City Further Opening up to Outside World

Authors: Go Chengdu


Chengdu, positioned as a national central city in China, which comprehensively reflects the country’s new development concepts, is accelerating its pace of becoming western China’s international exchange center.
Recently, with intense media exposure in terms of its foreign exchange both at home and abroad, Chengdu's global influence and reputation have been ever increasing, and its degree of opening has topped the country's western regions.
Xinhuanet reported in March that Chengdu established a sister-city tie with La Plata, Argentina, in February. By then, it had forged a twin-city relation with 33 cities and a friendly and cooperative tie with 44 cities worldwide. The city had opened 95 international/regional air routes, and 16 countries had been approved to establish their consular agencies and 31 nations to set up their visa application centers in the city.
In 2016, the Chengdu-Europe Express Rail Cargo Service saw the round-trips by 460 trains, topping all of its counterparts in the country. According to Xinhua News Agency, aiming to be the largest land port in inland China, Chengdu does business with partners from around the world, centering primarily on the Chinese and European markets and then making more business presences in other parts of the globe. By far, the city has been home to 278 Fortune global 500 companies, some G20 member countries, including the US, Germany, France, Australia and ROK, have set up their consular agencies here, and many cities of these nations have established a sister-city relationship with the city.
A national pioneer of opening up to the outside world
CCTV news broadcast on April 15 that "The train numbered X8086 left Chengdu from the container center in Qingbaijiang for Lodz, Poland, at 1:04pm today. We noticed besides such traditional goods as cars and laptops, the train was also loaded with fresh flowers and bonsais which will show up in Polish families two weeks later. It will take the train around 14 days to finish the more than 9800-kilometer journey, nearly one month shorter than maritime transport."
Oriental Outlook, a weekly news magazine published by Xinhua News Agency, reported, the Chengdu-Europe Express Rail Cargo Service arrives in the European destination about four days earlier than all of its other Chinese counterparts. While the city is speeding up its international rail service, it is accelerating the construction of its international aviation hub. By the end of 2016, Chengdu had had 95 international/regional air routes, outnumbering all other cities in western China. And by 2020, it will have over 100 including 70 direct ones. The city's well-established and efficient international rail and air traffic networks have been boosting its growth in the export-oriented economy. Statistics from the Chengdu Municipal Commission of Commerce show that in 2016, the city's total imports and exports hit RMB271.34 billion, a year-on-year growth rate of more than 11% and 11.9 percentage point higher than the national average, ranking first and second respectively among all deputy-provincial cities in the country. As an inland city far away from river, sea and border, Chengdu has become a pioneer of China to open up to the outside world," the article says.
Panda and cuisine, Chengdu's two namecards
Recently, the production crew of Parts Unknown, a flagship program launched by Cable News Network (CNN), an American cable and satellite television channel, made a culinary tour in Chengdu, the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in Asia. Food, as one of the city's soft powers, serves as a cultural intermediary in its process of going global and international exchange.
In 2014, when the then US First Lady Michelle Obama visited the city, she came to a restaurant in the Wide and Narrow Alleys to taste her favorite Chengdu beef hotpot. During the stay of the Parts Unknown production crew in the city, the American TV professionals, together with a Michelin Three-star chef also savored the typical local spicy hotpot. When leaving her post as the former Consul General of Australia in Chengdu, Ms. Nancy Gordon packed some local spicy seasonings up and took them home. The New York Times once dubbed Chengdu as one of the world's must-visit attractions, and its writer and editor Justin Bergman said, "Panda and cuisine are the two most famous things of the city."

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