Shanghai Airlines began operations of its first service to Japan, a daily service between Osaka Kansai International Airport and Shanghai, on April 21,2004. To coincide with the event, an Osaka Office (Manager: Zhou Zhao Zhong) was opened across the hall from the Osaka Business and Investment Center (Daisho Building 1st Floor). Shanghai Airlines President Fan Hongxi, who visited Osaka to commemorate the first flight, emphasized the “strong potential for deepening relations between an even more prosperous Osaka and Shanghai” as the backdrop of the direct flight service, inviting the residents of Osaka to take advantage of the service.
There are already several airlines providing direct service between Shanghai and Kansai International Airport: Air China and China Eastern Airlines each operate direct flights, and together with the two Japanese airlines, there are now five companies flying into Kansai International Airport. Why did Shanghai Airlines decide to open its service at this time?
Osaka is Japans second largest city, after Tokyo. It flourishes in a myriad of aspects, including manufacturing, commerce, and transportation. According to the 2002 statistics, the volume of Osakas exports to Shanghai makes up 30 percent of the total, while the quantities exported from Shanghai to Osaka have reached 31.6 percent of Chinas total exports to Japan. Out of the 640,000 people who traveled between Japan and China in 2002, approximately half, or 300,000 people, traveled between Osaka and Shanghai. The interaction between Shanghai and Osaka is sure to increase in a variety of fields, including business, travel, culture, and education.
The five Japanese and Chinese airlines will now be offering a total of 56 flights a week between Shanghai and Kansai International Airport. How will you characterize your service in this competitive environment?
In 1986, Shanghai Airlines established its subsidiary, Shanghai Airlines Tours International Co., Ltd. It is second in size among the 42 travel companies in Shanghai, and handles 250,000 travelers a year, out of which 80,000 are Japanese. Those Japanese travelers, who previously used other airlines, will now use Shanghai Airlines. In addition, Shanghai residents are the most numerous among Chinese travelers to foreign countries. When the currently strict regulations concerning the issuance of visas are relaxed, we will see more Chinese people visiting Japan.
What about the potential for Shanghai firms expanding into Japan?
Many private companies from the Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces of the so-called Yangtze Delta Region are expanding into Shanghai. We hear that some of these companies have indicated an interest in Osaka. At the moment, while there are many Shanghai companies expanding into Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia, few are expanding into Japan. Since Japan is an industrialized nation, there is a need to understand the nation on a deep level in order to invest in Japan. We hope we can work together with the Osaka Chamber of Commerce to help build mechanisms to bring Osaka and Shanghai closer together: providing Shanghai businesses with information on Osakas development, and encouraging partnerships between businesses.
It is also the Chinese governments policy to lure foreign businesses and, at the same time, promote expansion into foreign countries. The 2010 Shanghai Expo will be a major business opportunity for both Chinese and foreign companies. We hope we can count on Osaka companies which have experience with Expos.
What is your impression of Kansai International Airport, which is an ocean airport?
This is my third visit. Although there is only one runway, the design itself is good, and it is a favorable thing that there is dedicated train service into the city center. Another advantage of an ocean airport is the minimal disturbance to the citizens in terms of the environment.
Shanghai Airlines: Established in 1985. Fleet consists of 31 aircraft. Operates more than 130 domestic flights and provides service between China and five nations and one region. Has 3,195 employees (as of end of 2003). Listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2002.
|Shanghai Airlines Co., Ltd.|
|Representative||Zhou Zhao Zhang|
|Address||Higobashi Lucent Building 1-6-2 Kyoumachibori, Nishi-ku Osaka 550-0003|
|Telephone||+81 (0)6 6448 5161|