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Suzhou Industrial Park celebrates 25 years

By Li You | China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-12 07:31

SIP poised to lead modern industry into the future under the framework of groundbreaking China-Singapore project

After 25 years of development, the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park has become a model of China's economic cooperation with other countries. The park is celebrating its 25th anniversary at a special conference marking its achievements on Friday.

The major factors that have contributed to the park's success will be discussed at the conference, accompanied by a series of activities including the signing of key projects, the unveiling of an exhibition of achievements made in the past 25 years and an art performance in the evening.

"In the past 25 years, the main leaders of the SIP have changed six times, but they all uphold the main guideline of its development. This is another factor that contributes to the SIP's success," said Zhang Zhen, deputy director of Adopting Singapore's Experience Office at the Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee.

In February 1994, the SIP project was launched under the collaboration of Chinese and Singaporean governments, pledging to foster local innovation and boost high-tech enterprises. As a result, it has been ranked one of the best among more than 200 industrial parks of its kind in China.

Over the past 25 years, the park has contributed about 800 billion yuan ($119.11 billion) in tax revenue, achieved more than $1 trillion in foreign trade volume, completed more than 900 billion yuan in investment in fixed assets and utilized $31.27 billion in foreign capital.

The SIP is now home to more than 156 projects initiated by Fortune Global 500 enterprises and about 30 world-class educational and research institutions operated jointly with foreign universities.

At its launch in 1994, the park was designated to be located in the Jinji Lake area in east Suzhou. The two parties announced it should be an industrial park led by high-tech industry, with modern industries as the major body and the tertiary sector as its supplementary part.

In December of the same year, Samsung Electronics (Suzhou) Semiconductor was launched in the park, becoming the first foreign-funded enterprise in the SIP.

Following Samsung, Siemens, Philips and more multinational corporations have set up R&D centers in the park. A group of Singaporean enterprises have also opened offices in Suzhou.

Suzhou Industrial Park celebrates 25 years

The time period between 1994 to 2000 was the first phase of the SIP. The constant arrival of overseas companies laid a promising foundation for industrial development, said Zhang.

Development in the park focused on an import-led export model, that is, it attracted foreign-funded companies with low-cost labor. As a result, transnational corporations relocated their manufacturing to the SIP and the products they produced were exported to other countries.

From around 2005, the park began to upgrade its local industry and nurture its own enterprises, said Zhang, adding that with the development of local industry, the shortcomings of the park's service industry began to show.

Therefore, the park began to cultivate the modern service industry on a large scale. In terms of financial innovation, it studied the successful operations from the Singapore side and introduced research institutions and enterprise incubators.

If the task of the first 10 years of the park was to absorb and utilize Singapore's experience, then from 2006, the park entered an exporting stage, Zhang said.

Under the greater development plan of Jiangsu province, the Suzhou-Suqian Industrial Park was the first such parks to borrow the SIP's experience.

China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Development Group, or CSSD, jointly developed by the governments of China and Singapore in August 1994, is the company that undertakes the park's planning and management work and has been playing a crucial role in introducing its experience to other industrial parks, said Yin Jian, vice-president of the company.

Suzhou-Suqian park and Suzhou-Nantong Science and Technology Industrial Park are mirroring the SIP's experiences.

"The industrial parks project in Jiangsu is our first step to 'go out'. Leveraging our good understanding of Yangtze River region, we export our experience and help other cities to establish their urbanization projects," Yin said.

For its next step, they will export SIP's experience to Northwest China and some foreign countries such as Indonesia under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, Yin added.

According to the local administrative committee, by 2025, the SIP will develop a framework to construct a world-class high-tech industrial park; by 2035, it aims to become a world-class high-tech industrial park; and by 2050, it should complete the construction of a world-class high-tech industrial park.

Suzhou Industrial Park celebrates 25 years

A bird's-eye view of the Suzhou Industrial Park, a model of China's economic cooperation with Singapore.Photos Provided To China Daily

Suzhou Industrial Park celebrates 25 years

(China Daily 04/12/2019 page12)

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