Shanghai pledges more services for expats with new official website, social media account

作者:Lin Shujuan in Shanghai来源

Kong Fu'an, director general of the Foreign Affairs Office of Shanghai People's Municipal Government (the fourth from the left, the third row from top), poses for a photo with expats at the closing ceremony of "Foreigners, not outsiders" exhibition on Tuesday. [Photo by Gao Erqiang/]

The Foreign Affairs Office of the Shanghai People's Municipal Government announced on Tuesday that it will launch a new official website and an official social media account next year.

The new online platforms will contain useful information that help expats adjust to life in the city, said Kong Fu'an, director general of the Office.

Kong, who is also the executive vice-president of the Shanghai People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, made the announcement during the closing ceremony of the "Foreigners, But Not Outsiders" exhibition, which features paintings created by Shanghai artist Li Shoubai that pay tribute to expats for their contributions to local communities.

In his speech, Kong described Shanghai as an "international, innovative and inclusive global city" that always views expats as valued members of the community.

Citing the title of the exhibition, he said: "Foreigners but not outsiders, let's work together to create a better future in our city, you and me."

Kong's speech was followed by a panel discussion featuring four Shanghai-based expats who have served as "ambassadors" for the international services handbook, which was released by the Shanghai municipal authorities in September.

The discussion was focused on what foreign residents like about the city and its business environment, as well as their thoughts on how convenient life is in Shanghai.

As members of the "International Experience Ambassadors" in Shanghai, the four individuals provide constructive feedback and ideas to improve the services and resources available to expats.

Alexander Bushroe, an American reporter with Shanghai Daily, hailed the city's recent upgrade of payment service systems which has allowed foreigners to easily link their overseas bank cards to local payment apps.

Armenian musician Astrid Poghosyan of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, who has been living in Shanghai since 2009, shared the same sentiments.

"Sometimes I think as a foreigner living in this cashless digital society, we get so spoiled that we forget there are places that don't function this way, which makes it difficult to live somewhere else," said Poghosyan.

Edwin Montealegre, a Costa Rican student at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, agreed.

He explained that the various food delivery apps available in the city have been a "lifesaver" for someone like him who has to work late often. He also praised Shanghai for being "a new world center for music" that frequently hosts outstanding artists and performances from around the world.

Beecher Brown, founding partner of recruiting software company Ajinga, said he likes Shanghai's jogging tracks along the Huangpu River as they allow him to decompress after a long week, as well as the comprehensive coverage of the 5G network that allows him to do video conferences with people from across the Pacific even when he's in a bullet train from Beijing to Shanghai.