BEIJING, Dec. 5, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's six-day inspection tour of Shanghai has further elevated the major Chinese economic powerhouse's exemplary role in leading the country toward high-quality development, as he stressed expediting building Shanghai into a modern socialist international metropolis, local officials, businesses and experts said on Monday.
During the crucial trip, Xi stressed the need to accelerate the construction of the "five centers" - the international center of economy, finance, trade, shipping and science and technology (sci-tech) innovation. Such a focus from the top leader paints a clear picture of China's long-term development priorities and the path to Chinese modernization, they noted.
As Chinese top policymakers are expected to convene the annual Central Economic Work Conference, a crucial meeting that sets the tone for economic policymaking for the coming year, many of the development priorities, including in economic growth, financial development, trade and sci-tech innovation will also likely be highlighted, experts noted.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made an inspection tour in Shanghai that ran from Tuesday to Saturday, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
In Shanghai, Xi inspected the Shanghai Futures Exchange, the Zhangjiang Science City in the Pudong New Area, and a government-subsidized rental housing community, among other places. He also presided over a symposium on promoting the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta and was briefed on the city's work by the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee and the Shanghai municipal government.
Xi stressed the need to speed up building Shanghai into a modern, socialist and international metropolis by focusing on the construction of international centers of economy, finance, trade, shipping and sci-tech innovation. He also urged Shanghai to accelerate building itself into a modern, socialist and international metropolis with global influence, and play a leading and exemplary role in advancing Chinese modernization, according to Xinhua.
The top leader's trip and important remarks have boosted confidence of local officials and businesses in pursuing high-quality development in various areas.
Luo Dajin, chairman of the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality, said Xi's visit to an exhibition on Shanghai's sci-tech innovations encouraged sci-tech workers to strive to achieve new breakthroughs.
"I listened to the General Secretary's important speech, and deeply felt the General Secretary's passion for scientific and technological advancements. I felt that the General Secretary's expectations for Shanghai's scientific and technological innovation were consistent. I was deeply inspired, excited, and motivated," Luo said in a statement that was sent to the Global Times on Monday.
Shanghai is a crucial hub for sci-tech innovation in China. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization's latest Global Innovation Index released in September, the Shanghai-Suzhou sci-tech cluster moved up one place to enter the top 5 on the list of top 100 sci-tech clusters. Two other Chinese sci-tech clusters - Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou and Beijing - made the top 5.
Apart from being a sci-tech innovation hub, Shanghai is also China's main financial hub as well as an international financial center. It ranked sixth place in the latest rankings from the 2022 Global Financial Centers Index.
While inspecting the Shanghai Futures Exchange, Xi urged the exchange to speed up the construction of a world-class exchange, and make greater contributions to exploring the futures regulatory system and business model with Chinese characteristics and building an international financial center, according to Xinhua.
Such remarks also lifted the spirit of many financial industry professionals in Shanghai, especially coming after the Central Financial Work Conference, which set the goal of building China into a financial powerhouse, according to Li Huiyong, an executive with Shanghai-based Hwabao WP Fund Management Co.
"For financial firms, what building Shanghai as an international financial center means, first and foremost, is that it would bring about a lot of businesses," Li told the Global Times on Monday, adding that it also means greater convenience for cross-border capital flows and multinationals' businesses in Shanghai.
During the inspection tour, Xi also said more effort should be made to promote high-level financial opening-up to better serve the real economy, sci-tech innovation, and the joint development of the Belt and Road Initiative, according to Xinhua.
Another focus of Xi's inspection tour was improving the livelihood of urban residents. He visited a residential community in Minhang district that is dedicated to providing affordable rental housing for new urban dwellers, young people and frontline workers. He said he was pleased to see city builders from all over the country living and working there with joy and contentment.
What the top leader focused on during the inspection tour also carries national significance, given Shanghai's leading and exemplary role in China's overall economic development, experts noted.
"As a financial center and a hub for foreign investment, Shanghai can play a leading role in promoting the expansion for industries to the country's central and western areas, creating strategic space for China's economic development for decades to come," Hu Qimu, a deputy secretary-general of the digital-real economies integration Forum 50, told the Global Times on Monday.
While in Shanghai, Xi also presided over a symposium on promoting the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta, and noted the need to advance the integrated development of the delta, further improve the region's innovation capability, industrial competitiveness and development levels, and develop a new pattern of higher-level reform and opening-up. These are of great significance for China to forge a new development paradigm, promote high-quality development, and build itself into a strong country and realize national rejuvenation through a Chinese path to modernization, he said.
Integrated development in the Yangtze River Delta has already made great strides and still holds vast potential, given the focus on the development strategy from the top leadership, businesses and experts noted.
The region is home to many industrial and supply chains for critical industries, including semiconductors and new-energy vehicles (NEVs). In the Yangtze River Delta, through the integrated development of industrial clusters, an NEV factory can solve the supply of required supporting parts within a 4-hour drive, forming a "4-hour industrial circle" that reflects the characteristics of a modern industrial system, a Shanghai-based supplier of NEV parts told the Global Times on Monday.
The Yangtze River Delta region, which accounts for only 4 percent of China's land area but contributes about 25 percent of China's total GDP, also plays a leading and exemplary role in China's coordinated regional development strategy, which aims for high-quality and balanced development across the country, experts noted.
Xiconomics in Practice: Xi's inspection tour elevates Shanghai's leading role in high-quality development