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China Mozaic: ‘City of Flowers’ blossoms on World Cities Day

November 6, 2017 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

A news report by on the city of Guangzhou and the 2017 World Cities Day Forum held there:

The city of Guangzhou, an international metropolis in south China, has never been short of public attention. On Oct. 31, it was once again in the spot as it hosted the 2017 World Cities Day Forum.

Guangzhou has a nickname, “City of Flowers”, as it enjoys flower blossoms all year round due to a favorable balmy climate. Besides picturesque natural scenery, it also displays all the hustle and bustle of a modern international metropolis.

However, many people outside China might not quite understand why the city should attract such worldwide attention with every step it takes in its development, despite being geographically far from the political center in North China.

Guangzhou first gained fame some 2,000 years ago. As a port city, it was the starting point of the ancient Maritime Silk Road, connecting China with other parts of the world. The city is also the country’s only trading port that has never been closed throughout history. In ancient times, many foreign travelers wrote travelogues describing the prosperous scenes in the city, with hundreds of large merchant ships clogging the waterways and numerous small boats busily moving through the gaps between them.

Because of its advantageous geographical location, Guangzhou has remained open and attractive to the merchant class, who helped create its long-term prosperity. Thanks to its close connection with the world, accumulation of human and port resources, as well as development of a private economy, Guangzhou has been able to play an important role in China’s reform and opening up of the past 30-odd years. Today, the city is not only an important traffic hub connecting China with the rest of the world, but also a popular international trading center.

Guangzhou has also made tremendous efforts in tapping its potential in innovation. In the Nansha New Area of the China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone, more than 30,000 containers from all over the world are being handled every single day. With the development of the Internet and the technologies of artificial intelligence, the area has established a “smart port” system, offering standardized, automated customs declaration services and paperless, intelligent customs clearance for cross-border e-commerce enterprises. More than 95 percent of goods can now finish customs procedures in seconds. And there are many more such examples. They all showcase the important role of technological innovation in the opening up of Guangzhou and the country as a whole.

The theme of this year’s World Cities Day is “Innovative Governance, Open Cities.” It coincides with the characteristics of Guangzhou. China is a large country, with each city being at a different development stage due to specific local conditions. Guangzhou is suitable for living, studying, doing business and working. It sets an example for other Chinese cities, and serves as a showcase for China’s achievements.

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