recruitment plans for fresh college graduates in 2024, including 32 percent of them saying that the headcounts for new graduates will increase.

"Enterprises in new energy, electronic communications and machinery manufacturing show a large number of recruitment needs, an increase of more than 22 percent compared with last year. Such sectors will continue to function as an effective support for employment absorption in the future," said Zhang Hui, general manager of the operations management department of CIIC.

Last year, the total output value of industrial strategic emerging industries in Shanghai accounted for 43.9 percent of the total output value of industries above designated size, and the scale of the city's three leading industries-integrated circuits, biomedicine and artificial intelligence-reached 1.6 trillion yuan.

Shanghai's total import and export volume of foreign trade reached 4.2 trillion yuan, a rise of 0.7 percent, and the actual use of foreign capital reached $24 billion, a record high.

"Last year, the number of regional headquarters of multinational companies and foreign-funded research and development centers in Shanghai increased by 65 and 30 respectively, bringing the total number to 956 and 561," said Gong.

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