March 13, 2017

Pudong poised to build on history of achievement

Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility, China’s largest synchrotron research facility to date, located in Pudong’s Zhangjiang High Technology Park. Pudong is striving to continue spearheading innovation-driven development.

Pudong has set goals to be a forerunner in areas such as reforms and opening up, innovation-driven development, and improving social management and people’s livelihood.

Highlights of the year will be the further development of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the science technology innovation center, structural reform of the supply side, the “Four Centers,” and the integrated development of urban and rural areas as well as the comprehensive improvement of the regional environment.

China’s first pilot free trade zone opened down in Pudong in 2013. This testing ground for reforms has carried out more than 100 institutional innovations, including creating a “negative list” specifying areas that are off-limits to foreign investors, and allowing foreign firms to operate under the same investment rules as domestic counterparts.

Shanghai last year won state approval for plans to become a global technology and innovation center by 2020 with greater support for entrepreneurship, investment to support research and development, and construction of major science projects.

Ambitious plans

To meet this goal, Shanghai this year will build the Zhangjiang Comprehensive National Science Center, improve market-oriented mechanisms for the transfer and commercialization of scientific and technological achievements, and develop more international and attractive talent policies, according to a government report released in January.

Pudong’s Science and Technology Development Fund also chipped in 1.39 billion yuan (US$200 million) to support more than 10,000 projects in the construction of the science technology innovation center.

At present, Pudong has 1,510 high-tech enterprises and 527 research and development institutions. Regional output reached 860 billion yuan last year, up 9.3 percent year-on-year.

The new area attracted foreign direct investment of US$7.04 billion last year, a year-on-year increase of 8.9 percent. Around 88 percent of the investment — or nearly US$6.2 billion — went to the FTZ, up 28.2 percent from a year ago.

The zone, which covers some 121 square kilometers, comprises the Lujiazui financial hub, the Jinqiao manufacturing zone, the Zhangjiang high-tech base and the three bonded areas of Waigaoqiao, Yangshan and Pudong International Airport. It is home to more than 37,000 enterprises, including 6,300 foreign-funded companies.

Among them, more than 90 percent were established by registration-based procedures, instead of being examined case-by-case by authorities ahead of their final approval.

Most foreign-funded businesses were registered in just one day within the zone, compared with an average of eight working days previously.

In addition, the already simplified procedures for investors to establish a company in the zone will be further streamlined, allowing applicants to obtain all necessary documents at a single counter in the near future.

Through the high-efficiency trade supervision system in the FTZ, waiting times for imported cargo to enter the bonded area have been reduced by two to three days, while logistics costs have decreased by an average of 10 percent.

The “go through customs ahead of declaration” policy has been widely considered the most effective move in trade reform among enterprises.

Cutting red tape

In accordance with the “one counter” model established in the FTZ, trade firms may fulfill all import and export procedures — including customs declaration, inspection, release, payment and dispersal — through just one counter and receive feedback at the same platform.

Regulators can also exchange information, do business processing and get feedback via the same platform. Data submitted by enterprises in the shipping-declaration period have been reduced by 65 percent, while in the declaration-of-goods period data have been cut by 24 percent.

The creation of free trade accounts has become a highlight of financial institutional innovation in the FTZ. All financial institutions in Shanghai are connected to the free trade account system.

Pudong is also enhancing its capability to allocate global resources. The capital and futures markets of Pudong are among the largest worldwide.

The added value of Pudong’s financial industry is half of the city’s total and accounts for 27 percent of the new area’s economy.

Pudong is improving its infrastructure at the same time, further developing rural renewal projects and investing more to promote locals’ livelihoods.