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City plans incentives to boost cultural industry

The Shanghai government will launch a series of policies and incentives to create a "cultural highland" that will benefit the art, fashion and information technology sectors, local officials said yesterday.

Officials also called on everyone in the city to be "open-minded" about other cultures so it will be easier to attract highly skilled professionals from both home and abroad.

"Now is the crucial moment as Shanghai restructures its economy to focus more on innovation," said Yu Zhengsheng, the city's Party secretary, as the two-day plenary session of the Shanghai Committee of the Communist Party of China ended. "Culture indicates 'soft power' and it nourishes a city's creativity. Without a good cultural environment, our intellectual foundations and inspiration will slowly drain away."

Yu added the government realizes a healthy cultural environment will contribute greatly to stable economic and social development.

Leapfrog developments have been achieved economically over the decades but residents still have higher expectations in terms of a cultural life, Yu said.

Meanwhile, Mayor Han Zheng said yesterday the city government is planning to launch its first official microblog on December 1. The government is expecting to use the account to publicize new policies and make timely responses to breaking news or crisis events.

Yu said blogs and micro-blogs have become an important source for people to discuss important topics. He stressed that local government officials should catch up with this trend and be bold enough to use the tools to communicate with the public.

The Party secretary also called on local officials to be more open-minded.

"Open-mindedness is a tradition and heritage of the city, judging by its history," Yu said. "We should be tolerant of different cultures and continue to attract talents from both home and abroad so the city continues to develop."

Officials said the government is now working on a package of programs to attract t! alents a nd experts in the culture and innovation sector from overseas. This includes providing government subsidies to qualified professionals from foreign countries. Officials also mentioned loosening some restrictions regarding hiring overseas experts.

It's planned that the cultural and innovation sector's contribution to local GDP would jump from 9.75 percent last year to 12 percent in 2015. The government is expecting the industry to mature and become a pillar sector of the local economy by then, officials said.

Officials said they would encourage private capital to enter the cultural and innovation industry and offer major incentives to local companies with innovative technologies.

Public facilities such as museums and art galleries will also get face-lifts in the next few years. The Shanghai History Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art are on the list of planned revamps.


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