City rises in global standings
Chengdu has once again drawn the attention of the global business community. It is now ranked the 12th biggest economy among the world's 120 major cities, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)'s Global City Competitiveness Index 2012. It has also been chosen as the venue for next year's Fortune Global Forum.
The provincial capital of Sichuan province and the gateway to southwestern China, Chengdu has made remarkable progress in recent years as the central government has encouraged foreign investment to move inland from coastal areas. It has consistently ranked among the top cities in central and western China for its number of Fortune 500 companies.
Last year, Chengdu achieved a 15.2 per cent increase in gross domestic product to 685.5 billion yuan (HK$844 billion), the highest growth rate among China's 15 sub-provincial cities. In terms of GDP value, it moved up by two positions to sixth among the 15.
The strong economy has improved living standards and driven domestic consumption. According to government figures, the disposable income of urban residents in Chengdu rose 14.9 per cent last year to 23,932 yuan, while retail sales of consumer goods rose 18.4 per cent to 286.13 billion yuan.
Perhaps what makes Chengdu special is that, in spite of its economic success, it is able to strike a balance between economic construction and protecting its natural environment.
In the same EIU report, Chengdu was the only Chinese city ranked among the top 10 (it was eighth) among the world's 120 major cities for being the least risky for environmental hazards.
In recent years, the city government has undertaken major redevelopment projects to improve both business and living standards.
For example, it is building a new central business district in the south of the city called Tianfu New District and an eco-strip to the west called Wenjiang Green Belt.
What remains unchanged is the laid-back lifestyle of its people, who like to enjoy leisure time, as evidenced by the city's many tea houses.
Because of its liveability, the city is fast becoming the destination of choice for foreigners doing business in central and western China.
Population 14.07 million
Area 12,390 square kilometres
GDP 685.46 billion yuan
Per-capita GDP 48,755 yuan
Industrial value added 261.08 billion yuan
Fixed asset investment 500.6 billion yuan
Retail sales of consumer goods 286.1 billion yuan
Fixed investment 500.6 billion yuan
Exports US$22.96 billion
Imports US$14.95 billion