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October 28, 2018

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Eminent minds give city advice

THE International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council, which has given foreign business titans a seat at the table of Shanghai mayors, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year at its annual meeting today.

At the high-profile roundtable discussions, multinational executives have made suggestions on how to make the city’s development a magnet for overseas investment and turn Shanghai into a global city of renown.

Many of the ideas exchanged in these roundtable talks have been implemented with great success.

For example, council members advised early on that Shanghai should adopt severe penalties for industries that pollute the environment. They also suggested the construction of highways and Metro lines for an integrated transport network, and they told mayors that increasing market liquidity would attract foreign investment and enhance confidence in local markets.

The council was initiated in 1989 by former Mayor Zhu Rongji, who went on to become Chinese premier. A generation of mayors has heeded his advice to seek counsel from the biggest and most important companies in the world to advance the city’s campaign to become a distinguished player on the global stage.

Council members have witnessed a transformation in the city as it embraced open, reform policies.

In 1990, Zhu announced that Shanghai’s Pudong would become a state-level trial site for modern development. In 2009, then Mayor Han Zheng, now a Chinese vice premier, said Disneyland would come to Shanghai.

At the very beginning, the council had only 12 members from seven countries. Today, it has grown into a true international think tank, with membership of nearly 50 from 16 nations. Whereas the early councils were dominated by representatives from manufacturing industries, today’s panels span cutting-edge sectors such as finance, pharmaceuticals and technology.

In ancient China, when people were 30 years old, it was assumed they had finished reading all the Confucian classics and were knowledgeable enough to start a career. In other words, it was a new start in their life’s journey.

The spirit of that idea has been adopted by this year’s 30th annual International Business Leaders Advisory Council meeting, under the theme “New era, new start, new action.”

Council members will be joined by leading Chinese businessmen, Shanghai officials, senior bureaucrats and consuls-general.

Also on the agenda this week, Shanghai is hosting two forums featuring some of the world’s top scientists.

The four-day World Laureates Forum, which begins today in Lingang New City in the Pudong New Area, has invited 38 top scientists that include winners of achievement awards such as the Nobel Prize, the AM Turning Award and the Wolf Prize.

The theme of the conference is the future of mankind in a world of new technologies.

Concurrently, the annual Pujiang Innovation Forum, organized by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology and the Shanghai government, begins Monday and runs through Thursday.

It has invited more than 200 scientists from at home and abroad to discuss how innovation can be applied to supply-side reforms in China.


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