Top 10 Shanghai business news stories of 2023

Updated: Feb 29, 2024 Print
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Shanghai's business sector flourished in 2023. Here are some key achievements from last year.

The State Council unveils its plan for Shanghai FTZ's high-standard opening-up

In June 2023, the State Council issued thePlan of Shanghai Municipality for Implementing Several Measures for Conducting the Pilot Program of Aligning with International High Standards and Promoting Institutional Opening Up in Eligible Pilot Free Trade Zones and the Hainan Free Trade Port. In September, Shanghai launched trials to promote innovation in goods trade and liberalize service trade. In December, the State Council issued theOverall Plan for Comprehensively Connecting with International High-standard Economic and Trade Rules and Promoting High-level Institutional Opening up of China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone. A total of 80 measures covering seven areas were outlined in the plan, including initiatives to facilitate trade in goods and services, promote digital trade, and enhance intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, among others. As a vanguard of China’s Free Trade Zones, Shanghai once again assumed the pivotal role of "testing ground" for national policies.

Shanghai reveals its blueprint for a 'Silk Road E-commerce' pilot zone

In October 2023, the State Council greenlit thePlan for Establishing a Pilot Zone for Silk Road E-commerce Cooperation in Shanghai, emphasizing the city's pioneering role in spearheading breakthroughs in reform and opening-up. It aims to align with international high-standard economic and trade rules, expand the opening-up of the e-commerce sector, build a new hub for international cooperation in the digital economy, and play a significant role in promoting the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Shanghai takes the lead in advancing the high-quality development of production-based internet service platforms

In July 2023, Shanghai issued theSeveral Opinions of Shanghai Municipality on Promoting the High-quality Development of Production-based Internet Service Platforms, highlighting their pivotal role in modern industrial system construction. A comprehensive "1+4+5+X" policy framework was introduced to support platform development. This initiative aims to enhance the capabilities of bulk commodity trading, industrial e-commerce, digital transformation, and professional service platforms, support the widespread application of new technologies and scenarios, accelerate the promotion of green and low-carbon supply chains, empower fintech products across the full chain, and establish a "platform + park" working mechanism. Pudong New Area, Baoshan district, Putuo district, Lingang Special Area, and the Hongqiao International CBD have been designated as the inaugural gathering areas for production-based internet platforms.

Shanghai witnesses a surge of visits by multinational executives

In 2023, Shanghai hosted 613 high-level economic and trade events, with city leaders meeting multinational entrepreneurs 159 times, underscoring Shanghai's unwavering commitment to openness and bolstering confidence in the city's growth. Foreign investment reached $24.087 billion, with 65 new regional headquarters and 30 new R&D centers established. Shanghai remains a top choice for multinational companies. The city also held the "Invest in Shanghai, Share the Future" overseas promotion campaigns to beef up investment promotion efforts. Actual foreign investment reached a new high, totaling $24.087 billion. Additionally, 65 regional headquarters and 30 foreign-funded R&D centers of multinational companies were established, bringing the cumulative totals to 956 and 561, respectively. Shanghai remains one of the preferred locations for multinational companies to establish industrial, supply, and innovation chains.

Shanghai's foreign trade stabilizes, NEV exports shoot up

In March 2023, Shanghai issuedSeveral Policies and Measures of Shanghai Municipality to Further Stabilize the Scale of Foreign Trade and Improve Its Quality, proposing 21 policy measures, including strengthening import and export guarantees for key products such as new energy vehicles. These measures aim to accelerate the stability and scale of foreign trade, promote transformation, expand markets, and improve the trading environment. The Municipal Commission of Commerce actively implemented the measures, providing robust support for foreign trade enterprises and vigorously developing new trade formats and models to enhance both the quantity and quality of goods trade. In 2023, the city's total import and export volume hit a record high of 4.21 trillion yuan ($585 billion), growing by 0.7 percent year-on-year. Notably, the export of the "new three things" of foreign trade, including new energy vehicles, lithium batteries, and solar cells, surged by 42.2 percent to reach 167.79 billion yuan.

Double Five shopping festival boosts consumption in Shanghai

In March 2023, Shanghai issuedSeveral Measures of Shanghai Municipality on Further Promoting and Expanding Consumption, proposing 15 measures focused on five key areas: year-round consumption festivals, the four major economies, the four major consumption areas, enhancement of commercial space, and optimization of the consumption market environment. Year-long consumption promotion activities began in February, featuring the fourth edition of the Double Five shopping festival and six major themed consumption seasons in coordination with key exhibitions, events, and performances. The nation’s “first store map” debuted and over 1,200 new first stores were added throughout the year. Subsidies for major consumer goods such as home appliances continued, and a subsidy program for auto replacement drove consumption by nearly 10 billion yuan. The city also upgraded its Breakfast Project and Smart Markets.

Shanghai's exhibition economy rebounds rapidly

In 2023, Shanghai's exhibition economy experienced a rapid recovery, with strong, sustained demand for exhibitions at major venues. The total exhibition area in Shanghai throughout the year reached 17.33 million square meters. Fifty large-scale exhibitions with an area of over 100,000 square meters each were held throughout the year, totaling an exhibition area exceeding 9.2 million square meters. Well-known brand exhibitions such as the 6th China International Import Expo and the 20th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition were successfully held.

Shanghai's cross-border e-commerce tops 260 billion yuan, up 42.5%

In July 2023, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, together with relevant departments, introduced theAction Plan for Promoting the High-Quality Development of Cross-Border E-Commerce (2023-2025), outlining 18 key tasks to strengthen the cultivation of main entities, support innovative models, optimize regulatory services, and promote the development of overseas warehouses, further propelling the high-quality development of cross-border e-commerce. Throughout the year, Shanghai's cross-border e-commerce import and export volume reached 262.39 billion yuan, up 42.5 percent year-on-year. Export growth was notable, with the city's airport hubs witnessing a record-breaking daily peak of over two million parcels. Cross-border e-commerce exports covered 226 countries and regions, while imports reached 174.

Shanghai improves payment convenience for international visitors

Shanghai has implemented several measures to enhance payment convenience for inbound visitors, focusing on creating demonstration business districts for convenient payment by inbound visitors and optimizing foreign card payments at offline merchants. Efforts target commerce, culture and tourism, airports, and railway stations, aiming to boost foreign visitors' consumption satisfaction. As a result, 95 percent of the invited international experience officers expressed satisfaction with the progress made in Shanghai's consumer payment convenience. In the latter half of 2023, the number of transactions using foreign cards increased by 110 percent compared with the first half. Average spending per customer in tax refund shops exceeded 30,000 yuan, ranking Shanghai first in the country.

Shanghai resumes international cruise routes as Adora Magic City debuts

In June 2023, Shanghai issued theShanghai Action Plan for Promoting the High-Quality Development of International Cruise Economy (2023-2025), outlining 20 initiatives aimed at expanding the headquarters economy of the cruise industry and enhancing the functionality of port hubs. Shanghai actively promoted the resumption of international cruise routes, successfully operating 61 voyages throughout the year, with approximately 55,000 inbound and outbound passengers. This resulted in ticket sales revenue of nearly 17.6 billion yuan, onboard material consumption exceeding 200 million yuan, and nearly 65 million yuan shopping at onboard shops and port duty-free shops. The first domestically built large-scale cruise ship, the Adora Magic City, began its maiden voyage. Through continued efforts to improve the single window system, Shanghai's cruise port now boasts a "three-second clearance with one code" for passengers, and has implemented "paperless declaration" for cruise ship supplies across all vessels in Shanghai's ports.



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