In a bid to boost the mainland's development, the central government is putting in a lot of effort to attract overseas professionals to help boost the country's economy. Supported by the government, the China Association for International Exchange of Personnel (CAIEP) aims to promote co-operation between all professions and trades in every country. The CAIEP has hosted the annual Conference on International Exchange of Professionals (CIEP) since 2001. This year, more than 1,000 institutions from 45 countries and regions will attend the two-day conference on November 7 and 8 at the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Centre. CIEP aims to enhance intellectual exchange with professionals outside the mainland. This also includes exchanges with training institutes. The Organisation Department of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee places great importance on the conference. In addition, the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs includes the conference in the 11th five-year plan. 'This event combines talent, intelligence, projects, technology and management, and it provides a broad platform for those who wish to enter the mainland market and let mainland talent reach out to the world,' said Wang Min, director of the office of CIEP 2009's organising committee and director general of Shenzhen Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau. 'This year, the content of the conference is more comprehensive than the previous ones. By hosting the event in Shenzhen permanently, the conference will be able to strengthen co-operation between high-level executives in Shenzhen and Hong Kong.' The annual conference is also viewed as an opportunity to develop Shenzhen's status as an international city. 'Executives in Hong Kong are experienced in areas such as hi-tech expertise and human resources management, and they understand international markets,' Wang said. 'These are the areas that Shenzhen needs to develop in order to become an international city. For that reason, the Chinese government has paid a lot of attention to co-operation between Shenzhen and Hong Kong.' More Hong Kong and overseas companies and professional institutes are taking part to gain exposure to the rapidly expanding mainland market. 'This is a good platform for [professionals] and organisations to communicate and share ideas,' said Dr Li Kam-cheong, chairman of the Council of Hong Kong Professional Associations (COPA). 'I have observed an increasing number of people and companies interested in participating in this conference. Last year, about 20 COPA members participated, while more than 30 members will take part in the conference this year.' Li said the conference was a good platform for professionals and organisations to share ideas through communication and interaction with their mainland counterparts. The aim is to provide space for development and opportunities for these professional organisations. Other than professional bodies, Hong Kong educational institutions will take part in the event to provide an opportunity for their students to further understand the mainland market and to let cross-border companies know more about these institutions. 'This is a great opportunity for us to be exposed to the mainland and introduce ourselves to mainland companies, businessmen and students,' said Dr Lillian Wong, head of the higher and professional education division at the Vocational Training Council. 'We want more people to hear about us and know more about the professional training we provide to our students. With further collaboration, we hope that our students will become more rounded, have the opportunity to receive professional training on the mainland and even work there.' The conference was held in Nanjing and Shenyang from 2001 to 2006, but following its success in 2007 and last year, the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs decided in November last year to make Shenzhen the permanent host city. 'The location of Shenzhen Exhibition Centre is an advantage for us,' said one conference participant. 'The exhibition centre is located in Longgang district, which is only 30 minutes away from Hong Kong. 'So the proximity will be an attraction to those working or living in Hong Kong and Macau.' Other than Hong Kong companies, mainland corporations from various industries, including BYD Auto, Huafeng Group and China South International Industrial Materials City, will participate in the conference.