1、Zhao Beiwen：City's 'Four Brands' strategy
The opening of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) has showcased the positive image of Shanghai and is an exercise in leveraging the city’s “Four Brands” strategy.
1. One-stop service
With its slogan to create a one-stop service platform featuring the format of “six plus 365 days,” the CIIE not only provided online-offline trade services, but the organizer also facilitated customs clearance and quarantine inspection. Thus the expo served as a window on the future of constructing the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone.
From the introduction of joint venture production lines, to manufacturing, R&D and sales of parts, the automobile industry has prospered over the past dozen years or so. Cars have made intra-regional integration in the Yangtze River Delta a reality, but in the meantime car exhausts have deeply worried people from experts to the average consumer. The rise of electric vehicle has, however, heralded a bright future going forward.
2. Close-up of High-end manufacturing
Take intelligent and cutting-edge equipment on display at the expo. Innovation, market development and the exhibition of new products have provided possibilities for investment and trade. They also compelled Chinese entrepreneurs and exhibitors to think over the following question: trade or investment? How can we achieve a win-win outcome?
3. A taste of global shopping
The CIIE itself signifies that Shanghai shopping has gained an international profile. The expo put entrepreneurs in direct contact with consumers. Through supply side reform, consumers were allowed to experience consumer goods yet to be imported. New consumption concepts were forged and new consumer groups created. The CIIE treated consumers at home and abroad to products that were value for money.
4. Shanghai culture on display
The CIIE organizers not only arranged for visits by firms from different Chinese localities to come together for procurement at the expo, they also invited foreign guests to attend the event. On an area covering 270,000 square meters, booths were operated by 2800 plus companies from more than 130 countries and areas. Heads of state and business leaders converged at the extravaganza to bring flows of people, logistics and capital to Shanghai.
Stylish apparel, imported foods, high-tech gizmos and healthcare products came all the way from their countries of origin, enriching our lifestyles and satisfying our needs. More importantly, the cosmopolitan spirit is manifested in the form of not only welcoming domestic and foreign talent to settle down, but also of introducing the most vanguard and fashionable items and concepts, which demonstrated the Shanghai brand of culture.
The author is deputy director of Institute of World Economy, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
2、Huang Yejing：City arena for world competition
The recent China International Import Expo (CIIE) was a grand gathering for businesses. Apart from being a stage for products from various countries and regions, the expo provided an arena for industries to display their international competitiveness.
The CIIE also confirmed Shanghai’s standing in the trade and exhibition service, and affirmation of the city’s leading role in the Yangtze River Delta economic circle, shaping the competitive edge of Chinese industries. History proves that regional economic circles in developed countries, which centered on metropolises, are crucial to building advantages for countries’ representative industries. Take Japan for instance. The city cluster around Tokyo enjoys a leg up in advanced manufacturing in the Asia-Pacific region, which helps generate huge brand influence.
The leading city in the regional economic circle is the “absorber” of high-end elements in industries, technologies and human resources. Meanwhile, it is also the hinge that connects the domestic and overseas market. The leading city is the pioneer and demonstration in cultivating the market and mapping out a new pattern for economic growth. The economic transformation and upgrading that takes place in an urban agglomeration will be, first and foremost, reflected in the development of its leading city.
China has realized the all-round construction of the modern industrial system through institutional reform and opening up. China started out from keeping the pace with the international market, gradually integrating itself into the international economic circulating system and forming its own drivers of industrial growth that stands on the frontline of the world’s economy. Other than winning itself a globally influential edge in the competition of the modern industrial systems, China’s journey of transformation has also breathed new life into the global value chain and improved the distribution of resources.
Undoubtedly, cities and urban agglomerations at the forefront of China’s reform and opening up are the most important vehicles of the development of modern industrial systems. China’s development is concentrated in its cities, and the cities’ competitiveness is key to improving regional industries. City clusters are the platform and vehicle that gather core elements of industrial competitiveness and propel institutional innovation, so that structural transformation and interaction among cities can be realized. The fundamental driver of industrial competitiveness, in China’s coastal regions, lies in the export-led growth of manufacturing. Through trade, most coastal cities promptly boosted the competitiveness of an array of labor-intensive industries.
The Yangtze River Delta, as the most representative economic circle in China, achieved its initial growth through foreign trade. With the support of human resources, enterprises in the Yangtze River Delta facilitated technology transfer through foreign investeded projects, integrated high-end elements essential to long-term growth and achieved upgrading of the industrial system.
The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China highlighted the strategy of regional coordinated development. The coordinated development pattern with integration at its core has huge potential to take the Yangtze River Delta’s industrial transformation and urbanization to another level.
In the medium and long term, the development planning of the Yangtze River Delta economic circle will be to build a relatively mature world-class city cluster. Based on the network of infrastructure and unified regional governance, the Yangtze River Delta aims to establish the interactive mechanism of regional coordinated development.
The author is professor and director, Division of Globalizing Economy at Institute of World Economy, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
3、Su Ning：Expo role in promoting global Shanghai
The China International Import Expo (CIIE) was a landmark event in turning Shanghai into an outstanding global city and pioneer in the city’s future development.
Sponsoring the event would also result in paradigm shift in terms of the city’s functional positioning, spatial layout, regional interactivity, and branding.
1. Shanghai is functionally more diverse as a global city.
As a vital platform to open the Chinese market to the world, the CIIE showcased a new round of globalization as spearheaded by China. As a gateway to China, Shanghai, in sponsoring this strategic event, suggests further elevation of its function. As Joseph Nye, former dean of the Kennedy School, said, as an important window showcasing China’s foreign trade, Shanghai demonstrated to the world the nation’s economic achievements and developments over the past decades. In the past two decades, in terms of its external economic function, the city has been chiefly responsible for serving the opening-up of a domestic production and export system as driven by direct foreign investment.
The CIIE marked the city’s enhanced capacity to open domestic market system to the world, and the improved import service capacity brought about by the further opening-up. Shanghai’s function changed from one export-oriented targeting developed countries, to one balancing exports with imports targeting, in addition to the US and European countries, also Belt Road Initiative (BRI) countries and developing countries. For example, in 2017 Shanghai’s imports from BRI countries amounted to 364.94 billion yuan, a growth of 25 percent over the previous year, surpassing the 207.26 billion yuan worth of imports from the US.
2. Shanghai is more balanced in spatial development.
Holding the CIIE in Hongqiao added to the function and influence of the greater Hongqiao region, thus promoting Shanghai’s balance in terms of its spatial development.
Since the development of Pudong, Shanghai’s development had been chiefly eastward. As a result, the rapid development in the east had resulted in an agglomeration of international commercial areas, infrastructure and industrial parks in the eastern area.
The CIIE gave fresh impetus to the Western area, balancing east-west development.
3. Regional interactivity deepened.
Shanghai’s aspiration to become an outstanding global city would entail closer coordination between neighboring cities. The tremendous appetite for services during the CIIE transmitted to neighboring regions. What’s more, the infrastructural development in the Hongqiao region will also enable Shanghai to be better equipped to serve neighboring areas in terms of transport, business and culture.
4. Shanghai would gain in its branding.
The CIIE now serves as a sustainable international communication and interactive platform in showcasing Shanghai service, shopping, culture and manufacturing.
Through the prism of CIIE, Shanghai’s comprehensive service capacity, historical-cultural heritage, creativity, urban governance capacity and consumption potentials will all be duly publicized.
The author is associate professor and deputy director of International Politics Economy Research Centre, the Institute of World Economy, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
4、Yu Qiuyang：The innovative transformation of 'Made in Shanghai'
At the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, President Xi Jinping called for an innovative transformation of Chinese traditions.
As the cradle of modern Chinese industry, Shanghai has undergone the transition from a manufacture pioneer to a hi-tech incubator. The industrial civilization and craftsman spirit, in which “Made in Shanghai” takes root, should keep pace with the new era. “Industry plus tourism” is one of the creative ideas, which aims to promote tourism by displaying industry-related contents like production process, factory appearance, workers’ daily routines and enterprise culture. This will serve the city image, industry transformation and eventually boost revenue growth.
The evolution of Shanghai’s city planning makes “industry plus tourism” possible. During the suburbanization of industrial production, a multitude of factories, once located in the city center, have now retired from the stage, and this industrial legacy has give rise to a variety of possibilities.
At a two-pronged approach of cultural creativity and technology, Shanghai’s “industry plus tourism” is now characterized by the following six patterns:
From history to cultural landmarks: Creative public spaces have grown out of industry remains. For instance, the old No 17 cotton factory has been renovated and then “upgraded” into Shanghai fashion center. The revival of industry memory can go hand-in-hand with the trendy consumption and tourism.
From memory to education: Museums based on industrial locations or manufacturing enterprises present Shanghai’s rich history of industrial success and bright prospects through modern visual and audial technology.
From production to consumption: New forms of tourism have injected vibrancy into classical Shanghai brands such as Forever Bike and Bright Dairy.
From manufacture to self-recognition: Industry advancement can boost China’s national power.
From industrial construction to city landmark: The achievement of Shanghai’s industry since the reform and opening up has deepened people’s understanding of “industry plus tourism” and defined a new city image.
From product to world expo: “Made in Shanghai” needs a new showcase.
With its abundant resources, advanced facilities and convenient public service, Shanghai is in the right place to hold world-class industrial expos. The CIIE is a great moment for “industry plus tourism” as well as international cooperation.
The author is associate professor at the Institute of the Applied Economics, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
5、Gao Jiang：Long-term targets set by the CIIE
The China International Import Expo was a great innovation for the history of global trade. It has immediate effects on bolstering bilateral trade.
Amid the current trade tensions and upheavals, the CIIE sent a strong signal of China’s intention to press ahead with a new round of stepped-up reform and opening up — so as to ease trade conflicts by expanding imports. More notably, we should focus on formulating mechanisms to realize the six long-term goals of the CIIE.
First, craft China’s image as a great power with an open mentality.
At present, China’s imports account for 11 percent of the global total.
The country has become a formidable force in global economic recovery.
China’s pledge to import US$10 trillion in goods and services are a sign of China’s stance and positioning on preserving an open, inclusive and mutually beneficial multi-lateral trading system.
Second, stimulate potential consumption. In 2017, consumption made up 45 percent of Chinese GDP.
China has steadily created a new demographic dividend, that is, its strong buying power.
China should take advantage of the CIIE as a platform to promote smart home automation and home appliances, everyday consumer tech, VR and AR, medical and fitness equipment, among other things.
Third, strengthen efforts to bolster supporting structures for industry and build homegrown brands.
In an era of value chain trade, resources are allocated across the globe depending on countries’ specific strengths and clout. And manufacturing is done in a number of nations instead of one. Against this backdrop, China can exploit its market size, factors of production and foreign exchange reserves to broaden its access to vital or core parts from abroad.
Fourth, use competition at the CIIE to drive better performance. The expo not only opened the Chinese market wider to foreign smart gadgets and services. Moreover, related industries and sectors have been left to bear the brunt of the pressure brought on by global competitors.
In the short to medium term, competition will prompt domestic market leaders to ramp up R&D spending by setting examples to follow.
In the long term, latecomers can learn from early movers and established players, trying to catch up with the latter in R&D capabilities. Those firms that can’t reinvent themselves in technology and management will be gradually sidelined through competition.
Fifth, set the ground for developing large-scale manufacturing equipment. High-end manufacturing is the backbone of an industrial revolution, and has far-reaching implications for a country’s bid to rapidly industrialize and rise up the value chain.
The first CIIE has brought together over 160 firms specializing in AI and cutting-edge equipment, including market leaders in niche segments. It offered an opportunity for dialogue and exchange between Chinese and foreign manufacturing powerhouses.
Sixth, the CIIE also provided a chance to optimize the management of China’s massive foreign exchange reserves.
After forty years of growth, China is now the world’s second-largest economy with the biggest foreign exchange reserve.
China should take the initiative and expand imports so as to restrict its current trade surplus to the best possible levels and to fulfill the role of foreign exchange reserves in boosting the real economy.
The author is an adjunct researcher at the Institute of World Economy, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.