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China's Shenzhen taps Israeli port city as model of urban globalization

Posting in Cities

 

Haifa Michael Paul Gollmer Wiki.jpg
Confuscius say: Do it the Israeli way. The Mediterranean port city of Haifa (above) is a model for Shenzhen's next step.
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Question: Let's say you're the mayor of Shenzhen, the Chinese port city that has transformed from a small fishing village to a huge metropolis of over 10 million people in the last 30 years. But now you want to up the game even more, and turn the place into a global hub of technology and innovation. Who you gonna call?

Answer: The mayor of relatively tiny Haifa, of course!

Yes, Haifa, Israel and its population of 300,000, will help show heaving Shenzhen - by some measures its headcount tops 17 million  - the way to the future.

As the Jerusalem Post reports

Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav will offer his expertise as a senior advisor to the Chinese coastal city of Shenzhen, at the invitation of his counterpart, Mayor Xu Qin, who received special permission for the appointment by the Communist Party of China (CPC). ...."The ‘Special Economic Zone of Shenzhen’ accomplished tremendous achievements and created miracles in industrialization, modernization and urbanization. Today, as we continue to lead with further reforms and openness efforts, Shenzhen embarks on a journey on its way to becoming a global city,” read the written invitation from the Municipal People’s Government of Shenzhen. 

The BBC adds:

"Haifa works, Jerusalem prays, and Tel Aviv plays" is a common Israeli saying - reflecting the city's image as a technological and industrial powerhouse - and helps explain China's interest in borrowing its mayor's talents. 

Israel has already advised China on technology, agriculture, medicine and water management the BBC adds, citing the Hebrew-language Maariv newspaper.

No telling how widespread this Sino-Israeli trend could become. Maybe it's time to make room on the dim sum tray for some matzoh balls. They'd fit in neatly next to the dumplings.

Photo is from Michael Paul Gollmer via Wikimedia

— By on January 13, 2014, 5:06 AM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure