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Some people may not be aware that Hangzhou, Indianapolis’s sister city in China, is gearing up to host the “Group of Twenty” (G20) summit on September 4-5, 2016.
G20 is an international forum for governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies. The members include 19 individual countries—Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States—along with the European Union. The G20 Summit was created as a response both to the financial crisis of 2007–2010 and to a growing recognition that key emerging countries were not adequately included in the core of global economic discussion and governance, for example, the G8 summit. Collectively, the G20 economies account for around 85 percent of the gross world product, 80 percent of world trade and two-thirds of the world population.
Hosting the summit like G20 not only greatly boosts the host city’s international reputation, but significantly stimulates the local
economy, including the immediate spending by conference participants and the longer-term effects of increased investment, infrastructure and training. For example, research on the economic benefit of G8 and G20 summits valued the 2009 and 2010 US and Canada summits at US$135 million and US$95.4 million respectively.
Based on the host country rotation system, China has been chosen to host G20 summit this year. But why Hangzhou? Why not Beijing or Shanghai? Aren’t they more internationally well-known and experienced to host high-profile international events?
A legitimate question, But there are at least three reasons that make Hangzhou an ideal venue, namely
Hangzhou has a strong innovative spirit.
The 2016 theme is “Building an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy”. Hangzhou is one of the most innovative cities and enjoys its nickname of “Silicon Valley of China”. It was first designated as an economic and technological development zone in 1993, and since establishment of the e-commerce industrial park in 20134, Hangzhou has grown into an e-commerce hub with more than 470,000 online business entities. It has also attracted investment from over 50 countries and 57 Global Fortune 500 companies, including e-commerce giant Alibaba.
Hangzhou has the infrastructure and experience to host prominent international conferences.
Selected as one of the “41 places in the world worth visiting” by The New York Times, Hangzhou is proud to claim two World Heritages Sites, including West Lake and the Grand Canal. Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport is serviced by 27 international airlines. Since the beginning of 2016, the province has implemented a 144-hour visa-free transit policy which allows international
travelers from 51 countries and regions to move around Zhejiang, Shanghai and Jiangsu provinces without holding the visa for six
days. With rich business and cultural resources and good public transportation systems, Hangzhou now regularly hosts several international conferences each year, ranging from life sciences and education, to business, technology and culture.
Finally, Hangzhou has won the trust from the top Leadership.
Prior to Hangzhou becoming the host city of the G20 summit, Beijing served as host for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, and Shanghai hosted the summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). As Chinese media points out, one similarity among the three cities chosen to host these high profile summits is that they are all the places where President Xi worked and lived or is currently working. Between 2002 and 2007, President Xi was the head of Zhejiang provincial committee of the Communist Party of China. Before he was promoted to join the Politburo Standing Committee in Beijing, the top leadership of the Communist Party of China in October 2007, he had been the party secretary of Shanghai for a brief period.
For local civic leaders who dream of Indianapolis someday hosting a G20 summit, what can our city learn from Hangzhou? Indianapolis was proud to be rated as the Best Convention City by USA Today in 2014, and we believe that the City has the infrastructure and experience to host a high profile summit such as the G20. The International Center joins other entities willing to work together in partnership to put ourselves in a position to welcome these global leaders. Indianapolis could contribute much to the effort and, we firmly believe, also benefit tremendously from the experience.
By Lei Wang, China Project Manager, The International Center