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Chengdu Science City, Tianfu New District key parts in nurturing further innovation

By Li Yang and Li Yu (China Daily) Updated: 2016-05-12 09:23

Chengdu Science City, Tianfu New District key parts in nurturing further innovation

Consulates generals, officials in Chengdu, Chongqing and Kunming as well as some foreign business chambers leaders pay a visit to Chengdu, examine the construction progress of the Chengdu Science City, incubators, and some other international innovations projects. Photos provided to China Daily

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said he hopes Chengdu Science City will become a core zone of the new economy, a cradle of a new driving force and a new engine of Sichuan’s development, during his visit to the research and development industry park in Tianfu New District in late April.

The Chengdu government unveiled its plan to make Chengdu an innovative city by 2025 on March 15. The premier’s recent visit reinforces the city government’s confidence in transforming its blueprint into reality.

According to the plan, Chengdu should become an ideal place to pursue innovation and start new businesses by 2017, have modern industries and become a national center city concentrating on pro-innovation factors by 2020, and have international influence in the field of innovation and relevant systems.

The construction of Chengdu Science City is an important part of realizing the plan.

The Chengdu government regards the science city as a platform to pursue innovation and foster new enterprises not only for Sichuan province, but also the whole of Southwest China, and plans to attract more national key research and development projects, researchers and competitive innovative enterprises to the park, which also has a platform for intellectual property rights transactions.

The government provides all necessary services and help, including financing, detection and authentication, to put the results of R&D projects into industrial application and production in the park.

Construction on Chengdu Science City began in July 2013. It has a planned area of 73 square kilometers, and comprises of eight zones: innovation incubators, information security, big-data internet, industrial R&D, design, emerging finance, science and technology R&D, and school innovation transformation.

The zones are scattered around Xinglong Lake and have convenient lifestyle facilities of medical care, education, sports and culture within less than 15 minutes travel by car. The science city is accessible by expressway, subway and tramway.

The park already houses China Railway Engineering Corp’s railway R&D center, the Sichuan-France ecology technology center, Germany’s Nordrhein-Westfalen center, Nokia’s global R&D center, the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ West China innovation center, and the Tsinghua-Sichuan energy internet institute.

High accolades

The science city has won high praise.

“Chengdu Science City is similar to Tsukuba Science City in Japan, which is located about 50 kilometers to the north of Tokyo and concentrates a large number of State institutes, projects and researchers, including four Japanese Nobel prize winners,” said Zhao Hong, director of the Zhongguancun Innovation Development Institute in Beijing. “Chengdu is an important hub city in the west of China. That Chengdu has such an innovation role model is of strategic importance to the whole country.”

Lei Jun, president of Xiaomi Tech, one of China’s largest technology companies in telecommunications, said: “We have hundreds of engineers working in Chengdu. The city has a favorable environment and atmosphere for new business starters, which is comparable to that of large cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.”

Not far from Chengdu Science City is the Chengdu High-Tech Development Zone, which was the first such in West China to be approved by the central government as a national-level innovation model zone.

The zone has cooperation relationships with Harvard University from the United States, Humboldt University from Germany, and Tsinghua University, the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Sichuan University and Southwest Jiaotong University.

The zone is expected to be home to more than 100 R&D centers of enterprises and institutes from home and abroad by 2020.

Ding Xiaobin, vice-director of the Chengdu science and technology bureau, said, “In light of the 10 main indicators set by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in its evaluation of an innovation city, Chengdu has reached innovation city standards in personal GDP, technology’s contribution rate to economic growth and the number of patents owned by businesses, and already has the foundation and conditions to become an innovation city.”

Chengdu Science City, Tianfu New District key parts in nurturing further innovation

Artistic rendering of the Xinglong Lake area of the Tianfu New District.

Policy support

The Chengdu government has recently issued a series of policies to attract innovation talent and investment.

The highest subsidy to Nobel Prize winners in the fields Chengdu has identified is 50 million yuan ($7.72 million).

The city attracted more than 200 industrial and business innovators from around the world last year, and over 100 researchers from universities started businesses in Chengdu.

The government set up a 230 million yuan guidance fund to attract angel investment from the market, and established eight angel investment funds with total capital of 730 million yuan through cooperating with venture capital investment agencies and universities, founded a 250 million yuan risk compensation fund for technology enterprise’s debt financing, built a 3.18 billion yuan’ debt financing capital pool together with private investors, and made available 100 million yuan in loans to fund college students to start businesses.

The growth speed of the number of new business in Chengdu was 19.29 percentage points higher than the national average last year. That momentum continues this year.

In the first quarter of 2016, the number of newly founded business increased 25.4 percent year-on-year.

The city government released a new plan late last month to foster Chengdu’s innovation atmosphere in six aspects: reform, talent, enterprise, finance, production and branding.

The Chengdu government earmarked six industries that need stronger cooperation with college researchers: biological medicine, new materials, medical care, electronic information, big data and railway transportation.

The Chengdu-based Sichuan University plans to encourage its teachers to participate in R&D projects outside of the industrial park.

The city is also looking to the outside world to publicize its image as an innovation center in Southwest China.

The city government organized a promotion in Seoul on April 26 called Jingronghui, or “talents gather in Chengdu”, which focused on Chengdu’s innovation and investment environment.

More than 200 people from venture investment agencies, industry incubators, universities, businesses and relevant industry associations attended.

Fu Yonglin, vice-mayor of the Chengdu government, invited professional talent and entrepreneurs from around the world to visit Chengdu and start businesses, engage in R&D and realize their dreams.

The Jingronghui promotion began last year in Chengdu.

In 2015, more than 300,000 people from 300 venture investment agencies and more than 6,000 enterprises took part in its nearly 100 activities, which yielded over 10 billion yuan in planned investment on new R&D projects and businesses.

With the help of the Ministry of Commerce, Chengdu is also cooperating with neighboring Deyang and Mianyang to attract investment, enterprises and technologies from Germany.

Currently, the three cities are negotiating with their German partners on more than 40 projects in medicine, fine chemicals engineering, environmental protection and energy saving, and conventions and exhibitions.

Chengdu Science City, Tianfu New District key parts in nurturing further innovation

Artistic rendering of the central park, Tianfu New District.

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