Spokespersons

The nationwide emergence of the spokesperson system at the local government level will establish a standard procedure for the release of government information and has demonstrated China's determination to increase transparency in its government operations.

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  • Successive spokesmen of Municipal Government :
    Jiao Yang
  • Successive spokesmen of Municipal Government :
    Chen Qiwei
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  • Spokespersons
Highlights of October 13 Press Conference on Shanghai Economic Restructuring and Transformation
10.20.2011

Zhou Bo, deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government and director of Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission

Xiao Lin, deputy director of Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission

The Economic Daily: I have two questions. First, as Shanghai’s 12th Five-Year Plan centers on development through transformation and innovation, what are the city’s targets, approaches and measures in the next five years? Second, what measures will the city take to fulfill its emission reduction targets as set in the 12th Five-Year Plan?

Zhou Bo: Thank you for your questions. The transformation and development targets have been spelt out in the 12th Five-Year Plan. Shanghai will strive to achieve major breakthroughs in changing its economic growth pattern and building itself as an international center for economy, trade, finance and shipping. The people’s standard of living in this socialist, modern international metropolis will be greatly improved.

We are pursuing the targets through six approaches: 1) adopting a new development concept that is people-oriented; 2) shifting from investment- and export-based growth to innovation-based growth; 3) switching from manufacturing industry to service industry; 4) promoting low-carbon and green production and lifestyle; 5) shifting emphasis from the construction of urban centers to the integration of urban and rural areas; 6) expanding businesses both internationally and domestically.

 

The adjustment of economic structure is a key strategy. It involves the construction of the “two centers” for finance and shipping, an objective set by the State Council in its No. 19 directive in 2009. The “two centers” are part of the national strategy and are backed by the central government. We will strive to build our innovative capabilities and develop new industries that save natural resources and are environment-friendly.

We will speed up social development and improve social management. With the rise in standard of living, people are having higher expectations for social management, which will be a major focus of work during the 12th Five-Year Plan. We hope to get public support and understanding in social innovation, for example, in the management of large residential communities and in safety management.

As to your second question, it’s no easy task for Shanghai to reach its emission reduction targets as set in the 12th Five-Year Plan. In the past five years, Shanghai fulfilled its targets. But the city still has many national enterprises engaged in international competition from steelmaking, shipbuilding, electronics manufacturing to aircraft and petrochemical production, therefore it remains a challenging task. We’ve increased government input in emission reduction, divided the targets among various departments and districts, and signed responsibility contracts with them. We will hire third-party companies to audit their energy consumption and show the results to the public. We will promote eco-friendly industries, strengthen public supervision, and encourage new energy projects such as electric cars.

Eastday: I have two questions for Mr. Xiao. First, could you please talk about this year’s inflation trend and Shanghai’s measures to contain rising prices? Second, as the service industry plays the key role in Shanghai’s economic transformation, what has the city done to develop the service sector?

 

Xiao Lin: Thank you for your questions. The data of Shanghai’s prices from January to August showed the local CPI peaked in June at 5.9 percent. After June, the index began to subside. In the first eight months, Shanghai’s CPI grew by 5.2 percent, 0.4 percentage points lower than the national level. Generally speaking, Shanghai’s inflation has been brought under control and is slowly falling.

During the first eight months, food prices surged 10.9 percent, contributing 3 percentage points to the city’s consumer inflation rate of 5.2 percent. Housing prices, including that of utilities and property management, rose 5.4 percent, contributing 1.2 percentage points to inflation. Prices of home appliances and repair services rose 6.6 percent. The big rise in food prices was also attributed to food imports. Meanwhile, more than 80 percent of service prices registered a big hike.

In the face of this tricky situation, Shanghai has followed the order of the central government and worked hard to stabilize prices. First, we strengthened the production and supply of food products. Between January and August, the prices of fresh vegetables in Shanghai dropped 2.2 percent from the same period of last year. The city was behind 25 major cities in China in food inflation.

Second, we have improved the social security and relief system to meet the basic needs of residents by raising pensions, subsistence allowances, minimum wages and unemployment insurances. In the second and third quarters, we provided 100 yuan in seasonal subsidy to each person in need of help, benefitting more than 860,000 individuals. For those living in hardship, we also provide each person with 10 kilos of rice, 0.5 kilo of sugar and 0.5 kilo of cooking oil every month, benefiting about 102,000 individuals.

 

Third, we have improved the price management and worked out a pricing method for affordable housing. We set prices for the city’s first batch of 37,000 affordable apartments, and adopted collective purchases for basic medicines. We also abolished school selection fees in 15 districts starting from this fall semester. Meanwhile, we also adjusted taxi fares to increase the income of drivers. Since January we have canceled and called off more than 130 administrative fees and charges, totaling 160 million yuan, and revoked 11 service fees, worth 12 million yuan. Fourth, we have strengthened price inspection and dealt with more than 300 price violation cases, such as the panic buying of salt.

Regarding the service industry, Shanghai is expected to become an international center of finance and shipping by 2020, according to a central government decision. During the 12th Five-Year Plan period, the added value of service industry should make up 65 percent of the city’s GDP. Priority will be given to the development of financial services, shipping and logistics, commerce, cultural and creative industries, information services, tourism, exhibition and convention industry, particularly new-growth sectors such as e-commerce, digital publishing, education and training, health care, new energy products and domestic services. The Hongqiao Business District will become a new commercial hub; the Expo Park will be redeveloped; and the Huangpu River waterfront and Shanghai Disneyland will be key construction projects as well.

Jiefang Daily: Hong Kong media recently reported that synthetic hormone was found in excessive amount in hairy crabs sold in Hong Kong. Has similar problem been found in the Shanghai market?

Chen Qiwei: I’d like make a conclusion first. No such problem has been detected in the Shanghai market so far.

 

After Hong Kong and Shanghai media reported about tainted hairy crabs, local food inspectors intensified sample testing immediately and found no such problem. We have checked for 31 contents in the samples, including diethylstilbestrol, a female hormone. The local agricultural department also carried out tests of hairy crabs this year, and tested 20 crab samples from 20 breeding farms. The results proved satisfactory. The three departments will strengthen hairy crab inspection to ensure food safety.

Lianhe Zaobao: I have two questions. First, what’s the percentage of foreign-owned companies in Shanghai? Second, since the public is concerned about collecting social insurance fund from foreign-owned companies, could you tell us a bit more about the measures Shanghai will take to implement this policy?

Zhou Bo: Shanghai leads the nation in both the number and quality of foreign-owned companies, which are more than 50,000. About 60 percent of them are already in operation. They account for two-thirds of the city’s total imports and exports.

According to China’s Law on Social Insurance that came into effect on July 1, various social insurance schemes for Shanghai workers will follow the national standards. The formal insurance for township employees and comprehensive insurance for migrant workers will be merged with the unified urban employee insurance in three and five years, respectively. Considering the added cost for enterprises, it will be carried out in steps. But this is the trend.