Shanghai will step up efforts to improve its economic structure for sustainable growth by fostering opening-up in high-technology sectors and luring more global talent, Mayor Ying Yong said yesterday.
The city government has been releasing a number of policies this year to facilitate economic upgrading and continue to lure foreign investment, all of which have proven to be effective, Ying said at a press conference at the conclusion of the annual International Business Leaders' Advisory Council meeting.
"We don't only focus on economic growth, but we give a priority to the quality and efficiency behind the growth," Ying said. "After a solid economic performance in the first half of this year, we are seeing signs of continuous improvement over recent months."
Shanghai's gross domestic product increased 6.9 percent in the first half of 2017, up 0.2 percentage points from a year before. In the first eight months of the year, Shanghai's industrial output rose 9 percent, the fastest year-on-year growth in seven years, Ying said. In the first seven months, the city's industrial profit jumped 16 percent, also a record in seven years, Ying added.
In a bid to ensure sustainable growth, Shanghai will speed up the expansion of Zhangjiang High-Tech Park in the Pudong New Area into a "science city" as Shanghai aims to create an established global technology innovation hub by 2030, the mayor said.
"We need to develop a large scale of scientific research projects in Zhangjiang by teaming up with the country's leading research institutions and professionals," Ying said. "Beyond that, we welcome foreign participation and we are looking forward to global resources to help us to achieve our ambition."
So far, multinational companies have set up 416 regional research and development centers in Shanghai, Ying said, adding that he expects the IBLAC member companies to play an important role in the process.
"Shanghai now needs outstanding professionals from all over the world more than any time in history, and as for how to lure these people, we won't talk about the best policies, as we can always make them better," Ying said.
The city government is exploring additional polices to lure top-level professionals from overseas, he added.
Ying said Shanghai would be maintaining its long-term control measures to stabilize the real estate market. Since the beginning of this year, the local property market saw a decline in transactions, while the price index for new residential houses dropped by 0.4 percent, he said.
"We want to emphasize that houses are for people to live in, rather than for speculation," Ying said. "We will keep austerity measures for the property market, and continue to reduce the reliance of economic growth and fiscal income growth on real estate.
"These are all long-term policies. In this regard, we will increase housing supplies for rental, and meet the needs of residents who have really poor living conditions."
Ying said Shanghai will be able to open the 45 kilometers of waterfront along the Huangpu River between the Yangpu and Xupu bridges by the end of this year, and will continue to boost the city's ecologic environment by opening more parks.
"A good ecological environment will benefit all people living in the city," Ying said. "Shanghai doesn't lack high buildings, but we have yet to create a well established eco-environment. We need to make more efforts on that."
During the meeting, members gave their advice and suggestions for the future as Shanghai paves its way to becoming a global city of excellence.
Mark Weinberger, chairman and CEO of EY and chairman of the advisory council, said: "Technology is helping cities address the challenges coming with fast changes through becoming 'smarter.'