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Reform creates an ideal place for firms to settle in Shanghai

By Wang Hongyi | China Daily Global | Updated:Aug 31, 2020

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The National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai) in the Hongqiao CBD is lit up at night. CHINA DAILY

Hongqiao CBD among most desirable areas in China for corporate headquarters thanks to concentration of enterprises, convenient location and multiple transport links

Shanghai is becoming more attractive to multinational companies that are keen on seizing opportunities in the Yangtze River Delta area and in China thanks to its series of sincere efforts in recent years.

China's business reform and environment have seen unprecedented improvements over the past few years, in which Shanghai has made a significant contribution, according to a report by the World Bank released in July.

China's position has moved from 78th in 2018 to 31st in the Do Business 2020 report.

Improving the business environment has been the top priority of the Shanghai government since 2017.Authorities have continuously pushed reform with a series of measures that are based on the World Bank's suggestions, city officials said.

Authorities at all levels in Shanghai, such as district governments, business districts, industrial parks and economic zones have all played a role in this move. Leveraging various resources and exploring characteristic development paths, they have pushed forward the business reform and promoted the improvement of the business environment.

Shanghai Hongqiao Central Business District, also known as the Hongqiao CBD, is one of the most popular business places in the city for companies who are looking for more opportunities in the Chinese market.

According to a survey conducted by a third-party organization, about 58 percent of companies surveyed said Shanghai is becoming increasingly attractive for foreign investors. About 61 percent of the city's new investment projects intend to settle in the Hongqiao CBD. The district is among the top investment destination options in Shanghai.

Established in 2009, Hongqiao CBD is located in the western part of Shanghai and occupies an area of 151.4 square kilometers. Connecting to neighboring Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, the Hongqiao CBD has a prime geographical location.

As the largest and most comprehensive transportation complex in the world, Hongqiao transportation hub integrates all transportation models except water transport, such as aviation, railways, long-distance buses, subway, city buses and taxies, under one roof. Annual passenger number at the hub has exceeded 400 million.

The Hongqiao CBD has gathered more than 25,000 companies. Businesses locating their headquarters in this place include 209 domestic companies and 79 multinational companies, according to the Shanghai Hongqiao CBD administrative committee.

With such a high concentration of businesses, enterprises can better gain, allocate and make profits from various resources with an integrated industry chain. It can improve business efficiency and save huge costs, an official said.

Authorities said the Hongqiao CBD's goal is to develop into a vital engine driving high-quality development of the regional economy by 2022, and also become an internationally open hub by 2025.

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The Hongqiao CBD is home to the Hongqiao Import Commodity Exhibition and Trade Center. CHINA DAILY

The Hongqiao CBD enjoys strong support from the central and local governments. As a strategic development region in Shanghai, it supports national strategies such as the Yangtze River Delta integrated development.

An outline of the integrated development plan in the Yangtze River Delta region, approved by the Politburo in May, has clarified the position of the Hongqiao CBD.

Under the outline, the Hongqiao CBD will be built as an international hub of opening-up; an international CBD; and a new platform for international trade, so as to better serve the country's overall development and support the connection of the Yangtze River Delta with the rest of the world.

The Shanghai government has announced a series of measures and policies in various aspects in an aim to boost the development of the Hongqiao CBD. These include building the Hongqiao CBD into a first-class international central business district and creating the world's leading business environment.

In addition to serving as a new platform for the international trade center, the Hongqiao CBD will also strengthen its function as an open hub, according to the government.

"Over the years, the district has insisted upon quality development and building a world-class business environment with the Hongqiao CBD's own features. It has already seen many good results," officials from the Hongqiao CBD said.

The Hongqiao CBD has continuously pushed the improvement of supporting facilities and policies, such as talents, education, healthcare, culture and entertainment, to meet various needs of companies.

For example, the district has established more than 2,000 apartments for professionals working for companies in the Hongqiao CBD, and issued 647 work permits for expats. It has also established a public affairs service center to help companies solve various problems.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, authorities in the Hongqiao CBD have strengthened communication with companies in a bid to learn more about their operation and help them solve difficulties in such challenging times.

The Hongqiao CBD is home to the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai)-the venue for the annual China International Import Expo. Occupying an area of 1.47 million square meters in the Hongqiao CBD, the venue is one of the world's largest single block buildings and exhibition complexes by size.

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