Chengdu, designated back in 2006 as one of the first tranche of service outsourcing centers in China, is appropriately enough the backdrop for this year's China-EU Cooperation and Development Conference on the Outsourcing Service Industry.
Due to open on Oct 16 in the city, the capital of the southwestern Sichuan province, the event will form part of the 10th Western China International Economy and Trade Fair.
Taking place in Tuileries Palace, part of the city's Sofitel Wanda Hotel, the conference will highlight the unrivalled resources and distinct advantages that Chengdu can offer to the recreational software outsourcing industry.
Officials from the city will also spell out its innovative approach to human resource development and its incentive policies for companies looking to use its facilities.
The advantages offered by its industrial infrastructure will also be on show.
The city's government has long backed the development of its outsourcing sector and has designated the industry as one of its key economic drivers.
As the country's first national-level Online Game Animation Industry Center, the city has succeeded in attracting a number of market leaders, including Ubisoft, Kingsoft, SNDA, Dreamwork, Top Animation, Alibaba, Mobile Music and Mobile Media.
Some 60 businesses, engaged in digital media and online operations, are now active in the city, employing more than 30,000 industry professionals.
According to local government figures, the total sales value of the digital entertainment sector in the city was 1.2 billion yuan last year. This excludes the income from telecom operators and several value-added service providers.
Four businesses saw their sales income exceed 100 million yuan apiece in 2008, ensuring the city was ranked as one of the five key online game producers in China.
Currently, Chengdu has an enormous local consumer market, abundant IT personnel, several cultural advantages and a solid industrial foundation.
This has seen it established as a destination of choice for companies seeking recreational software outsourcing support.
The Chengdu government is now committed to supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises in the sector and accelerating the growth of related industrial clusters.
Early in 2005, the Chengdu National-level Digital Media Base was established. The Render Farm HD Non-linear Editing System, the first phase of the Chengdu Public Technical Service Platform for Digital Media in the Chengdu Hi-tech Area, was opened as a free-of-charge facility for the public in August 2008.
One year later, the platform had provided 160,492 hours of processing time and had saved local businesses a total of 1.9 million yuan in operating costs.
In light of the city's success within the sector, local universities have been quick to place considerable emphasis on producing graduates with the appropriate skill-set.
In 2005, Chengdu University partnered with Sanweihuo Tech Co, an animation company founded by Xu Yi, himself a legendary animator.
The link-up allowed the university to strengthen its cooperation with the commercial sector and offer high profile internship opportunities for its students, ultimately allowing businesses to further reduce their costs.
The University of Electronic Science and Technology teamed up with Eutechnyx Chengdu Co Ltd and Winnersoft to develop its human resources program.
Meanwhile, Sichuan University, the Sichuan Conservatory of Music and Sichuan Polytechnic University have all established digital media departments.
A number of private universities are also offering courses focusing on the sector. Currently, a total of 33 vocational training institutes now offer related training courses. This has seen the discipline's combined student body in the city exceeding 3,000.
A number of leading businesses in the sector can trace their roots back to Chengdu.
Eutechnyx Chengdu Co Ltd, a Sino-British joint venture (JV), is the city's first company of its kind engaged in overseas online outsourcing projects.
In cooperation with its offices in the Hong Kong special administrative region and in Britain, the company developed the popular online game Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli, which hit the shelves last year.
Xu Wei, the company's general manager, said this remarkable outcome didn't just benefit the company itself, but also enhanced Chengdu's international image and industrial strength.
Ubisoft Chengdu, a local business, is another success story for the city. The company is the only one in the city involved in the research and development of video games.
Cao Jianwei, general manager of the company, which relocated to Chengdu in 2007, now runs a team of 170 people.
He said the city has considerable personnel advantages, with 90 percent of his staff being university graduates. He also praised their ability to rapidly master complex tasks and meet the needs of the demanding international market.
The Chengdu Association of Sourcing Service (CASS) has also proved its worth as an important bridge between businesses and government.
Thanks to the work of the association, local companies have been able to speak with one voice and develop rapidly. CASS has now teamed up with many international counterpart associations, including NASSCOM in India, and BPAP in the Philippines.
These affiliations have been a key asset for local firms looking to enter the global market.
(China Daily 10/15/2009 page5)