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World  |  March 29, 2024 09:22:01, updated

New quality productive forces to power Shanghai's development

New quality productive forces and further opening-up will serve as two major engines for Shanghai's high-quality economic growth, said officials of the Shanghai municipal government.

They made their comments during a news conference held by the State Council Information Office on Thursday.

"While continued efforts will be made to expand Shanghai's economy, the city will be dedicated to the construction of a modern industrial system and the development of new quality productive forces," Shanghai Mayor Gong Zheng said at the news conference. "Comprehensive reform and opening-up will be deepened at a higher level to better achieve high-quality development, both at the economic and social levels."

While three pioneering industries — integrated circuits, biomedicine and artificial intelligence — saw their combined industrial value reaching 1.6 trillion yuan ($221 billion) last year, they should aim for more breakthroughs to ease bottlenecks and further improve the resilience and safety of industrial and supply chains, said Gong.

The digital economy, green and low-carbon transition, the metaverse and intelligent devices will be the four areas in which Shanghai will strive for the upper hand amid market competition. The city also plans to be an early mover in the future-oriented healthcare, smart technologies, energy, space and new materials sectors, according to Gong.

"We will continue to step up mapping in disruptive and cutting-edge technologies while striving for breakthroughs in key technologies," he said. Technology mapping is used by companies for long-term planning in order to achieve specific objectives.

Traditional industries that make up a large part of Shanghai's economy, such as carmaking, steel and chemicals, should aim for digital and green transition by integrating with new technologies and novel business models, Gong said. In this way, traditional industries can also grow into new quality productive forces, the mayor added.

Research and development accounted for about 4.4 percent of Shanghai's GDP of 4.72 trillion yuan last year, while the figure was 4.2 percent in 2022.

To further nurture innovation in technology, which is crucial to the development of new quality productive forces, Shanghai will attach greater importance to basic research, giving full play to the 80-strong national level, high-end scientific research platforms and better supporting the 24,000 high-tech companies in the city.

A basic research pioneering zone is in the pipeline, Gong said.

In addition, more social capital will be invested in hard technology companies during their preliminary development stage, the mayor said.

As an international financial hub, Shanghai was home to 548 foreign licensed financial institutions last year. The city's total financial market trading value hit a new record of 3.37 quadrillion yuan, the highest in the world.

Shanghai will deepen opening-up in the financial sector by completing its market system, enriching product supply, optimizing the institution's mechanism and improving financial infrastructure, said Gong.

As home to 956 regional headquarters of multinational companies, Shanghai will further open up to attract more foreign investment, said Hua Yuan, Shanghai's vice-mayor, adding that foreign companies will be encouraged to invest in the sectors of green development, digital transformation and technology innovation in Shanghai.

While Shanghai remained the first in the world for twenty-foot-equivalent unit container throughput for the 14th consecutive year, with 49.16 million TEUs in 2023, efforts will be made to develop high-end services such as shipping insurance and maritime arbitration, said Hua.

By aligning with the world's high-standard economic and trade rules, Shanghai will further improve its business environment and advance institutional opening-up, said Hua.

Pudong New Area, where comprehensive reform pilot programs have been conducted, will play a leading role in institutional opening-up, said Gu Jun, director of the Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission.

Market entry, especially in telecommunications and medical sectors, will be relaxed in an orderly manner. Six new regulations will be formulated in Pudong by the end of the year to advance reform in free trade accounts, commercial mediation and corporate compliance, he added.

To attract talent from home and abroad, which is integral to Shanghai's high-quality development, the city will roll out more policies to facilitate their household registration, housing, entry and exit into the country, said Gong.

Specifically, Shanghai has come up with more convenient payment methods for expatriates, covering both mobile and card payments. It also launched at the beginning of this year the International Services Shanghaip ortal to provide up-to-date information and policy guidance for expatriates working or traveling in the city, said Hua.

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