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Guangzhou and Globalization 4.0: opening with opportunities
Update: 2019-01-25     Source: newsgd.com

The fourth industrial revolution is set to reshape the world economy and bring about transformative technologies. The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting that kicked off on January 22 in Davos, Switzerland served as a platform for impassioned discussion on globalization and the development of the new economy. Many who attended highlighted the importance of China and how the nation is driving historic change.

Some commentators believe that China is actively and deeply involved in globalization, as many cities open up with innovative, world-scale cooperation and a win-win attitude. Guangzhou, a millennia-old commercial city in the country’s south, is a prime example.

This afternoon (On January 23,local time), Guangzhou hosted its roadshow in Davos and present to the world a vibrant innovator.

Guangzhou: Gateway to Globalization

According to experts attending the Winter Davos Forum 2019, the world has never been closer to Globalization 4.0, a new stage of global cooperation. As part of this new process, China is building the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. This project signals closer cooperation with the world on all fronts, offering more opportunities in the global economy.

The Greater Bay Area will be an essential engine of economic growth and a leading force for transforming global governance, experts believe. “The Greater Bay Area is growing into a world economic hub as it imports raw materials, capital and technology, while exporting a host of quality goods and achievements in innovation,” said Lin Jiang, an economics professor at the Lingnan College of Sun Yat-sen University.

According to Zhang Xiaoming, the head of Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, “In the huge city cluster of the Greater Bay Area, central cities should take a lead and exert a positive influence on other cities. Guangzhou, one of the national central cities, bears its due responsibility to play a more important role as an international trade center, integrated transport hub and science and education center.”

Statistics show that as of 2018, Guangzhou housed 301 Fortune Global 500 firms, 120 of which based their headquarters or regional headquarters in the city, and 921 projects had been put in place.

The city of Guangzhou recently released the Overall Planning for Guangzhou Integrated Transportation Hub (2018-2035), proposing a one-hour transport circle for the Greater Bay Area with Guangzhou at the core by 2020, along with a 12-hour global air transport circle aiming to make the city a transport hub by 2035.

With connectivity at its heart, the international metropolis of Guangzhou is on a mission to serve as an open gateway to the world and pioneer China’s new economic strategies, said Chen Yao, researcher at the Institute of Industrial Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Guangzhou Mayor Wen Guohui said, “Guangzhou is the key player along the Belt and Road. It will proactively structure an open economy, and build a broader platform for greater cooperation and coordinated development.”

Welcoming the Fourth Industrial Revolution

In recent years, China has fostered momentum for both reform and innovation. To be specific, China has established a complete legal system to protect intellectual property, improved policy and innovation mechanisms and made innovation platforms more market-oriented.

At the third Understanding China conference, held in Beijing late last year, attendees agreed that China’s economy would continue high-quality development and offer the world more cooperative opportunities. In December, the next conference will be held in Guangzhou.

Now the focus shifts to south China. Over the past four decades of China’s reform and opening-up, Guangdong province has maintained its reputation as the world’s factory, but now evolving away from a production hub for low-quality goods. The province is instead entering a new phase of innovation-driven development as the new “created in China” and “intelligent manufacturing in China” campaigns roll out.

The number of patent applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty for Guangdong province accounts for half of China’s total. Guangzhou made the list of international cities producing the most quality research in 2017, according to the Nature Index 2018 Science Cities, a supplement to the British scientific journal Nature.

In Guangzhou’s case, the ratio of R&D investment to GDP has been close to the level of an innovative nation over the past five years. It is now home to more than 10,000 high-tech companies.

“The Nansha District of Guangzhou has an edge over the geographical location, policies and development potential in the Bay Area. Over the next three years, we plan to incubate 50 enterprises that are valued at 2.5 billion yuan (USD 369.8 million) combined,” said Feng Jianlin, CEO of Microsoft Cloud and Mobile Applications Incubator Platform (Guangzhou).

Nansha will strive for a new energy industry cluster; NIO and Xiaopeng Motors have already settled there. The number of new energy vehicles produced and sold in China accounts for more than a half of the world’s total.

Cutting-edge technologies, such as ultra long-life batteries, AI-based man-machine interaction and autonomous driving have been introduced to China. Chuanqi, an automotive marque owned by the Chinese automaker GAC Group, is oriented toward new energy, intelligence, networking and sharing.

Production line of New Energy Automobile in Chuanqi of GAC Group

Production line of New Energy Automobile in Chuanqi of GAC Group

“China’s abundant big data resources and more optimized algorithm will contribute to breakthroughs in AI applications,” said Liu Wei, chairman of Guangzhou PCI Group and CEO of PCITECH. PCI has combined AI technologies with city governance and public demand, providing over 100 smart city solutions focusing on public security and intelligent transportation for more than 40 cities in China.

Industry 4.0 will lead cities around the world to explore efficient and intelligent information processing that improves how they operate. Among them, Guangzhou is continuously transforming through top-level design, an innovation-driven strategy and urban improvement.

Guangzhou is on the precipice of a new round of technological innovation. According to a recently released three-year development plan, an industry alliance will be formed to advance enterprises, academia and research institutes in the Greater Bay Area. The alliance consists of sectors including semiconductors, bio-industry, blockchain, new materials and smart equipment.

New Pattern of International Exchange

In recent years, central cities in China, such as Beijing and Guangzhou, have increased foreign exchanges and cooperation to share their ideas of urban development with the world. Increasingly, China’s approach to the international community has been motivated by economy, diplomacy and people-to-people exchanges.

“Guangzhou will pay more attention to continuing its urban development and strive to spread traditional Chinese culture,” said Chen Zhiying, Guangzhou’s executive deputy mayor.

As China’s southern gateway to the world, Guangzhou is pursuing a new pattern of development with openness and inclusiveness, transformation and innovation. Last year, Guangzhou held 36 city promotion conferences and story telling sessions on friendship around the world, on the sidelines of events such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, G20 Summit, APEC Summit and the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

Global events have been increasingly hosted in Guangzhou. The 2018 Guangzhou Marathon drew 30,000 runners from 46 countries and regions. The Global Mayors’ Forum kicked off in Guangzhou last December, where representatives from 105 cities, local governments and international organizations united and released the Guangzhou Declaration, calling for urban solutions to achieve sustainability goals.

Guangzhou Marathon is one of the city’s branded international events

Guangzhou Marathon is one of the city’s branded international events

The Canton Fair, China’s top trade event, was inaugurated in Guangzhou in 1957. In recent years, the city hosted the 2017 Fortune Global Forum, World Routes 2018 and World Eco-Design Conference 2018. Guangzhou has started sending delegates to the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting since 2014, and actively participated in other global conferences and events such as the Boao Forum for Asia and the World Cities Summit.

With the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative reaching out to the wider world, more Chinese companies have been expanding cooperation and business overseas—and many Guangzhou-based firms are finding new success. Data shows that the trade volume between Guangzhou and the countries and regions along the Belt and Road increased by 24.64%.

Cedar Holdings, a Fortune Global 500 firm based in Guangzhou, has been moving up the global supply chain and setting up branches in countries including Switzerland and Singapore. The company has reached out along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to Europe and Africa, sparking economic growth around the region.

Guangzhou, a commercial port city with a history stretching back millennia, has a legacy of conducting business. The city is still today known for its flexible mechanisms that foster favorable, pro-business policies and an inclusive social atmosphere.

A promotion event in the cultural hub of Paris on January 25 will showcase Guangzhou, according to Zhu Xiaoyi, vice publicity chief of the CPC Guangzhou Committee. The event will aim to convey the city through the unforgettable flavor of Guangzhou’s local cuisines.

Guangzhou’s unique urban cultural identity makes it an attractive city. Guangzhou will play a critical role in bridging city-to-city communication and friendship across the globe, said Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). To that end, on January 8, the Sixth Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Guangzhou Committee proposed that Guangzhou would jointly build an international science and technology innovation center; a comprehensive transportation system; an internationally competitive industrial system; and an increasingly pleasant quality of life. Guangzhou stands ready to embrace new opportunities brought by Globalization 4.0.

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