Shanghai Free Trade Zone 7 years on / Latest

Shanghai's economic role set to expand

By SHI JING | China Daily | Updated:2020-12-11

Shanghai should better connect domestic and international markets in order to improve its high-quality development and facilitate China's deepened round of reform and opening-up, according to the proposed new five-year plan and development goals for 2035 released on Thursday.

Shanghai's proposed 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) says that high quality will be the highlight of its future economic development through strengthening the city's four major functions-allocating global resources, initiating technological innovation, leading development of high-end industries and opening up as a hub. Those functions were stressed by President Xi Jinping during his visit to Shanghai in November 2019.

Shanghai Party Secretary Li Qiang said that the functions of a megacity like Shanghai go far beyond what is required within the city itself. Shanghai's role involves a wider area, including participation in global cooperation and competition on behalf of the country, Li said.

International trading platforms for financial assets should be built, for example, and direct financing given greater priority in promoting Shanghai as an international financial center. By making full use of free trade agreements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, new international trade pioneer zones can be built to develop digital and knowledge-intensive service businesses, the proposal says.

To build Shanghai into an epicenter of technological innovation, market-oriented research institutes should be incubated and research professionals and teams should be given more incentives.

Innovation has also been stressed in the communique of the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, which said innovation should play a key role in China's modernization, with technological independence strategically supporting the country's development.

Zhou Zhenhua, director of the Shanghai Global City Research Center, said the city began its innovation-driven transformation and development during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) period. There has been great progress in the past decade as new growth engines have been nurtured. Upgraded innovation should be the buzz phrase for Shanghai's development in the next five years by further enhancing its core competitiveness, he said.

Shanghai's three signature industries-integrated circuits, biomedicine and artificial intelligence-should see more progress in the next five years to facilitate the integrated development of advanced manufacturing and modern service industries, the proposal says.

Tangible and intangible networks should be built to help Shanghai become a hub connecting the rest of the world. Efforts are needed to facilitate the efficient flow and allocation of market elements so that the city leads China's reform and opening-up with deeper integration into economic globalization.

A platform connecting the domestic and international market is also needed in the city to serve the country's dual-circulation development paradigm. The Pudong New Area which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, should lead the high-level reform and opening-up. The Lingang Special Area, which was included in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone in August 2019, should see more experimentation while the area's GDP in 2025 should be quadruple that of 2018.

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