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Experts: Continued innovation crucial

Print E-mail China Daily, June 8, 2013
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Global PC giant Dell announced during the Fortune Global Forum that it will start a global manufacturing base in Chengdu. [China Daily]

Global PC giant Dell announced during the Fortune Global Forum that it will start a global manufacturing base in Chengdu. [China Daily]

To maintain its role as a major economic center in western China, Chengdu will need to further deepen its high-tech industrial development, said economists and experts on Thursday during the 2013 Fortune Global Forum.

Chengdu is undergoing economic transformation, so continued cooperation and innovation is crucial to its sustainable development, said Robert Mundell, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and professor of economics at Columbia University, at a forum symposium called Chengdu's New Future.

He said the process will take some time but Chengdu's economic strength has already shown its advantages.

In the first quarter of this year, Chengdu's GDP surpassed 215 billion yuan ($33 billion), a year-on-year increase of 10.8 percent.

The growth rate was 2.8 points higher than the national level.

Wang Zhile, a consultant with the Chengdu Fortune Global Forum and an expert at the China Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said it is important for Chengdu to participate in the global economy and cooperate with international companies.

He said that the city's surging IT industry is a good example.

Leading international IT companies including Intel, Dell, Texas Instrument and Foxconn now all have operations based in Chengdu.

"Chengdu has become one of the most attractive cities for IT industrial clusters in western China," he said.

"In the future, the international companies will play a bigger role and be increasingly vital for Chengdu."

The chengdu government encourages international cooperation in the sector, which will surely benefit the city's other industries as well, he added.

Last year, sales revenue of the city's electronic information industry surpassed 300 billion yuan.

The computer manufacturing capacity in Chengdu has now soared to 100 million units with actual deliveries surpassing 50 millions last year, according to official statistics.

Some 80 percent of the iPads made globally were produced in Chengdu.

Pankaj Ghemawat, professor of global strategy at the IESE Business School, said during the symposium that Chengdu is now striving to meet the challenges ahead despite its current strong economic growth.

"As an inland city, there are still challenges for Chengdu in the course of globalization," he said.

Although the local government places great importance on exports, the domestic market should not be neglected, he said.

"The city should go east as well as west by cooperating with China's eastern provinces, which can use Chengdu as a gateway to the West countries," he said.

"It should concentrate more on domestic market -both east and west. Meanwhile, it needs to increase exports with more innovative value-added products."

He agrees that there is huge potential in electronics for Chengdu.

In addition to industrial modernization, Chengdu is also trying hard to make itself a transportation hub in western China.

At present, Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport serves 58 international airlines, making the city China's fourth-largest international aviation hub.

Last month, Air China launched a new direct route from the Sichuan capital to Frankfurt, Germany.

The city has also expanded its overland connections with Europe and other parts of the world including a freight railway that ends in Lodz, Poland.