SAN FRANCISCO, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Shanghai's Yangpu District in China and the U.S. city of Palo Alto in San Francisco Bay Area on Monday formally entered into sister city relationship at Palo Alto City Hall.
Palo Alto, the birth place of the Silicon Valley, is the first sister city of Yangpu, the most densely populated district in Shanghai with a population of some 1.3 million, while Yangpu is the eighth sister city of Palo Alto.
"We are very careful with choosing a sister city," said Li Yaping, deputy magistrate of Yangpu District, "The two sides share natural synergy in many ways," she said.
Both Yangpu and Palo Alto are known as home to top universities and dozens of hi-tech companies.
Palo Alto is home to the prestigious Stanford University and center of innovation. Yangpu, which boasts famous Chinese universities such as Fudan and Tongji, is a national demonstration base for entrepreneurship and innovation.
Palo Alto's newest sister city signals a new partnership focused on innovation, shared learning and best practices, said the city of Palo Alto on its website.
On Saturday, the delegation of 19 officials from Yangpu was invited to participate in a tradition-packed Chinese New Year celebration in Palo Alto.
"I was impressed by the American people's knowledge of Chinese culture and their performance," Li said, showing the photos she took with her smartphone of children performing martial arts and teachers reciting Chinese poems.
"I told the Palo Alto mayor that the Chinese New Year traditions represent Chinese people's good wishes for a better life," Li said, "I hope more Chinese tradition and culture can be introduced to Palo Alto through the sister city relationship."
A delegation from Palo Alto is expected to visit Yangpu in return in November. A priority will be promoting people-to-people exchanges, including community artists program and sports competitions, according to Li.
The sister city relationship developed from a partnership in 2012 when the two municipalities signed a smart city agreement to develop business relationship with assistance of Bay Area Council, a local non-profit organization.
The relationship warmed up as a group of Palo Alto students visited Shanghai as part of an exchange program in 2013.
Late last year, the Shanghai municipal government and the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries approved Yangpu's request to establish sister city relationship with Palo Alto.
Last week, Palo Alto City Council voted unanimously for the resolution to become a sister city of Yangpu.