• Shanghai's Economy

Shanghai's Economy (Photo : Getty Images)

With its current status, Shanghai’s economic development needs to increase reform and innovation in order to advance, or suffer from an economic slowdown, the Chinese commercial capital’s top official warned.

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The city must create industries and a modern service sector, develop a scientific innovation center, spend more on research and increase education levels, said Han Zheng, head of the ruling Communist Party branch in Shanghai in his speech at the launch of Shanghai’s municipal party congress on Monday

Han’s statement stresses the challenges Chinese officials, including those in the country’s most dynamic cities, deal with in the face of China’s slowest growth in 25 years.

“Shanghai is already at the stage where it can't advance without reform and innovation,” Han said, appealing for an enlarged opening of the financial sector.

Shanghai, together with the other cities and provinces along the well-off east coast of China, is one of the country’s most lively economies. Last year, the city’s gross domestic product grew by 6.8 percent.

According to Han, a 7.2 percent average growth was recorded for Shanghai’s economy over the past five years. He did not mention an economic target for the next half decade.

Shanghai is home to more than 24 million people. Similar to the other parts of the country, the city has been striving to change from a growth led by investment to a more sustainable model in the face of China’s economic slowdown.

Scientific and technological innovation is necessary to spur the city’s economic and social development, Han said, speaking to delegates to the local party congress.

Aside from planning the course for the city’s development, the Shanghai party congress, which assembles once every five years, will also select new leaders and vote representatives to attend the party’s national assembly, the 19th Party Congress, to be held in Beijing in the fall.

Officials hope that plans for reform and innovation will boost Shanghai's economic development.