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November 7, 2016

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A global city of excellence by 2040

SHANGHAI aims to be a global city of excellence by 2040, said Mayor Yang Xiong.

The drive to so would be accompanied by further development in the smart Internet industry, digitalization and innovative regulatory scheme, he said yesterday after the annual meeting in the city of the International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council.

The one-day meeting discussed the challenges and opportunities of making Shanghai a smart city, the transformation of industries, the role of small and middle-sized enterprises, supply of talent and the use of data to pursue the goal of becoming a global city of excellence.

Speaking of the city government’s role in the process, Yang indicated the city faces challenges ahead with building a smart Internet system — such as the drastic changes it will bring with it.

The city government must prepare itself to be able to deal with such difficulties and find the right balance between innovation and regulation, he said.

“I don’t think innovation and regulation run counter to each other,” Yang said at a media conference after the meeting. But there is always a bottom line when it came to innovation, he said, such as the issues of security, and ethical and moral concerns.

The theme of this year’s meeting, “Sustainable Development of Shanghai in the Internet Era,” attracted around 500 foreign and Chinese delegates.

Mark Weinberger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the auditing firm Ernst & Young, was elected the new chairman of the International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council for the next two years.

He takes over from Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP Plc, the world’s biggest advertising agency.

The advisory council meeting, initiated in 1989 by then Shanghai Mayor Zhu Rongji, was envisioned as a platform for the world’s top business leaders to provide strategic advice on Shanghai’s development and challenges.

In his keynote speech, Mayor Yang said “we live in an era where Internet is omnipresent with our lives more colorful and enriched while sustainable development is ever more important.”

“Internet lies in the foundation as Shanghai is becoming an international economic, finance, trade, shipping and scientific innovation center,” Yang said.

The city has answered the call from the State Council and has incorporated the Internet into the core of its development blueprint, the mayor said.

Yang laid out the major tasks for Shanghai to establish itself as an international economic, finance, trade, shipping and scientific innovation center, as well as drawing up a master plan to become a global city of excellence.

“The Internet Plus is a great opportunity for Shanghai to pursue economic restructuring and to seek a new economic growth engine,” he said.

New administration models and plans are also required as urban administration in the future would be dependent on the Internet.

“Furthermore, Internet technology should also be fully leveraged to build a more intelligent, convenient and accessible public service system, so that the public could enjoy a better quality of life,” he said.

The city would also push forward the adoption of information technology to promote sustainable development, recycling and low-carbon development.

“Shanghai hopes to strengthen exchange and cooperation with international businesses in terms of putting Internet technology and innovation into practice,” the mayor told the meeting.

“We’re looking forward to many more participants’ contribution and efforts in building Shanghai into a smart city.”

Members of the International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council spoke highly of Shanghai’s efforts to drive innovation growth and also put forward their suggestions and advice regarding how to further use the Internet to help to build a smart city.

WPP’s Sorrell called for an integrated approach involving all stakeholders from public and private sectors, academia and civil society to unlock the frontiers of the Internet and to create a new engine for economic growth.

“Shanghai can be the driving force in implementing and realizing the national blueprint for Internet Plus,” he said.

Regarding pharmaceutical and healthcare services, Roche Group CEO Severin Schwan said, “Shanghai has the potential to become one of the leading innovation hubs in the world by focusing on science and technology.”

Shanghai is well positioned and has the ability, he said, to deal with fragmented healthcare data — something no other country has yet succeeded in doing.

Founding executive editor of “Wired” magazine Kevin Kelly shared his opinion on artificial intelligence and Internet innovations in his speech at the meeting.

“The drawing up of Shanghai’s future plan should be put under a context where we would assume that machines are inter-connected and the fact that we’re able to do things collectively in real time at a scale we’ve never been able to do before,” he said.

“Internet is providing us with new platforms to work collaboratively which we have never done before,” Kelly said.

“Artificial intelligence will become a utility and service in the future which can be purchased whenever enterprise or individual wants to use them,” he said, adding that virtual reality and augmented reality would bring new opportunities of doing businesses or having a social life.

Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens AG, said he was confident of the prospects that data technologies to be fully leveraged to help manage traffic and smart transportation solutions based on digital technologies could help raise the whole city’s efficiency — a crucial part of Shanghai’s sustainable plan.

Dan Ammann, President of General Motors Company, said Shanghai has already taken a lead in the move toward sustainable transportation and creating a framework for new business models such as ride sharing, and encouraging the testing and deployment of intelligent and connected vehicle technologies.

Mayor Yang said the Shanghai government was taking stock of draft rules concerning online ride-hailing services. The results would be issued soon.

“For a megacity like Shanghai, the answer of solving the transportation problem is to give priority to the public transit system,” Yang said.

So far a good job was being done on that, but “we should then see what we can do to better” accommodate people’s transport requirements.

“Very clear rules” were needed to control online taxis, he added.


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