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Universities showcase R&D prowess at Shenzhen fair

By CHAI HUA and PEI PEI in Shenzhen, Guangdong | China Daily | Updated: 2020-11-17 09:49
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Visitors pass a university's booth during the China Hi-Tech Fair in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Wednesday. [Photo by WEN ZI/FOR CHINA DAILY]

The China Hi-Tech Fair is becoming something of an arena for the world's leading institutions in the fields of science and technology to showcase their latest achievements in research and development.

Prestigious universities and research institutions used the 2020 edition of the event, which was held in Shenzhen, Guangdong province from Nov 11 to 15, to display cutting-edge projects. Around 3,300 exhibitors from home and abroad participated in the fair.

Ren Hongbin, assistant minister of commerce, said at the opening ceremony that the CHTF has become a significant platform to exhibit China's high-tech products, transfer results of successful scientific experiments for applications in the form of technology and forge cooperation.

Besides high-tech companies such as Huawei, China Mobile and Bosch Group, about 25 well-known universities took center stage of this year's event, whose theme was "transforming the future with technology and driving development with innovation".

Participants highlighted their cutting-edge scientific research, the startups they spawned, their applied technologies and production they incubated.

Innovations are emerging from university laboratories as China keeps improving the intellectual property management system and encouraging the transformation and application of IP rights.

The China National Intellectual Property Administration issued 30 gold patent awards this year, and seven of them belong to colleges and universities.

For the 17th time, Shenzhen University participated in the expo. This year, its scientific and technological exhibits increased to 100 from the previous average of 80.

The Southern University of Science and Technology showcased five scientific results and 17 projects developed by enterprises backed by it.

Song Hang, a post-doctoral researcher at the university's school of innovation and entrepreneurship, introduced a green bio-hydro gel foaming technology that can replace plastic foam in packaging industries without increasing costs.

"We are ready to take the technology out of our laboratory now and looking forward to realizing small-scale mass production," he said.

At the Shenzhen fair, his presentation caught the eye of Midea, a popular home appliance brand in China. The company, he said, expressed its intent to forge cooperation.

China is tightening up environmental protection regulations, so demand for environmentally friendly alternative products is tremendous, he said.

He said he has been seeking to establish contact with potential investors for a joint laboratory project and for setting up some firms.

Du Chenlin, director of scientific research and enterprise cooperation at Shenzhen Technology University, said: "Our exhibition area last year was only 80 square meters, but this year we expanded to 180 square meters.

"There were only about 20 physical exhibit items last time, but this year, the number doubled to 47, excluding those projects with only board display."

Unlike in the past when they had to take the initiative to find partners, many companies now approached them and were even willing to share their resources, he said.

A biomedical engineering center recently proposed investing 5 million yuan ($760,000) for a joint-venture laboratory, he said. The university was officially approved in 2018, and aims to explore application-oriented higher education.

Du said the university has signed agreements with more than 170 companies, including Han's Laser, Shenzhen Metro and BGI Group, a biotech company. The agreements resulted in the establishment of dozens of projects, he said.

He said the university prefers to choose scientific research projects in line with enterprises' actual demand so that they can be applied as soon as possible.

One of the university's hit products at the fair was a 3D television that does not require viewers to wear special glasses. Joe Chan, the professor who developed the 3D TV, said the university's television and mobile phone products are ready for mass production, but the market still lacks high-quality 3D content.

He said he expected to find partners and investors at the Shenzhen fair for making more 3D games, videos and educational resources.

Fudan University displayed several technologies and products for coronavirus detection and protection, including a system that can detect COVID-19 cases in 45 minutes and a detector of pathogens in densely populated spaces.

The university said a 500-mega-pixel smart camera developed by it can capture high-definition photos and videos that are about 100 times clearer than 4K-standard images.

Wuhan, Hubei province-based Huazhong University of Science and Technology demonstrated several technologies that can increase the efficiency of industrial design, assembling and manufacturing.

Ledstar Tech, founded by Chen Mingxiang, a professor at the university, unveiled a ceramic circuit board for manufacturing semiconductor devices.

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