Shanghai mayor welcomes HK rivalry

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 February, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 February, 2001, 12:00am

Shanghai and Hong Kong are friendly rivals but the east China metropolis is poised to become the region's largest semi-conductor production base, Shanghai Mayor Xu Kuangdi said yesterday.

Mr Xu addressed a wide range of issues, including the health of the city's economy and government corruption.

On Shanghai's often competitive relationship with Hong Kong, Mr Xu said he expected the two cities to remain friendly rivals over the coming years, nurturing each other's strengths to realise common ambitions.

He compared the relationship between the two with two strikers competing on the same football team. 'No matter who scores the goal, the team will win,' he said.

But he was not shy in predicting that Shanghai would become the largest semi-conductor production base in the region.

Integrated circuits would become an important source of municipal development as the Government sought to establish 10 production lines in the city's Pudong New Area over the next decade, Mr Xu said.

'In that sense it will become the largest production base in East Asia,' he said. 'Shanghai's semi-conductor and micro-electronics industry will witness tremendous progress in the coming five years.'

Mr Xu said the municipal economy was expected to continue its double-digit expansion, growing at an annual rate of between nine and 11 per cent over the next five years.

During that period, the city's service and non-state sectors were also expected to take on added importance.

Last year, Shanghai's tertiary sector - service industries and other non-manufacturing businesses - for the first time produced more than half of the city's economic output.

Mr Xu said non-state contributions, including those from enterprises with foreign investment, were expected to rise to 40 per cent of the economy by 2005, from 26 per cent last year.

Mr Xu said corruption in Shanghai was less serious than in other mainland municipalities because the city did not allow officials to negotiate land leasing or business investment contracts.

Shanghai had never seen the emergence of organised corruption syndicates, he claimed.

Mr Xu said corruption was a universal phenomenon that flourished when governments lacked proper checks.

He advocated the reform of administrative management and the separation of government from state-owned enterprises, to lessen the chances of corruption emerging.

'Government behaviour must be legal and transparent,' he said.