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Expo Set Launch Yangtze River Delta Development for Next Decade

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Exporters and business people in Shanghai and neighboring provinces are poised to take advantage of the Shanghai World Expo to build strong links with customers from around the world.

The Expo, which opened to the public Saturday, is the largest world exhibition ever and is expected to attract 70 million visitors from home and abroad.

It would also facilitate the city's efforts to transform itself into a global financial and shipping center, said Lian Ping, chief economist of the Shanghai-based Bank of Communications, China's fifth largest lender.

"It will help attract more bankers, business people and investors from home and abroad to visit the city and do business here. The event will become a growth engine of the city and neighboring provinces for the next decade," Lian said.

The Chinese government decided in March 2009 to build Shanghai into an international financial and shipping center in line with the country's economic strength and the international status of its currency by 2020.

But the event is also a chance for local entrepreneurs to showcase the city's economic vitality and business potential to the outside world.

"More than 30 of my overseas clients will come to see the Expo and visit my company. This is a great opportunity for us to exchange views and deepen collaboration," said James Wang, general manager of Shanghai-based Decent Bags Company.

"I predict a 10-percent growth in new orders this year compared with 2009, due to a firmer economic recovery and stronger market demand. The government's efforts to improve the local business environment do give exporters a hand," Wang said.

The Expo-related investments accounted for more than half of the total in the Yangtze River Delta this year, said Wan Jifei, chairman of the China International Trade Promotion Committee and China International Commerce Chamber.

"The six-month event not only stimulated infrastructure construction before the opening of the Expo, but could also stimulate a huge amount of consumption, thus generating new business opportunities and boosting economic growth in Shanghai and neighboring areas," said Jinny Yan, a Shanghai-based economist of Standard Chartered Bank.

The Yangtze River Delta covers east China's prosperous Shanghai Municipality, Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces.

Shanghai could take the Expo opportunity to attract more investment, upgrade its export restructuring, boost high-tech products exports and support services trade to become China's main international trade hub, said Yu Zhengsheng, Party chief of Shanghai.

(Xinhua News Agency May 1, 2010)


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