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[SZ] Transport key to international city: expats


9:19 am
July 26, 2010



posts 215

The internationalization of Shenzhen should start with simplified border-crossing procedures, an airport with more international flights, a modern Metro and better taxi services, expats told a focus group Friday evening (July 23) at the Jingshan Villas Club.

Twenty expats participated in the focus group as part of a citywide survey of expatriate opinion about the internationalization of Shenzhen, organized by Public Participation, a nongovernment organization.

Expats shared their views on the city, coming up with a list of likes, dislikes and hopes.

"Shenzhen has an advantage in becoming an international city because of its unique location right next to Hong Kong," said Brian Tuia from New Zealand, principal at Shekou International School. "But there should be a quicker means of crossing the border."

"The infrastructure [for city traffic] is good," said Richard Briggs, who works for Damco. "The Metro trains and the stations are clean, but English signage is poor."

"English signage should be improved because we don't know where to exit. It's easy to find the stations, but it is not easy to know where to go," he said.

Taxis were another area where improvement was expected.

The current shift changes for taxis were illogical, making it hard to find a taxi during rush hour, between 6 and 7 p.m.

Improvements identified by expats included the new zero-emission taxis and fewer motorbikes.

"Becoming an international metropolis is a subject for a post-industrial city," said Le Zheng, dean of the Shenzhen Academy of Social Sciences, who has been studying urban development in China for many years.

Le said international-standard hospitals and schools were fundamental to an international city, something that was also reflected in the discussion.

Expats also called for a recycling system to be implemented by the city's environment authority.

Results of the survey will be released in mid-August and will serve as reference for the city government on urban development planning, according to Men Xiaoyu, general manager of Public Participation’s low-carbon and international division.

Public Participation, founded in 2006, provides consultancy services on social sciences and urban development.

The city government announced in its work report in May that internationalization would be a major priority over the next five years. There were about 480,000 foreign residents in Shenzhen, according to an official statistics released last year.


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