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Shanghai strives to provide better services to global talents, overseas visitors

By Zheng Zheng | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-03-28 20:24

Visitors to the Bund in Shanghai in April pose for a photograph, with the Pudong financial district in the background. WANG GANG/FOR CHINA DAILY

Shanghai will continue to enhance services to attract and retain global talents and improve conveniences for overseas visitors, senior municipal officials said at a press conference on March 28.

"Talent is a primary resource. A city's competitiveness depends on the caliber of talent it possesses," said Shanghai Mayor Gong Zheng during the press conference organized by the State Council Information Office themed "Promoting High-Quality Development".

As Shanghai strives to become a global center for economy, finance, trade, shipping, and science and technology innovation, the city will continuously enhance talent empowerment, which has become a powerful driver for elevating the city's overall strength and core competitiveness, Gong said.

Shanghai's total talent pool has continued expanding in recent years, with 172,000 domestic and overseas professionals introduced in 2023, a 12 percent year-on-year increase. The city's total talent base now exceeds 6.75 million, according to the mayor.

The clustering effect of high-end overseas talent has also been on a steady rise thanks to policies and initiatives nurturing talent for key industries, said the mayor, adding that the city has cumulatively issued 441,000 work permits to foreigners, and received over 310,000 Chinese students returned from overseas to work and start businesses, ranking first nationwide.

The city will continue to foster a high-quality talent ecosystem by precisely addressing talent needs, integrating quality resources, and enhancing service quality, Gong said.

As part of the city's efforts to improve services for global talents and overseas visitors, Shanghai has recently launched a services portal, known as International Services Shanghai. The portal has its English language edition operating at english.shanghai.gov.cn and will feature eight more languages to serve as a welcoming and helpful platform that helps foreigners better understand and integrate into the city, according to Hua Yuan, vice-mayor of Shanghai, as he introduced Shanghai's recent efforts to better services for foreigners.

Hua said Shanghai, as China's largest aviation and shipping hub as well as a top destination for overseas visitors for business, study, and tourism, has recently made great efforts to facilitate convenient mobile payments for them.

Shanghai has promoted cross-border mobile payment options through UnionPay, Alipay, and WeChat Pay, enabling overseas users to use foreign bank cards for mobile payments at domestic merchants, Hua said.

The city also installed and activated over 37,000 POS terminals that accept foreign cards across key sectors like business, tourism, and transportation last year, achieving full POS coverage for common merchants. Shanghai now ranks first nationwide in foreign card POS transaction volumes and per-customer transaction values, according to the vice mayor.

In addition, the city maintains an extensive RMB cash withdrawal and exchange network, including over 8,000 ATMs, more than 3,500 Chinese-funded bank branches, 13 licensed forex exchange outlets, and 183 forex agents, allowing foreigners convenient access to cash payments.

As Shanghai sees increasing inflows of overseas talent and visitors, Hua said that the city will further ensure progressively high-quality, efficient, and accessible services to create a welcoming environment.

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