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Changning’s Building of Elite Int’l District Supported by Foreigners
06/09/2017 changningtimes

How do foreigners living and working in Changning think of the “elite international district”?


“To be an elite international district, Changning has featured a good structure already, but it’s still necessary to fill it with great soft power.” That’s how Noyan Rona, who came to Shanghai 25 years ago and has living in Changning for 20 years, expected the elite international district to be like in a recent seminar with foreigners in Changning District for the building of elite international district.


One third foreigners in Shanghai live in Changning. There’re 28 foreign consulates in Shanghai, more than 7,000 foreign-funded enterprises and working bodies and 70,000 foreigners. Changning is one of the regions with the richest foreign resources in Chinaand even called “the mini UN”. With the district making every effort to create an innovation-driven elite international district which is chic, energetic, green and livable, it’s helpful to listen to the ideas of foreigners living and working in Changning about the “elite international district”.


Taxi drivers not very happy about going to Gubei


“Yan’an Viaduct was not yet finished when I first visited Shanghai, not to mention the Golden Street.” Speaking fluent Chinese, Noyan Rona, Chief Representative of the Turkish Garanti Bank's Shanghai Office, started the seminar. He believed Changning already had advantages in infrastructures so that more efforts should be placed on cultural elements.


He gave an example. It’s not hard to find a luxury watch in Changning as there’re high-level shopping centers round the district, but it’s really hard to have the battery changed for the watch. “If possible, a small zone can be spared on the ground floor of a shopping center or the neighboring area for convenience service.”


Noyan used to serve as a traffic volunteer and a member of citizen visit group. In his eyes, the management of traffic order should not be dynamic but regular, and more attention should be paid to details. He also mentioned his experience of taking a taxi from Hongqiao Airport. “Many foreigners like me would take a taxi back home after arrival, but the taxi driver would seem a little unhappy knowing we’re going to Gubei because the distance is too short. Could there be any measure taken to make both passengers and drivers satisfied about the drive?”


No work permits for foreign beauticians and chefs of low education?


For foreigners living in Shanghai, soft service firstly concerns the convenience of applying for certificates.


Consul Ikuyo Murashima, Political and Economic Chief of the Consulate-General of Japanin Shanghai, said there’re more than 40,000 Japanese in Shanghai, half of whom live in Changning, which gathers Japanese food stores and beauty shops to provide them with convenience and warmth. However, the present foreign talents policy stresses diploma and professional title. “Many Japanese beauticians and chefs in Gubei have high professional skills, but it’s still hard for them to get work permits only because they don’t have the university diploma.” Also, kindergarten teachers in Japanare generally graduates of two-year occupational programs, but relevant policies require a diploma of four-year university program. Thus, requirements in Chinaprobably don’t match the international prevailing standard.


As to the worries of Ikuyo Murashima, Deputy Head Weng Huajian replied, “As long as it’s favorable for district development, we’ll provide corresponding services. Talents policy is intended to facilitate international talents exchange, but if it doesn’t work that way, we shall fast act to change the situation.”


Law, Secretary-general and CFO of Michelin China, is from Singapore. His third daughter was born in Changning, and he used to worry a lot about getting his daughter a visa. “Relevant regulations have it that all proofs must be attained within 30 days, and every day of delay will mean a fine of 500 yuan. I was still enjoying the happiness of being a dad after she’s born but I had to be troubled by the certificate transaction, which was very troublesome, by the way. Is it possible to lengthen the period a little?”


Mrs. Livia Ilona Szentmartoni, Consul of Culture and Education of Hungary in Shanghai, mentioned the difficulty of finding her child an appropriate school. Sometimes they need to call and even visit the schools one by one. “Is it possible to make us a list of schools that accept international students?”


Yao Qi, Head of Changning Education Bureau, responded that on the whole, all public schools accept international students today, but the problem is indeed complicated for kindergartens. “We’ll make a list of schools available and regularly release relevant situations.”


What’s the logo of the international district?


What’s the logo of Changning as an elite international district? It’s a problem usually raised by our international friends.


Mrs. Livia Ilona Szentmartoni said, “My friends know about the Bund and the Oriental Pearl in Shanghai, but have no idea about where Changning is.” She often finds it hard to describe Changning clearly and wonders if it’s feasible to do something about featured architectures in Changning.


Law felt the same way. “I’ve been in Shanghai for 7 years, but the logo of the int’l Changning seems not that evident. You can easily find the symbol of even a small town abroad, so I believe Changning should have such a symbol, too.”


Culture is the bridge of a city. Foreign people believe the soft power of Changning should include more cultural elements. According to Monika Zapala, Educational and Cultural Affairs Officer in The Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Shanghai, mentioned the sculpture of Chopin in Zhongshan Park. “The sculpture symbolizes the friendship between Polandand Changning. In this park we organized a lot of intercultural activities to have Polish people know more about Changning. But in addition to Chopin, is it possible to get other countries closer to Changning by other international celebrities?”


Noyan Rona agreed that more efforts should be made on cultural and human elements to boost the soft power. “If possible, we may build up Changning football team or Changning symphony orchestra, or give an international ballet contest, so that people will fully sense the vigor of the international district.”


“Identifiability is significant for building an elite international district.” Tu Qiyu, Deputy Head of City and Population Development Institute of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, believed Changning should bear its individualized logo. It’s probably workable to encourage foreigners in Changning to design activities for intercultural communications of striking logos in order to fully present the international characteristics of the district.


Director Lu Hao of Changning Development and Reform Commission said Changning is building up its index system for an elite international district. In the present scheme of index system, there’re less than 10 indexes related to economy while indexes about culture and service environment take up 60%. “The suggestions of our international friends today are quite enlightening and consolidate our idea that it’s more important for an elite international district to be comfortable to live and work in.” Deng Zhituan, Prof. from City and Population Development Institute of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, claimed.

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