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Chengdu Special: Congress sign of Chengdu's growing biotechnology clout
by Wang Xin
04-June-2012 China Daily
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The ongoing World Biomaterials Congress in Chengdu is expected to further boost the area's thriving biotechnology industry, said Chen Lin, director of the Chengdu Municipal Bureau of Exposition.

Held every four years in a different country, the congress is considered by industry insiders to be the Olympics of the science and industry of biomaterials, a field involving the artificial replacement of bodily tissues, bones and organs.

As the first Chinese city to host this prestigious global forum, Chengdu is being recognized for its growing role in the global biomaterials industry, Chen said.

The congress, which began on June 1, has attracted more than 2,000 scholars and experts, corporate executives and government officials from all corners of the globe. Among them are more than 30 renowned Chinese and foreign academicians.

During the forum's panel discussions, experts will discuss the latest findings and brainstorm about ways to cross new frontiers in biomaterials and regenerative medicine, organizers said. At the same time, the five-day event also provides participants with ideal opportunities to closely experience Chengdu, Chen said.

As a hub of technology, finance and commerce in Southwest China, Chengdu is playing a leading role in the country's western development campaign, making it a great source of economic potential, he noted.

Economic growth has brought a boom in the conference and exhibition sector, which maintained an average annual growth of 20 percent over the past decade. This has had a positive effect on related industries in the city, Chen said. Since the city surpassed 500 billion yuan ($78.48 billion) in GDP in 2010, the sector's growth has been on the fast track.

With total exhibition areas surpassing 2 million square meters, the industry generated more than 700 million yuan in direct revenue and stimulated related consumption worth about 9.4 billion yuan in the first quarter of this year.

"Our goal is to build Chengdu into an internationally influential destination for exhibitions and conferences, with professional services, an international environment and a branding effect," Chen said.

With the addition of new hotels and modern conference centers, the environment and amenities in the city have improved significantly in recent years, he said.

A wealth of cultural heritage and tourism resources add to Chengdu's charm, including a giant panda research center; the millenia-old Dujiangyan irrigation system and a residence of renowned poet Du Fu, of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907).

Chengdu is home to Taoist shrine Qingcheng Mountain, a popular scenic gorge known as Jiuzhaigou, and Wuhou Temple commemorating Zhuge Liang, a legendary royal military adviser during the Three Kingdoms (AD 220-280). The city is also renowned for its spicy and distinctive cuisine, Chen said.

"Open-mindedness and friendliness epitomize the essence of our city," he said.

"This is a city where, once you come, you never want to leave," he quoted famous movie director Zhang Yimou as saying.

In addition to the gathering of biomaterials researchers, the Fortune Global Forum and the world Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention will be held in Chengdu in 2013.

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