Representatives attend the City Image Building Under the Belt and Road Initiative forum during the third 21st Century Maritime Silk Road China (Guangdong) International Communication Forum held in Zhuhai, Guangdong province. Photo Provided To China Daily
The third 21st Century Maritime Silk Road China (Guangdong) International Communication Forum became a valuable platform for the host city to learn from experts how to build up its city image.
Held in this coastal city of Zhuhai in South China's Guangdong province from Oct 21 to 23, the event attracted more than 300 government officials, consular officers, experts, entrepreneurs and media representatives from around the world.
Many of them shared what impression the city had left on them and what Zhuhai needs to gear up efforts to promote the city farther and wider during the forum.
Among them are Warren Mok, a tenor and opera performer whose ancestral roots are in Zhuhai, and John Hedin, an American editor who used to work in Zhuhai for a long time.
"I've been to Zhuhai for numerous times and I've witnessed its changes," said Mok.
"Zhuhai is an ideal city for living as well as for doing business. I really love the city as it is never too crowded, noisy, nor messy; and I think Zhuhai is the perfect place for the international communication forum."
Mok, offspring of a Hong Kong businessman from Zhuhai's Huitong village, is now one of the best-known tenors in the world and a top three in China.
Basing his viewpoint on his profession and understanding of the city, he suggested that Zhuhai should pay greater effort to developing its cultural industry as culture is one of the important indicators to measure the degree of development of a city.
"Zhuhai already has two opera houses and should establish a symphony orchestra and annually organize music festivals and vocal music competitions to help improve the city's cultural prowess and build the city into a tourism city for culture," he said.
Warren Mok, a tenor and opera performer, gives a speech during the event. Photo Provided To China Daily
Hedin, a retired editor from Kingston, New York, used to work for Zhuhai Special Zone Daily for several years.
He is now an advisor of the city's English website cityofzhuhai.com. Hedin attached great importance to news spreading.
"No one I spoke to back in the US had heard of the Maritime Silk Road. Not only that, but a fellow traveler whose company deals with two firms in Zhuhai also asked what it was," he said. He called for teacher exchanges between Maritime Silk Road countries, a Greater Bay Speakers Bureau that spins its speakers off to community groups, and a Maritime Road News Service that promotes human-interest stories, according to a report on cityofzhuhai.com. "Not just infrastructure, deals, politics, and statistics," he was quoted as saying.
Zhang Zhi'an, dean of the School of Communication and Design at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, the provincial capital, said that city image promotion should be a kind of city storytelling that the public will participate extensively in via such platforms as social media and the internet.
"Zhuhai has rich choices of popular scenic spots as well as big events including the annual China International Circus Festival, the biennial Airshow China and the international communication forum, which can be capitalized on for the public to integrate their personal feelings and narrate their city stories from their personal perspectives," he said.
Angus Deaton, 2015 Nobel Prize laureate in economic sciences and professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University, said he was deeply impressed by the rapid development of the Bay Area. The Bay Area is a beautiful region and is expected to become a new engine of world economic development and an innovation center of science and technology, he was quoted by local media as saying.
Deaton said Zhuhai is a beautiful city with many scenic spots and has done a good job in developing its tourism industry, adding that he will recommend the city as a tourism destination to his friends.
David Gosset, founder of the Europe-China Forum, said Zhuhai's peerless advantage lies in its good geographical position to Hong Kong and Macao which offers opportunities for the city to expand cooperation with the two Chinese special administrative regions and develop its economy.
Visitors from China and abroad watch the photo exhibition during the event. Photo Provided To China Daily
Meanwhile, the city has a low population density but large forested area which is conducive to sustainable development, he said.
Addressing a parallel forum on city image promotion on Tuesday during the international communication forum, Long Guangyan, head of the city's publicity department, said, "The sub-forum provides a good opportunity for the city to dwell academically on how to promote city image, to expand exchanges and enhance mutual understanding with the rest of the world.".
According to the official, Zhuhai has launched a series of publicity events including unveiling the city's logo and promotional video, publishing bilingual brochures and books to help further raise the city's image and promote the city abroad, showcasing the city to the world from a new perspective in the past year.
On the same occasion, Zhuhai Media Group signed a series of cooperative agreements with Macao Commercial Post International Group, Telediffusion of Macao Co and Macao Cable TV to expand and deepen their exchanges and cooperation.
Sun Xijiong, chairman of Zhuhai Media Group, said that it will join forces with its Macao counterparts so that both sides can contribute more favorable stories about Zhuhai and Macao to better serve construction of the Bay Area and expand mutual cooperation in the years ahead.