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China Daily: Guangzhou spreads its wings globally as a city with international reach


Guangzhou, capital of the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, has emerged as an international exchange center and a new hub of global integration under China's Belt and Road Initiative.

The city, also known as the southern gate of China, is speeding up the process of opening-up to the outside world as it continues to ride the wave of a cluster effect as the host city of important international events.

Guangzhou has cooperated with world-leading international exchange platforms - such as the Fortune Global Forum, World Economic Forum and Boao Forum for Asia - to showcase its vibrant style and spirit of openness.

As the host city of the ongoing Fortune Global Forum, Guangzhou attracted around 700 guests and 358 global companies, including 152 Fortune 500 companies this year.

Founded in 1995, the forum has become the clearest and most direct window to the global economy.

"Through the 2017 Fortune Global Forum, we can see that Guangzhou is building itself as an important international exchange center and China is leading a new phase of globalization," said Alan Murray, the president of Fortune magazine.  

For the 2017 Fortune Global Forum, Guangzhou hosted road shows and promotion fairs in 13 metropolises around the world from last December to this September. These included Paris, New York, Tokyo, London, San Francisco and Hong Kong.

During the events, Guangzhou set up overseas offices in cities and regions that are leaders in science, technology and innovation, such as the Silicon Valley, Boston in the United States and Israel's Tel Aviv.

In addition to setting itself up as a stage for international conferences, Guangzhou has also developed its own brand of international conference.

The Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation, a biennial selection event founded in 2012, is one of the highest honors for urban innovation in the world.


A flower bed on Jinsui Road in Guangzhou welcomes guests to the 2017 Fortune Global Forum.

Last year it attracted 301 projects from 171 cities in 59 countries and regions to showcase their experiences in urban innovation.

In addition, Guangzhou will host the World Routes 2018, the 2019 World Ports Conference and the 13th Metropolis World Congress 2020, attracting more international guests and paving its way toward a better future.

Benefiting from its growing status as an international conference brand, Guangzhou has developed itself into a magnet city - attracting high-end resources, talent, technologies and capital, as well as creating a new driving force for its economic development, according to experts.

According to the Guangzhou municipal commission of commerce, the city has attracted 130 countries to invest in it and maintains trade contacts with 220 countries and regions.

To date, a total of 297 of Fortune 500 companies have invested in Guangzhou and set up 921 projects. In addition, 13.78 billion yuan ($2.1 billion) has been invested in 45 projects for the development of a hub for science, technology and innovation.

Zhu Xiaoyi, deputy director of Guangzhou publicity department, said his city had a bright future.

"Guangzhou, with its beautiful, lively, open, friendly and inclusive environment, is making a name for itself as a main gateway city for China," he said.

"Guangzhou is strengthening its functions as a transportation hub, to connect the world closely."


A bird's-eye view of Guangzhou, which is taking the role of an international exchange center. [Photos provided to China Daily]

As an important city integrated with the Belt and Road Initiative and along the ancient Maritime Silk Road, Guangzhou can access the rest of the world through its busy port, airport and railways.

Guangzhou Port's sea routes reach more than 400 ports in 100 countries. In the first six months of this year, Guangzhou Port's container handling capacity increased by 11.8 percent year-on-year.

Planes from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport could fly to more than 40 countries and regions by the end of 2016. In the first half of this year, its passenger handling capacity increased 10.8 percent year-on-year.

Last year, as an emerging global financial center, Guangzhou was ranked 37th among 88 global financial centers and the fourth nationwide.

With support from a strong transportation structure, Guangzhou is now working on its industry, innovation, talent and information networks in order to improve global travel and transportation, logistics, capital flows and communications.

Officials said Guangzhou expects to expand global cooperation by establishing sister city or friendly city relationships with 70 cities overseas.

Vasin Ruangprateepsaeng, Thailand's consul general in Guangzhou, said that 60 countries have set up consulates in Guangzhou, underlining its important role in international communications.

"I hope Guangzhou will strengthen its existing cooperation with my country in the shipping logistics sector and regard Thailand as a gateway between China and member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the future," he added.

The Australian Consul General in Guangzhou, Dominic Trindade, said the city had long been an international communications center, as a hub for the greater bay area and a southern gateway to enter China in ancient times.

"Hosting the Fortune Global Forum here will remind people that Guangzhou has always been an important finance and communications center for China and the world," Trindade added.