Mayor looks to China for city development

Updated: 2013-01-30 12:09

By Hu Haiyan (China Daily)

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Mayor looks to China for city development

Tibby DeJulio (center), vice-mayor of Sandy Springs in Georgia, said the city is looking to cooperate with Chinese cities to co-develop in a more environmentally friendly way. Provided to China Daily

A city in the United States is hoping to benefit from China's increasing urbanization to improve its own development in a more healthy and environmentally friendly way.

Tibby DeJulio, vice-mayor of Sandy Springs in Georgia, about 24 kilometers north of Atlanta, wants to attract Chinese investors to help in the development of his city's service industries, including medical care.

"Our city attaches great importance to the development of the modern service industry, which is profitable and environment-friendly," said DeJulio, who was speaking at the third China County Economy Development Forum held by national broadcaster CCTV on Tuesday.

"This is also in line with Chinese cities' sustainable development mode, and we can further cooperate in this field."

According to Dejulio, Sandy Springs is the 17th richest city in the US, with a per capita GDP reaching $200,000 last year. The medical care service industry contributed about a third of the city's GDP.

"As our citizens are aging and need more medical care services, we have been investing a lot of effort to attract more companies in this field to come into this city," said DeJulio, adding that Sandy Springs had set up vocational schools to develop skills and specialists for the industry.

"I hope Chinese developers are interested in the city, and their investment could be a driver for the local economy, providing more employment opportunities and making the city more famous," said DeJulio.

The mayor said he had visited Sandy Spring's sister city Taicang in East China's Jiangsu province several times over the past three years, and learned a lot from its development.

His counterpart, Wang Jianfeng, mayor of Taicang, said that despite big differences between the US and Chinese city's organization mechanisms, the two share a desire to improve citizens' living standards in developing the economy.

"To build a more environmentally friendly development mode, Taicang is seeking opportunities of developing the local service industry, including the biomedicine industry," said Wang.

DeJulio said that compared with Chinese cities, Sandy Spring's government is much smaller in terms of scale and just had six formal public officials.

"To save costs, many of our government services have been outsourced to private companies. And the government is similar to a company's board of directors," said DeJulio.

He also said that although Sandy Springs was established as a city as late as 2005, because the region where the city is located has been developing for about 50 years, the areas have been already modernized.

Sandy Springs enjoys a relatively more modernized city infrastructure, different from many Chinese cities which evolves from rural areas, said DeJulio.

"Many Chinese cities are trying to increase GDP and want to introduce many manufacturing industries, yet since we are in a process of re-urbanization, we are focusing more to develop the environmentally friendly industries such as modern service industry."