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April 27, 2010

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Shanghai competitiveness ranks No. 3, with rising expectations

SHANGHAI is still ranked in third place on a list of China's most competitive cities but is predicted to go even higher.

The city came in just behind Hong Kong and Shenzhen, according to a report released yesterday by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The report said Shanghai had great potential to advance on the list amid its progress toward becoming a global financial and shipping center.

The World Expo, which opens on Saturday, would also enhance the city's global influence and make it more attractive, it added.

The top three have remained unchanged since 2006.

"Shanghai has managed quite an improvement this year," said Huang Renwei, vice president of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

"The same ranking only suggests that other cities are also advancing fast.

"With the accelerating process of turning Shanghai into a global financial and shipping center, the city is sure to be even more competitive."

Hong Kong came out on top because of its high-level legal and regulatory systems and transparent market environment, the report said.

High Incomes

People in Hong Kong and Shenzhen "also have higher incomes."

However, as to scale of economies, Shanghai's gross domestic product amounted to 1.49 trillion yuan (US$218 billion) last year, for the first time eclipsing that of Hong Kong, whose GDP stood at 1.43 trillion yuan in 2009.

Sun Lijian, a finance professor at Fudan University, said Shanghai could learn a lot from Hong Kong.

"Hong Kong is an established world financial market and has staged a fast recovery from the global financial crisis despite its openness to the external market," Sun said.

"Shanghai should learn humbly from Hong Kong in its process to become a global financial center."

This year marks a milestone for Shanghai as it hosts the Expo, which is expected to attract more than 70 million visitors to the city over its six-month duration.

Observers said Shanghai should maintain the momentum created by the Expo beyond 2010 and continue raising the quality of life by lifting environmental standards.

After the Expo, Shanghai will embrace another new bright spot of its development, the Disneyland theme park.

The annual list covered 294 major cities and assessed 12 factors in each, including the size of the economy, quality of life, economic efficiency and innovation capabilities.


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