From being the host of the annual China International Import Expo to expanding its free trade zone and launching a new innovation board at its stock exchange, authorities say that Shanghai will play an integral role in China's drive to further open up its doors to the world
The inaugural China International Import Expo (CIIE) may have ended, but the role that Shanghai — it is the host city of the annual event — has to play in the nation's further opening-up is far from finished.
Chinese President Xi Jinping had in his keynote speech at the event's opening ceremony on Nov 5 highlighted the important role that Shanghai has to play in the nation's slew of opening-up initiatives, including the expansion of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the launch of a science and technology innovation board at the Shanghai Stock Exchange and experimenting with a registration system for listed companies, as well as the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region.
On Nov 7, during a meeting of the standing committee of the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee, the city's Party Secretary Li Qiang said that Shanghai will more proactively push its development in serving the national strategy, and better represent the country on the international stage for global cooperation and competition.
Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong said the city will continue to leverage the CIIE as a means to improve efficiency in the trade environment, promote free trade and bolster China's influence in the international market.
On Nov 13, a global commodity trade hub managed by Shanghai conglomerate Greenland Group, which serves as a year-round trade service platform for the CIIE, began its operation. Located to the south of the expo venue — the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), this hub has attracted 112 enterprises and organizations from 41 countries, with another 20 expected to join in the following three months, said Greenland in a press release.
Covering more than 150,000 square meters, the trade hub combines the functions of goods trade, corporate headquarters, smart logistics and an online trade platform with an estimated annual transaction volume worth over 1150 billion yuan ($14.3 billion).
The trade hub is one of the all-year-round exhibition and transaction platforms the city has launched to support the expo and promote its sustainable development so as to develop the city into a distribution hub for imported goods across China and Asia.
According to the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, the platforms were established because the authorities recognized that the six-day expo would not provide international exhibitors and buyers with enough time to learn about all the business opportunities in China.
"The platforms will promote the sustainable development of the expo and enhance Shanghai's brand as an international shopping destination," said Shang Yuying, director of the commission.
By bringing exhibitors and suppliers from around the world to the six-day expo, Shanghai can upgrade the city's shopping services and help with the integration of services in the Yangtze River Delta region.
Authorities have called this the spillover effect of the expo. Zhang Min, executive head of Shanghai University's Shanghai Exhibition Research Institute, explained that Shanghai, a city which thrives on commerce, can tap into the expo and its platforms to draw global supply to meet the demand of the more than 150 million affluent consumers in the delta region who are demanding for world-class products and services.
Although the delta region accounts for just 3.8 percent of China's total land area, its GDP amounted to 19.5 trillion yuan last year, more than 20 percent of the national total, according to official statistics.