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Shanghai cooperation zone to bolster links between domestic, global players

Shanghai cooperation zone to bolster links between domestic, global players

A view of the Shanghai Yangshan deep water port. [JI HAIXIN/FOR CHINA DAILY]

China’s initiative to establish a global business cooperation zone in Shanghai will enhance international business communication, strengthening connections between domestic and global markets, government officials said on Thursday.

Speaking at a news conference in Beijing, they said that the move will create a new platform to boost the economy in the Yangtze River Delta region and across the country.

On Feb 19, the State Council, or China’s Cabinet, approved the General Plan of Constructing Shanghai Eastern Hub International Business Cooperation Zone.

This aims to facilitate business meetings and negotiations, catering to the needs of short-term international business activities.

Located in an 880,000-square-meter area neighboring Shanghai Pudong International Airport, the zone allows foreign visitors to stay for up to 30 days upon arrival from the airport without verification of their visas.

Sun Yuning, vice-minister of the General Administration of Customs, said that the new zone is not a simple replication of any existing special zone type in China. Instead, it draws on, integrates and innovates the functions of various domestic and international zones.

“The main focus of this area is to promote international business exchanges by leveraging the international aviation hub,” said Sun.

The zone builds on the foundation of the comprehensive bonded zone, Customs supervision zone and port area management system by introducing policies and measures to facilitate the entry and exit of individuals.

The construction of the new zone’s pilot area will be completed in 2025, and the entire zone will start operating under closed management in 2028 and be fully established by 2030.

Foreign institutions are also allowed to independently organize international-level economic and technical exhibitions within the zone, said Chen Zhenchong, director of the Department of Free Trade Zones and Special Control Area under the GAC.

The new zone will enrich Shanghai’s status as an international aviation hub, leveraging the innovative achievements of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, said Hua Yuan, vice-mayor of Shanghai.

“By creating a highly convenient platform for international business communications, the zone will better connect domestic and international markets, thereby contributing to a higher level of opening up,” said Hua.

Shanghai is home to more than 75,000 foreign-funded enterprises, with 956 headquarters and 561 research and development centers, according to Shanghai’s municipal government.

In addition to being a major destination in China for foreign visitors, Shanghai stands out as a major hub for foreign trade, with over 58,000 companies engaged in foreign trade activities. The city’s trade volume represents over 3 percent of the world’s total.

Zhu Min, director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, said that the Yangtze River Delta region is one of the most economically open and dynamic areas in China, with a large number of foreign trade and investment businesses having huge demand for cross-border interactions such as meetings, business negotiations, exhibitions and training.

To facilitate these activities, the T3 terminal of Shanghai Pudong International Airport is set to open in 2028, with the airport’s total annual passenger capacity projected to reach 130 million. Moreover, Shanghai East Railway Station, with an annual design capacity of 60 million passengers, is slated for completion and operation by 2027. These facilities will serve as a key hub for the Yangtze River Delta region, according to the development plan of Shanghai’s municipal government.

Earlier this week, Shanghai’s municipal government certified 34 regional headquarters of multinational corporations and 17 foreign-funded research and development centers, data from the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce showed.

The city’s actual use of foreign direct investment exceeded $24 billion in 2023, the fourth year in a row that it has surpassed the $20-billion threshold.