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This Day, That Year: Dec 19

CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2019-12-19 11:34

Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

An item from Dec 19, 1981, in China Daily showed Yin Shengxi playing the erhu, a stringed musical instrument, at his teahouse in Beijing.

Yin, a former government official, was among the first batch of private businessmen in the capital thanks to China's reform and opening-up.

After decades of development, private companies are now the country's main engine of economic growth.

Today, the private sector contributes more than 60 percent of the country's growth and 80 percent of new jobs, according to the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce.

The spirit of entrepreneurship has grown at an exponential rate in recent years.

In 2014, the central government proposed mass entrepreneurship and innovation, which has been viewed as a new engine for the country's economic growth.

Thanks to the policy support, China has surpassed the United States to become the world's biggest hub for "unicorns", according to Shanghai research institute Hurun.

The country is home to 206 unicorns, or privately owned companies worth at least $1 billion.

Beijing, meanwhile, powered ahead of San Francisco to become the world's "unicorn capital", Hurun said. The capital is home to 82 unicorns compared with San Francisco's 55.

The most high-profile are Ant Financial, an affiliate of tech giant Alibaba, valued at $150 billion; TikTok creator, Bytedance, valued at $75 billion; and ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing, valued at $55 billion.

Apart from the internet and mobile technology sectors, many entrepreneurs started appearing in other industries-energy, healthcare, financial services, consumer, retail among others-where businesses were increasingly intertwined with the rapid growth of science and technology.

Furthermore, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology, there are 115 university science parks and more than 1,600 technology business incubators in the country providing mentorship, legal advice and office space to aspiring entrepreneurs.

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