As Friday's curtain came down on this year's Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), a public diplomacy event, the lasting effect on China should be progress and reform. It is fair to say that the four days of the conference, covering sixty topics and attracting over 3,000 global figures from all walks of life, were a good example of public diplomacy itself.

February 3, 2014

In my new book, “Shaping China’s Global Imagination: Branding Nations at the World Expo,” I explore the idea of nation branding—what it is and how it works—through the instructive case of the Shanghai World Expo. Despite the growing interest in how countries promote their national image, the potential and role of branding in a nation’s communication has often been assumed but not demonstrated.

Shanghai is a city that connotes modernity and rapid economic development. Its inhabitants are known both within and without its confines as upwardly mobile, career-oriented, and financially minded. Tourists come to see bright lights on East Nanjing road and the lavishness of the Bund, both symbols of recent industrialization. What the city lacks, it is commonly believed, is historical and artistic culture.

If such a thing is possible, Shanghai today beckons even more powerfully than it did in the past, playing a critical role among the great cities of the world beyond anything that could have been imagined. Shanghai’s future shines brilliantly, given its own dynamic economy and the larger Chinese economy of which it is a critical part. However, as China’s most prosperous city, Shanghai should not be afraid to strike out on its own or, more accurately, to define the terms of its development in its own way and according to its own history and understanding of its future.

The Korean Film Archive (KOFA) has signed an “agreement of cooperation” with the newly opened Shanghai Film Museum, the South Korea state-backed body announced. The pact, the first of its kind to be pursued for KOFA since its inception in 1974, means the two organizations will collaborate for film screenings, exhibitions, and restoration projects.

From June 15-23 cinematic movers and shakers from the world over are descending on Shanghai for the SIFF, now in its 16th year. And as the three Monkey King-themed choppers suggest, Chinese cinema is proudly showing the world what it’s got. As China’s only A-category international film festival accredited by the FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations), in many ways SIFF is the nation’s ultimate soft power fest.

China's top economic planning body set new targets on Monday in its effort turn the city of Shanghai into a global financial hub, including a more than doubling of trading volume in financial markets and a greater openness to derivatives such as foreign-exchange products.

Shanghai is sparing no effort to develop itself as a center for international finance, economic activity, trade and logistics in China. According to the latest report, The International Image of Shanghai, among its four goals, the position of Shanghai as an international financial center was best known by foreigners.