It has certainly been an enlightening and interesting visit to Chongqing. I had been looking forward to this part of the Mission for some time, and it certainly didn't disappoint. In fact, it exceeded my already high expectations!
Dropping in and out of a city of 30 million people, in western China, a city that nobody had heard of until recently, and hearing of their vast and far reaching development plans to transform themselves into a modern first tier city, was an almost out of body experience, and I am already getting excited at the prospects of coming back to do more exploring.
Like all of the western cities we visited, Chongqing believes it is the obvious place from which to launch a whole of China strategy, being a transport and logistics hub in the centre of the fastest growing region in China with low labour costs, local Government support and incentives, and a focus on high value manufacturing, IT, scientific development and financial services . It is hard to argue with this. Unless you have already had success in the China market, there would be a good argument to start here, thus avoiding the competive and crowded global markets of Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, and work from the inside out. We were certainly well received by the local Chongqing Government and local businesses who were obviously surprised and pleased to see such a large delegation from Australia, and you could imagine that you would feel you were well ahead of the curve, rather than playing catch up.
Let me finish by saying that, if you haven't been there already, you must visit Chongqing. It is a colossal city already but has plans to double the size of its urban area by the end of this decade. The development plans are simply mind boggling and I feel privileged to have had the chance to come here now to witness this city before the real transformation begins.
Many people have said to me that they wished that they had seen Shanghai in 1990 so that they could get a better perspective of how much the city has changed since the plans to develop the Pudong area were first conceived. Today we visited the new Jiangbeizui CBD district of Chongqing which will soon be a shiny metropolis with bright lights, laser shows and tall skyscrapers. This is your chance!