GUANGZHOU is taking steps to become a modernised international metropolis by the year 2005. The steps follow a recent announcement by the State Commission for Restructuring the Economy (SCRE) that Guangzhou has been made a ''comprehensive experimental reform city''. This means that the city is required to take the lead in China's experiment with a market economy. According to the SCRE plan, Guangzhou is required to turn its state-owned enterprises into market-responsive competitors and to introduce a social insurance system and experiment with restructuring the government bureaucracy. The official China News Service (CNS) yesterday reported that Guangzhou Mayor Li Ziliu had set up a high-powered think-tank to advise the Government on how to proceed with these experiments. Specifically, these advisers were chosen to advise Mr Li on issues related to the ''economy, science and technology, culture and social development . . . as well as long-term strategic plans for the city'', the CNS said. The think-tank has about 20 ''local and foreign experts, academics and [industry] practitioners'' and the municipal Government's Secretary-General, Chen Jixuan, was appointed as its head. Guangzhou has also followed the footsteps of other major cities such as Shanghai in establishing its own cable television network and recently signed a contract to build a subway system. At the same time, the Guangzhou Daily, the official newspaper, recently underwent a major reform, expanding to 16 pages. Sources said that until recently, Mr Li had been criticised for failing to win Beijing's approval to accelerate reform in his city and was blamed for lagging behind cities such as Shenzhen and Shanghai.