The Pudong New Area of Shanghai is aiming to attract more overseas-returned Chinese talent and professionals from abroad, in a bid to make the business district more international and stay competitive, Zhang Endi, deputy chief of the Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Government, said yesterday.
"We will try to create a better working and living environment, including providing better medical and educational facilities, to that end," Zhang said.
Currently, there are more than 30,000 foreigners and more than 10,000 overseas-returned Chinese working and living in the Pudong New Area, topping other districts of Shanghai. The most international communities in Pudong include Lujiazui, Jinqiao, Waigaoqiao and Zhangjiang.
Zhang said that there are now six international schools in Pudong for the children of foreigners, with more being planned. Foreign-related hospitals such as the East Hospital also invite foreign expertise to train their doctors and nurses to serve foreign patients.
"Foreigners in Pudong are getting more and more integrated into the local community. Other than increasing consumption, they have also brought new ideas from abroad," Zhang said.
He cited one instance, when the Pudong New Area Government used to forbid hawkers in all the streets of Pudong. At a public online working meeting of the chief of Pudong New Area, a German resident suggested that hawkers were a way for foreigners to understand Chinese culture.
Partly as a result of her suggestion, the authorities now allow hawkers on certain roads and times, given the added approval of local communities.
Host to more than 200 Fortune global 500 companies, Pudong is considered one of China's most developed business districts. However, the business costs in the area have become so high that some companies have reportedly moved out.
"There are companies moving out of Pudong, and at the same time there are also companies moving in. It is a dynamic course," Zhang said. "The price of housing is rigid, but as long as we provide good service, we will be competitive," he said.
Zhang said the Pudong authorities will also provide more opportunities for overseas-returned Chinese, such as channeling more venture capital funds to their work.
Zhang himself returned to China in 1996, after earning a doctorate in ecology from the University of Cambridge.
A member of the China Zhi Gong Dang political party, Zhang is attending the ongoing first session of the 11th CPPCC National Committee.
"At the CPPCC National Committee, I share our experiences with other members, and I also get a broader perspective that will help our work in the future, to build a more international Pudong," Zhang said.
(China Daily March 6, 2008)