The story appears on

Page A9

February 16, 2016

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » City specials » Chengdu

Cooperation booms on sister-city relations

AS Chengdu is growing in size and importance, the city is also getting more attention on the international stage. Cities across the globe now see Chengdu as a good option to form a “sister cities” bond to improve economic and cultural cooperation. Chengdu has signed sister-city agreements with 29 cities, and counts an additional 40 “friendly city” agreements.

In Chengdu’s latest effort to enhance relations with its foreign sister cities, a media delegation made up of some of the city’s most senior reporters and editors boarded a plane to visit Haifa, its sister city in Israel, and Horsens in Denmark late last month.

Chengdu and Haifa signed an agreement to become sister cities in 2013. Since then, Chengdu has been an active participant in various events related to Haifa, especially in connection with education and technological development.

Haifa’s Vice Mayor Hedva Almog met with the delegation and addressed an array of topics, touching on exchange in the fields of economy, culture, education and state-of-the-art technology.

“We attach huge importance to our relation with Chengdu,” Almog said, holding a stack of documents about Chengdu in her hands. “It feels like our exchange with Chengdu is taking place all the time.”

Almog said Haifa has detailed plans to step up cooperation with Chengdu in areas including education, tourism and technology.

“Every year, two or three students of our university will go to Chengdu,” said Hannan Alexander, dean at the international school of the University of Haifa. “We plan to invite faculties and teachers in Chengdu to come to Haifa in the near future, and I will go to Chengdu this year to have a look at this legendary city.”

Alexander said that the university was also considering setting up a Confucius Institute.

Lin Jingting, a student from Chengdu studying food quality and safety, said she considered herself lucky to be able to study as an exchange student at the University of Haifa.

“I really appreciate this opportunity,” Lin said. The experience has been life-changing, she said, explaining that she has been accepted as a graduate in the University of Haifa due to her excellent academic performance. Lin also said that her classmates are interested in Chengdu, and that they keep asking her about the city in remote China.

Ten students from Chengdu are currently studying at the university — an example of the cities’ close cooperation in the education sector.

Haifa is also known for high technology. The Matam high-tech zone is an illustration for Haifa’s status in technological development. Global tech giants including Google, Intel, Microsoft, Apple and Yahoo have all set up research and development centers in this zone, which is also home to a kindergarten, post offices, restaurants and cafes to create a favorable environment for scientists, researchers and their families.

Cooperation in technology was kicked off in 2012 when YHT Group, a tech firm in Israel, invited Chengdu to take part in a forum to bolster bilateral cooperation in clean technology, information technology, pharmaceuticals and construction of new business incubators.

Horsens, a major city in Denmark, hopes to deepen its friendship with Chengdu and expand the cooperation in energy conservation and green development, said Horsens Vice Mayor Tom Heron during an interview at VIA University.

Water management is an area that Horsens and Chengdu can cooperate, said Heron. The underground water in Horsens is treated in a way that allows it to be the sole source for the city’s households, its industrial production and agriculture.

“We have clean and ample underground water resources in Horsens,” Heron said. “And we try very hard to guarantee no pollution in soil and underground water.”

Heron said the city has developed comprehensive techniques in water management, and is willing to share them with Chengdu.

“Together, we may find an applicable solution for Chengdu in water protection and management through multi-level communications in government, educational institutions and research centers,” Heron said.

The care service for senior citizens is another option for further cooperation. “Denmark has rich experiences in coping with an aging society,” said Rikke Hjuler Mikkelsen at VIA University responsible for international cooperation. “We hope we can have more communications and roll out tailor-made services to care for the seniors in China, with Chengdu as a trial place.”

VIA University has pioneered academic exchange in the field of senior care after it set up an office in Chengdu in 2012 for its cooperation with educational institutions, including Sichuan University, Sichuan Normal University and Chengdu University.

Heron also said that he wishes to enhance educational cooperation with Chengdu as well — a wish that will come true very soon.

In March of last year, Chengdu signed an agreement with Horsens that will see the construction of the Chengdu-Horsens School, comprised of a kindergarten and a primary school in Chengdu. They will feature many Danish elements and illustrate the idea of nurturing children’s creativity. The project was launched in August and is scheduled to be completed in September next year.

In addition to establishing sister cities and friendly city relations, Chengdu is home to consulates of 15 countries including the United States, Germany, South Korea, Thailand, India and Poland.

Chengdu is also an attractive destination for foreign investment. By the end of last year, 268 companies on the list of Fortune Global 500 have set up operations in Chengdu. In total, 6,650 foreign or partly foreign firms have established operations in the city. International business giants such as Intel and Siemens continued to expand their investment in Chengdu. Last year, foreign direct investment surpassed US$10 billion.

A batch of characteristic industrial parks in cooperation with foreign institutions have been set up in Chengdu, such as a new-business incubator in partnership with South Korea, an ecology-related park with France and a zone to nurture small- and medium-sized enterprises with Germany. They have become new platforms promoting foreign investment in Chengdu.

In addition, driven by incentives such as the preferential lending and tax treatment, and the high growth market in China’s west, auto companies such as Volvo have in recent years built factories in Chengdu. By the end of 2014, Chengdu was home to 21 automakers and 246 auto parts companies.

Chengdu has also implemented the “72-hour visa-free transit policy” to become the fourth city in China (after Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou) to allow the convenient stay of visitors from 51 countries. As a hot tourist destination, Chengdu was listed the second fastest growing tourism city in a survey by MasterCard last year.

With its more than 80 international routes, the city’s Shuangliu International Airport recorded more than 42 million passengers last year. The high-speed train connecting Chengdu and Lodz in Poland can transport goods in between the cities in 10 days, making Chengdu a real hub for logistics between Europe and Asia.


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