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Fortune Global Forum highlights city's long-standing advantages

By Chen Meiling and Hu Yumeng | China Daily | Updated:2017-03-28

Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong province, expects to attract more investment from and cooperation with Fortune Global 500 companies by hosting the 2017 Fortune Global Forum, in December.

Guangzhou is the fifth Chinese city to host the forum, following Shanghai in 1999, Hong Kong in 2001, Beijing in 2005 and Chengdu in 2013.

This time, the theme is Openness and Innovation: Shaping the Global Economy.

At a promotional event for the 2017 Fortune Global Forum during the Boao Forum on March 25, Cai Chaolin, vice-mayor of Guangzhou, said Guangzhou is a city with a commercial history of more than 2,000 years.

"Although there are now many voices expressing anti-globalization sentiments, Guangzhou will insist on continued opening-up and innovation promotion," he said.

"The world is changing so quickly. If you don't move forward, you will be pushed back," he said. "Innovation drives development.

"Now the global economy is slowly recovering amid profound adjustments, and experiencing a new round of technological innovation and industrial reform. As the host city, Guangzhou will stage a green, pragmatic and efficient forum," he added.

According to the official, 288 of the Fortune Global 500 companies have invested in Guangzhou. About 120 of them have established their headquarters or regional headquarters there.

Among them, international information technology giant Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, launched an industrial park to produce its 10.5 generation display in Guangzhou in March, making it the modern manufacturing project with the largest investment in the city since reform and opening-up began in 1978. Cisco Systems Inc settled its Chinese innovation center in Guangzhou, ready to establish a cloud platform using the internet of things and an intelligent community estimated to generate 100 billion yuan ($14.54 billion) in output value every year. General Electric will build an international biomedical industrial park in the city, focusing on new monoclonal antibodies and other biological drugs.

Five more projects worth up to 150 billion yuan have settled in Guangzhou this month alone.

Cai said that the local government simplified the approval process for 176 government affairs and canceled 52 administrative charges last year, reducing administrative costs for enterprises by about 70 billion yuan.

The newly-launched one-stop window for international trade comprises 13 functions, including cargo application services, crossborder e-commerce, international exhibitions, logistics services, and export and import approval. Companies using the window do not need to pay for quarantine and customs charges.

Alan Murray, president of Fortune magazine, said at a news conference in Davos in January: "Guangzhou has a reputation for being a business-friendly city, one that has established economic and trade relationships with more than 200 countries and regions on five continents."

Jim Breyer, founder and CEO of Breyer Capital, said: "Guangzhou is a beautiful city. I'm very interested in investing in Guangzhou, especially in the application of artificial intelligence in the healthcare and financial service industries."

Matthew Price, CEO of P&G Greater China, said: "We are using digital technology to improve our e-commerce service. Guangzhou has emphasized the construction of a technological hub, which is very appealing. I hope to cooperate with the technological experts here in data management and the establishment of more virtual shops."

In 2016, Guangzhou's GDP reached 1.96 trillion yuan, ranking third among the major cities in China, official statistics indicate. Its exports in 2016 reached 518.59 billion yuan, up 3 percent year-on-year, while imports totaled 337.84 billion yuan, growing by 3.3 percent.

In 2016, Guangzhou's cargo handling capacity reached 540 million metric tons, ranking sixth in the world. Baiyun International Airport welcomed 59.78 million passengers in 2016, ranking third in China.

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(China Daily 03/28/2017 page5)


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