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|Friday, October 12, 2001, updated at 13:22(GMT+8)|
Shanghai Ready for APEC GatheringThe host metropolis is already prepared for next week's APEC activities, and its residents are excitedly counting down the days until it starts, Shanghai mayor Xu Kuangdi said Thursday,according to today's China Daily.
Planning began two years ago.
The three major venues the International Media Centre, Shanghai Science and Technology Museum and Shanghai International Convention Centre are now ready to open.
Those high-tech venues were not built solely for APEC events and will continue to serve the public in the long run, he said.
Shanghai enjoys sound social stability and authorities have established a comprehensive security system whose reliability has passed repeated checks so as to ensure the safety of the leaders from the 21 APEC economies and the other participants.
Guided by the principle of market economy, Xu said that society, not the government,is the major investor in this event.
The public and the government teamed up to renovate roads and houses, plant trees and light up the city at night all in an effort to beautify the city.
About 20 four-star and five-star hotels will provide accommodations for the APEC participants an opportunity won through public bidding.
The 2,200 vehicles to be in service will be either rented from local taxi companies or borrowed for free from Mercedes-Benz and General Motors. Those companies plan to use the opportunity to enhance their public image.
Xu said that since previous APEC meetings were held in English-speaking cities, Shanghai encouraged taxi drivers, retailers and others who frequently encounter foreigners in their jobs to learn English
More than 10,000 volunteers have passed English-speaking and etiquette tests.
There are 1,100 volunteers who can speak fluent English, and they will be assigned to accompany the leaders of APEC economies.
"APEC participants will witness a vigorous city and will surely think furthering co-operation with China and Shanghai is the right thing to do,'' Xu said.
In the first eight months of this year, the influx of foreign investment to Shanghai increased by 38 per cent compared with the same period last year.
Through today, 71 per cent of foreign investment to the city has come from APEC economies. More than 40 per cent of the business Shanghai has established overseas falls into the APEC area.
And from January to August, 68 per cent of the city's foreign trade was actualized between APEC economies, Xu said.
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