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Shanghai has riverfront plan as "calling card"

12-19-2010 18:02 BJT

Shanghai is poised to make its Suzhou River the Chinese counterpart of the Hudson in New York, planning to send luxury yachts cruising on the inland waterway in the hope of transforming it into a calling card for the city compatible with its future status as a global financial hub.

The municipal government said on Wednesday that the construction of the first marina on the Suzhou River will start at the end of this year, one of nine marinas the city plans to build on the river that runs through four of the city's downtown districts.

The marina is part of a 7-billion-yuan ($1.1 billion) commercial project on the banks of the river in the Zhabei district that the city announced on Wednesday. The project will also have shopping malls and high-end office towers.

Shanghai has vowed to become a major global financial and shipping center by 2020, citing New York and London as its role models.

While the city rushes to upgrade its stock exchange and financial services to narrow its competitive gap with major global financial hubs, it is also looking to develop high-end tourism attractions and luxury entertainment facilities to raise its image as an international metropolis and attract wealthy professionals.

"The city plans to make the Suzhou River one of Shanghai's calling cards, like the Hudson River is to New York, by developing high-end sightseeing projects and private yacht clubs on the river," said Zhang Xiping, head of the Zhabei district's publicity department. "A city with a better lifestyle and a beautiful landscape stands a better chance of attracting talent, which is essential to Shanghai's development."

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