The story appears on

Page A10

May 4, 2017

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Business » Biz Special

‘Meaningful progress’ but more work to do

Q: In the past five years, Shanghai has undergone important changes in its growth strategy, such as the establishment of the pilot Free Trade Zone and the city’s moves toward becoming a global hub of innovation. How would you rate the progress so far?

A: Shanghai has often served as a testing ground for new policies and is a city that has produced many of China’s top leaders. The size of its services sector, at over 70 percent, is perhaps the largest in China, and the city is host to at least 580 regional headquarters of multinationals, also the largest number in China today.

It is an important window to the outside world, Thirty percent of China’s imported goods enter via Shanghai, a city whose economy increasingly relies on advanced services and manufacturing. Sectors such as aviation, automotive, biotech, IT, financial services and tourism are all examples of where Shanghai is headed.

The pilot Free Trade Zone has been Shanghai’s most notable policy innovation in recent years. It was the first to introduce the “negative list” concept determining foreign corporate entry. It has streamlined customs and requirements for entry-exit inspection and quarantine in order to facilitate trade, and it has introduced some financial sector reforms.

However, the Shanghai zone has yet to live up to the expectations of the American business community. For example, we would like to see more opening up to foreign companies in professional services.

As for Shanghai’s desire to become an innovation center, there has been meaningful progress. Many US companies have research and development facilities in Shanghai, and the city has many excellent universities. But more must be done, especially if Shanghai wants to compete with Beijing and Shenzhen as a center of IT innovation.

Q: What about AmCham Shanghai’s development in the past five years? Has it benefited from Shanghai’s growth strategy?

A: AmCham Shanghai is one of the largest AmChams outside of the United States. We have approximately 3,500 members from around 1,500 companies. Over the past few years, we have expanded our activities with new offices in Suzhou and Nanjing, and we have strengthened our ties with local Chinese companies, especially those looking to invest in the US. We also created a Trade and Investment Center to give practical business support to American and Chinese companies alike.

Our membership size is relatively stable. In recent years, most of our new members have come from smaller companies in the services industry. We are also seeing more technology start-ups, perhaps an indication that Shanghai’s efforts to become an innovation hub are beginning to pay off.

Q: How about your own career in Shanghai?

A: I have lived in Shanghai continuously since 2005, first as a diplomat and then as an executive with an American consulting company. Since September 2013, I have been president of AmCham Shanghai.

Given the length of my residency in Shanghai, you would be correct in assuming that I enjoy the lifestyle here. I am addicted to the city’s energy and dynamism, its unusual mix of architecture, its internationalism and its special history with the West. Although I have lived in four other cities in the Chinese mainland, Shanghai is the one I think of as home. Over the past five years, the city has become even more attractive, with expansion in cultural offerings, restaurants and even the scope of the Metro system.

Q: What more needs to be done for the city to make greater progress in the next five years?

A: Shanghai exists in a competitive neighborhood and cannot afford to rest on its laurels, no matter how successful its past.

The city has ambitious goals for 2040, namely, to become a center for international economics, finance, trade, shipping and scientific innovation, as well as a cultural metropolis. Very few cities around the globe have such aspirations. Reaching these goals will require much more than a first-rate infrastructure, however.

Shanghai will need to attract talent from around the world, and Shanghai’s ability to do that will rely increasingly on the quality of life here, in addition to the practical imperative of offering simpler work visa procedures. By quality of life, I mean a clean environment, plenty of green areas and recreational facilities, fast Internet that is free of barriers, a rich cultural life and high quality medical care. As a native New Yorker, I would also urge Shanghai to extend the hours of the Metro system even more. Shanghai took a step in that direction this month. Shanghai will never be a truly global city if its subway shuts down before midnight.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend