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Finest business minds focus on a city's future

The best brains from the world's leading corporations will gather in Shanghai today to brainstorm on how the city can push forward in its pursuit of sustainable and balanced growth.

They will give their views and share their experiences with Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng at the 22nd International Business Leaders' Advisory Council, whose theme this year is "to build Shanghai as a vibrant and innovative city."

The theme is apt against the background of a city riding out of the global financial turmoil and seeking sustainable and balanced growth in a post-crisis world.

About 500 foreign and Chinese delegates will take part in the meeting, including heads of major state-owned companies and top private firms.

Topics for discussions will include which industries Shanghai should seek a deeper footing in as it grows.

This year, Luke Ravenstahl, Mayor of Pittsburgh, will deliver a keynote speech to showcase the Unites States city's growth path and its shift from a steel hub to a more dynamic metropolis.

"High-tech, bio-chemicals, life science and health care industries are among the innovative sectors that Pittsburgh built up and Shanghai can do so as well," Ravenstahl said yesterday during his first trip to the city.

Jacob Wallenberg, chairman of Investor AB, will chair the council this year.

Yesterday, members of the council visited the World Expo Shanghai and enjoyed a cruise on the Huangpu River to get a deeper sense of the growing city besides talking about business.

At the Expo, with its theme of "Better City, Better Life," they saw how Shanghai was going all out to show the world how life in the city can be improved amidst China's unstoppable urbanization.

"Magnificent, wonderful, gorgeous and great" were among the adjectives the council members used to describe their initial impressions of Shanghai and the Expo.

This year, the annual meeting to gather the members' global wisdom is being held at the Expo Center.

The city's economy is growing in a stable manner this year and Shanghai is open to advice and suggestions on how it could develop better, Han said yesterday.

Health care, new energy, environmental protection and bio-pharmaceuticals were listed by Han as the sectors that Shanghai will build up in its economic structure reform.

Shanghai is expected to post an economic growth of about 10 percent this year as the city is playing a delicate balance between growth and a better economic structure, Han said earlier this year.

The city's gross domestic product increased 12.7 percent in the first half, after rising 15 percent in the first three months, Han told delegates at the city's People's Congress in July.

At the beginning of the year, the city set a target for economic growth of more than 8 percent for 2010.

Shanghai, once manufacturing-heavy and export-oriented, is throwing the weight of its economy behind a push to build up an advanced manufacturing industry and a modern services industry.

The IBLAC annual meeting was initiated in 1989 by Zhu Rongji, the then Shanghai mayor who later became Chinese premier.

He envisaged it as a platform for the world's top business leaders to provide strategic advice on Shanghai's development and the challenges it faced.

The council has grown into an international think-tank for Shanghai's mayor.

It started with 12 members from seven countries but has grown to 47 members from 16 countries. They come from various industries including finance, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and retail.

Themes of the IBLAC for the Mayor of Shanghai

2010 To Build Shanghai as a Vibrant and Innovative City

2009 Lessons Learned from the Global Financial Crisis in Helping the Acceleration of the Economic Transformation of Shanghai

2008 Retrospect and Outlook - Shanghai in Globalization

2007 Building a Resource-Conserving and Environmentally Friendly City

2006 Enhancing the City's Innovation Capacity

2005 Speeding up the Development of a Modern Service Industry

2004 Heightening Shanghai's International Competitiveness

2003 How to Host a Successful World Exposition

2002 How to Develop Shanghai into a World-Class City

2001 Shanghai's Opportunities and Challenges after China's Entry into the WTO

2000 Management

1999 Innovation and Development of New Industries


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