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November 12, 2013

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Han highlights 3-point plan for Shanghai’s future

Shanghai can tolerate some slowing of growth as it seeks to transform its economy, according to Han Zheng, the city’s Party chief and former mayor.

Han made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Caixin magazine.

The city could “slow down the growth a bit” as it switches its focus, he told Caixin.

“Right now our main focus is not at all GDP growth but to promote reform and restructuring,” Han said. “Innovation and transformation are the two major tasks at hand.”

In response to reports that Shanghai was suffering economic decline, Han said he was satisfied with the current pace of growth.

“It could hardly get any higher,” he said.

Shanghai’s GDP grew by 7.7 percent in the first nine months of the year. The government’s target for 2013 is 7.5 percent.

Han also told the magazine that next year’s economic plan for the city was being finalized.

It will focus on three aspects, he said. The first was the quality and efficiency of economic development and structural optimization. Han said that maximizing total output was “definitely not” the primary objective.

The second focus was on the environment, he said.

Shanghai will reform, develop and continue to build itself as an international financial center, Han said, but these goals would not be carried out at the cost of environmental degradation.

“We must no longer maintain the old mindset of ‘pollute first, deal with the environment later’,” he said. “We need to improve the environment in every step we take. The air quality in Shanghai is still among top 10 cities in the country.”

The third point of emphasis, Han said, was improving the well-being of the city’s residents.

“In a large metropolis like Shanghai, people naturally have higher expectations and standards,” he said.

“Their needs differ from some people in other provinces, so you have to understand what it is that they care about the most.”

Han said his strategy for improving people’s livelihoods was to understand what the government can do and make the best efforts to carry out changes.

“Not statistical changes, but positive changes in quality of life that people can feel in their daily life,” he said. “Those are very important.”



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