Fortune smiles on Chengdu
Chengdu, the capital city of Southwest China’s Sichuan province, has been chosen as the site of the 2013 Fortune Global Forum, making it the fourth Chinese city to play host to the prestigious world business summit after Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing.
The decision was announced at a news conference organized on Monday by the Chengdu municipal government and Fortune magazine.
The forum will be held from June 6 to 8, 2013, under the theme “China’s New Future”.
The decision also means that China will become the country that has played host to the largest number of Fortune Global Forums. The annual gathering took place in Shanghai in 1999, in Hong Kong in 2001 and in Beijing in 2005.
Chengdu will become the country’s first inland city to play host to the forum, a sign of western China’s growing economic influence.
“It’s not an accident that we picked this city in west China,” said Andy Serwer, Fortune manager editor. “Chengdu has been the perfect city for us because it represents so many trends.”
Serwer said he was referring to the quick economic growth of China’s western regions, to China’s emerging role in the world, to global urbanization and to increasing consumerism.
“Western companies looked to China as a place of outsourcing and production,” Serwer said. “Now these trends are certainly continuing, but another important part, the consumer part, is making more weight.”
Serwer said Fortune looked at “a lot of” other cities in China — which he didn’t identify — before deciding that Chengdu was the right choice.
Xu Fengxian, a senior researcher with Institute of Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Fortune’s decision shows that China’s economic center is moving westward and that the region’s is opening up more to the world.
He also said he hopes the development of both Chengdu and of Sichuan province will prompt economic growth in the neighboring provinces of Guizhou, Yunnan, Gansu and Qinghai.
For the past year, Chengdu has seen the fastest growth among cities in China’s western region, having a GDP growth rate of 15.2 percent, well above the national average of 9.2 percent.
In a sign of the city’s openness and vitality, 212 of the Fortune 500 global companies have set up operations in Chengdu, among them being the information technology giants IBM and Dell.
One out of every two laptop chips is made in Chengdu, as are more than half of all iPads, according to statistics provided by the Chengdu municipal government.
Chengdu Mayor Ge Honglin said Chengdu’s strength now lies in information technology, automobiles, biomedicines and alternative materials. The city also intends to develop a strong modern service industry.