Shanghai has been ranked the city with the best business environment on the Chinese mainland, according to a report released on Monday.
The 2019 Evaluation Report on Chinese City Business Environment Index, which tracks 100 of the nation’s richest cities, puts Shanghai top of its list with an overall score of 86.73, followed by Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
The index, produced by the China Strategy Culture Promotion Association, China Association of Business Media, Wanbo New Economy Research Institute and Yicai Research Institute, is compiled based on a city’s software and hardware.
Shanghai topped the list overall but was ranked second in both software, with a score of 92.94, and hardware with 77.42. Beijing was best in terms of software at 94.57, while Shenzhen was top for hardware with 77.67.
The list took seven sub-indexes into consideration — the natural environment, infrastructure construction, innovation, the environment for professionals, the financial environment, culture and living.
Shanghai took the lead in infrastructure construction and culture, and was among the top three for its professionals, innovation and financial environments.
The report said cities used to pay a lot of attention to traditional factors such as the financial environment and the environment for professionals, but culture stood out as another core factor to play an important role in a city’s attractiveness for businesses.
“Shanghai exceeds others in terms of the cultural environment as the city has a spirit of openness and is friendly to new things,” the report said.
Improving the business environment is one of the city’s top priorities this year.
“For a city like Shanghai, urban development cannot rely solely on preferential policies or low-factor costs,” Li Qiang, Shanghai’s Party Secretary, said at a conference in February.
“Only by optimizing the business environment can the city gain the upper hand and further sustainable development,” he said.
The World Bank’s 2019 Doing Business report showed China’s business environment rising 32 places to rank 46th in the world. Shanghai was one of the sample cities in the report.
As symbolic of the city’s all-round development, the success of last year’s China International Import Expo sent a clear signal of Shanghai’s ability and intention to become an aspirational destination for overseas enterprises and capital across all industries.
The expo served as a platform to open up the Chinese market as a whole, and has also become a strong driving force for Shanghai’s three major strategies to reinforce the city’s reputation among the biggest global players — an expanded free trade zone, a new science and technology innovation board, and integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta.
Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong pledged at a government conference after the Spring Festival that the city will embrace challenges, take active measures to counter risks and grasp all opportunities to pave the way for high-quality growth.
“We will take every means possible to stabilize employment, the financial sector, trade, foreign investment and growth expectations,” Ying said.