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Hu Zhengrong: Profound and Unique Values of a City Promote Its International Image


Chongqing – “Value chain” is a term widely used in economics, closely related to the entire chain of businesses’ activities in creating products and services. Are you aware that the “value chain” is crucial to promoting a city’s international image? Yuelai Forum: Cities for International Communication was launched in Chongqing recently. iChongqing interviewed Hu Zhengrong, director of the Institute of Journalism and Communication Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, on “how to develop a city’s value chain to promote its image in the world.”  

Professor Hu Zhengrong ( Photo provided to iChongqing)

Professor Hu explained that the “value chain” in the context of telling a city’s story to the world includes tangible products made by the city and intangible benefits, such as the social benefits that make one city well-known worldwide.

Despite the widespread prevalence of promotional videos showing skyscrapers, architecture, scenery, or grand scenes, Professor Hu indicated that the profound values are not well expressed. According to him, an interesting story about a city can trigger people’s empathy and influence their beliefs, perceptions, and value concepts. For instance, city values such as human care, cultural value, and city management are presented when stray dogs or cats are provided with shelters. 

Meanwhile, Professor Hu thought a city should exploit its distinctive values and take full advantage of them while telling stories highlighting the city’s styles, characteristics, and temperaments. It is common for people outside Chongqing & Chengdu to use the term “coziness” when describing the two cities. This means stories told by Chongqing & Chengdu are expected to portray cozy aspects of these two cities. In addition, he listed the successful case of the famous “I Love New York” logo, which was copied worldwide with its design and idea. He said New York highlighted its advantage and features in fashion and design to create this successful logo.  

Professor Hu believes that cities should exploit diversified city values to meet the needs of different audiences. For instance, Chongqing’s Red Cultural Gene is unique and appealing to Chinese people because they are familiar with its history. Stories that highlight its spectacular traditional history & culture, its comfortable & modern city life, its inclusiveness, vitality, and diversity will be more appealing to overseas audiences. Specifically, he said that Chongqing’s local delicacies could easily win overseas audiences’ favor if they were well promoted. By offering tourism programs, videos about local delicacies, and international food festivals based around local delicacies, tangible and intangible values will be gained.  


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