Forum: Business opportunities beckon in Shenzhen, New York

By Zhang Yuwei (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-10-27 10:58
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NEW YORK - Shenzhen in South China and the Big Apple should seek more business opportunities with each other through increased cooperation, Chinese and US industry leaders said at a business forum in New York on Tuesday.

Gao Lin, deputy director-general of Shenzhen science, industry, trade and information technology commission, said Shenzhen and New York have many similarities and the two cities should step up cooperation and look for more opportunities. "Shenzhen's next five-year plan will be focusing on maintaining its economic growth and developing new energy, Internet, technology, and innovation culture," Gao said.

Carlton Vann, director for division for international business at the mayor's office in New York, said the key is "open communication about the business opportunities available" between the two cities.

Last year, Shenzhen approved 1,498 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects with paid-in FDIs reaching $4.16 billion.

"We want companies to know that opportunities exist in all five boroughs and in a range of industries," Vann told China Daily.

"We work closely with the North American Regional Office of Shenzhen and the Trade Office at the Chinese Consulate in New York City to make sure they know about all the opportunities here."

Last year, Shenzhen's GDP reached 820.12 billion yuan ($123 billion), with an increase of 10.7 percent year-on-year. Its total import and export value reached $270.16 billion, of which exports reached $161.98 billion, ranking the first among major cities of the Chinese mainland for 17 consecutive years.

"It was a bit slow in its economic growth, particularly in 2008 due to the global financial crisis, but the city started catching up and it will get better with all the advantages it can offer to investors," said Wang Hui, senior executive at Shenzhen Software Park Management Center.

Wang thinks Shenzhen, as well as many other Chinese cities, are heading to the trend of a transition from manufacturing-based to high-end industries.

"Cultural industry is also on the rise in Shenzhen," Wang said, adding that more investment opportunities are coming out of it.

As the fourth major industry of the city, the added value of the cultural industry, including news, publishing and distribution and broadcasting, accounts for about 7 percent of the city's GDP.

The city also focuses on forging featured cultural industry parks and has won the title of the "City of Design" by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Shenzhen, on the Pearl River Delta, is adjacent to New Territories of Hong Kong and is an important traffic hub with sea, land and air connections.

Besides its major high-tech industry, the city also has been developing its financial industry. Only Shenzhen and Shanghai have stock exchanges on the Chinese mainland.

Very recently, with its boom in the initial public offerings by smaller, private companies, it has overtaken Shanghai as China's listing hub.

Eliot Clauss, a partner at Russin, Vecchi, Berg & Bernstein LLP, however, thinks that in terms of financial markets, Shanghai is more well-established.

"Many companies still want to go to Shanghai rather than Shenzhen," said Clauss who represents many Chinese and American companies that invest in both countries and spends half of his time a year in China.

"I think Shenzhen is a good city, not only in statistics in all these industries; it has a lot to offer and investors need to know it better, not just the numbers."

China Daily