Chengdu gains from Fortune Global Forum

By Li Yang
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, June 7, 2013
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Asked why Chengdu was chosen as the host for Fortune Global Forum, Fortune magazine's Manager Editor Andy Serwer said it was because the city "represents so many trends".

Serwer said Chengdu is the "perfect" city for the forum, which will put Chengdu in the world spotlight.

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli delivers a speech at the gala dinner for the opening of the 2013 Fortune Global Forum (FGF) in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, June 6, 2013. [Xinhua]

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli delivers a speech at the gala dinner for the opening of the 2013 Fortune Global Forum (FGF) in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, June 6, 2013. [Xinhua] 

The forum, organized by Fortune magazine, is being held in the capital of Sichuan province from Thursday to Saturday. This will be the fourth time since its debut in 1995 that the forum has been held in China and the first time it has been held in a southwest city.

More than 600 state leaders, CEOs of world-class companies and economists from around the world have registered for this year's event under the theme "China's New Future".

The city will enrich the forum, as it is pertinent to its theme and this year's core topics: sustainable development, innovation and technology.

The city's good infrastructure, convenient transport links and logistic systems, comparatively low labor costs and efficient administration system have attracted 238 companies out of the world's top 500 to the city. Chengdu's GDP was 800 billion yuan ($127 billion) in 2012, accounting for one third of Sichuan province's economy and 8 percent of western China's GDP.

Despite this, the city is still confronting many pressing challenges, such as the upgrading its industrial structure and environmental protection. Only when these problems are solved, can Chengdu's growth be sustainable.

The city is not alone in facing these problems, as they exist throughout China and many other emerging economies. Hopefully, the forum will not only raise Chengdu's reputation as a hospitable host with huge growth potential, it will also, with its international views, expertise and resources, offer suggestions for ways in which the city, China and other developing countries can translate their potential into sustainable development that improves people's lives.

People-oriented urbanization is one thing Chengdu can learn from the forum. Neighboring small cities like Deyang, Suiyang, Zigong, Leshan and Meishan have already benefited from Chengdu's spillover effects in development, but this has led to a gigantic urban conglomeration with a lot of pressing problems that need addressing.

Urbanization should be a process supported by sustainable growth that can create jobs and prosperity, rather than a fast way to stimulate GDP growth.

A sustainable and vigorous Chengdu should promote competition and cooperation with nearby big cities such as Chongqing, Guiyang and Kunming through the catfish effect. This would help Chengdu make breakthroughs in pursuing a new growth model. Competition among cities reshapes their industrial structures and reallocates the factors of production.

The government's role is another topic that will be raised during the forum. The central government is streamlining the administration system and delegating more power to society and the market as it seeks to concentrate on its role as a public service provider. The forum can help local officials reflect on their responsibilities.

Local officials and business leaders can also learn from the success of the technological and business elites from around the world attending the forum and learn ways to turn knowledge into economic and industrial muscle.

Having more than 20 universities, which are strong in electronics, telecommunications, finance studies, laws and human arts, Chengdu has special research and talent advantages that it can leverage in the country's bid to establish an innovation-driven economy.

The ideas, experiences and visions shared at the forum will provide food for thought for economic policymakers, government officials and entrepreneurs at a time when China's economy is slowing down and the future of the country hinges on successful economic restructuring and transformation.


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