Wang Zhan: “Five Centers” at its turning point is leading China’s urban development

The Guidelines to Support High-Level Reform, Opening-Up of the Pudong New Area and Build Pudong into a Pioneer Area for Socialist Modernization Jointly Released by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council (hereinafter referred to as “Guidelines”) was issued, giving new major tasks to Shanghai for the reform and opening-up of the Pudong New Area. Wang Zhan, Chairman of Shanghai Federation of Social Science Associations (SFSSA), pointed out that the construction of this pioneering area would open a new chapter for the “Reform 3.0” of China. Besides that, the 27 clauses in the Guidelines largely represent the specific measures for the construction of the “Five Centers” being led by Pudong. 

The construction of the “Five Centers”, as a task assigned by the country to Shanghai, now has reached a turning point. So far, Shanghai has basically developed itself into international economic, financial, trade and shipping centers, and the basic framework for the city to become a globally influential scientific and technological innovation center is also taking shape. Pudong district must play the leading role, however, in order to “fully complete the construction” of Shanghai as the five centers.

First question: where is the breakthrough point for Shanghai to become a scientific and technological innovation center with global influence? Now is the opportune epoch for tech-innovation-based industry, which prizes human resources above all other ones. Therefore, the Guidelines proposes to establish the “Direct Bus” system for the absorption of global high-end professionals, engineers and scientists, so that Pudong, before any other part in the country, may implement more open and convenient recruitment policies and other measures, which would attract more top-notch entrepreneurs, professionals, engineers and scientists to come to Pudong.

For Shanghai to mature as a shipping center, Pudong is aimed at grow into a world-class “multimodal logistics hub” by combining the future Shanghai East Railway Station of the national coastal passage, with Pudong International Airport, to form a comprehensive transportation hub in Pudong. In doing so, Pudong will become the multimodal--air, sea, rail, shipping, highway, etc.--transportation hub and node. 

The construction of the shipping center will promote the development of both the trade and financial centers. Operating from Shanghai and completing transactions overseas is possible because of the advantage of Shanghai as an international trade center. For the center to further expand, Pudong should make extraordinary effort to develop and facilitate digital trade, cross-border trade, services trade and offshore trade. Moreover, the Guidelines suggest constructing an offshore financial system matching Shanghai’s role as an international financial center. Specifically, Pudong is encouraged to develop offshore transactions for the Renminbi with controllable risks. All these policies will facilitate the construction of Shanghai as an international economic center.

Apparently, as soon as Shanghai completes its development into the four centers, it will automatically be an international economic center. However, that is not the case. To become an international economic center, the city has much more to do. As far as Pudong’s leading role in the country is concerned, the New Area’s mission is more than economic. All the “five major concepts for development” of innovation, coordination, green, openness and sharing, should be seen in Pudong’s effort. So far, this Area is exemplary in integrating urban development and industry. In the 1980s, industries were relocated from downtown to the suburbs, where steel, automobile, shipbuilding, petrochemicals industrial bases have been established. Since its development and opening up, Pudong has formed five functional areas based on its urban functions and persevered on the development path of integrating urban development and industrial expansion, a new direction of urban development in China.

Now officially designated as a “Pioneering Area,” Pudong is to push further forward based on its opening-up and innovative development of Pudong New Area over the past three decades. In the future, Pudong will continue to play its leading role in advancing China from a moderately prosperous society to a comprehensively modernized society.

RELEASE TIME2021-08-24