SHANGHAI Mayor Xu Kuangdi has pledged a 'unified' approach will reap economic success for the city. The assurance, given in an interview with the semi-official China News Service, was apparently made in response to reports he had been at loggerheads with the city's party boss Huang Ju . 'The leadership of our municipal Government is unified and strong,' Mr Xu said. 'Shanghai is like a car which can perform well. Even if I'm not good at driving, the car can help me very much.' The 59-year-old mayor, who assumed the position in February last year, said Shanghai had a 'good foundation' and could become the economic and financial hub of the Yangtze River Basin as laid down in the Ninth Five-Year Plan (1996-2000). 'The key theme is to achieve this vision in a realistic way,' said Mr Xu, widely regarded as a reformer by foreigners. Under a development blueprint laid down by the municipal government, the city will pump more resources to develop hi-tech industries, reform state enterprises, develop Pudong district and improve its infrastructure. Mr Xu said Shanghai would no longer depend so much on increasing investment to boost economic growth. It would rely more on upgrading the quality of industrial production and to improving the labour force. Apart from its six major traditional industries, the city would develop pharmaceutical production and information technology into two new pillar operations, he said. While state-owned enterprises accounted for 70 per cent of the total asset value in Shanghai, Mr Xu vowed to 'deepen' enterprise reforms through more restructuring. 'A major part of the reform is to . . . separate the social and operating functions of these enterprises, to help them put down their social and historical burdens,' he said. In the past few years, Shanghai has tried to improve its welfare system by putting forward experimental schemes covering pension, unemployment and medical benefits. Mr Xu promised to speed up development in Pudong district and said there would be a determined push on construction projects. The area, which recently finished its first phase of infrastructure projects, has started to invite foreign investment for industrial development.