Tianjin's TEDA home to IT giants and startups

Updated : 2013-12-31 By : Gao Yuan and Li XiangSource : China Daily

 Tianjin's TEDA home to IT giants and startups

Fang Yunfeng's team are talking about their expansion plan for the next year in the coffee center in TEDA. Photos Provided to China Daily

After having a coffee with partners in a loft-like office in Tianjin, Fang Yunfeng rushed back to Beijing.

He is busy relocating his e-commerce company to an industrial park in Tianjin where both big names in the Internet industry and startups are flourishing.

The Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area's Service Outsourcing Industry Park is the first of its kind in the city to focus on the electronic information industry.

The park provides office space and other infrastructure to 80 companies engaged in cloud computing, the Internet of Things and big data.

Among them will be Fang's company, called E-furniture, which provides interior furnishings.

Born in the 1960s, he has been doing business in Beijing for many years. Three years ago, he started doing e-commerce.

 Tianjin's TEDA home to IT giants and startups

Founded in 2009, the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin plays an important role in the development area's innovation, officials say.

Fang had ups and downs in the business. At his lowest moment, Tianjin Economic - Technological Development Area, also known as TEDA, brought an opportunity to him. He finally decided to leave Beijing and move his entire company to TEDA last year.

"Including financial assistance, the park has offered all kinds of support. I was moved," said Fang.

However, instead of moving into an office building, he settled in a "coffee center" in TEDA.

It is where registered entrepreneurs can use a large loft and everything in it for free, including coffee.

Different from traditional business, the Internet sector does not need factories and large equipment. Many entrepreneurs like Fang use the coffee center as a temporary office.

Fang has a bold expansion plan for 2014 and will rent his own office provided by TEDA.

Tianjin's TEDA home to IT giants and startups

Wei Kai, senior project director at the Academy of Telecommunication Research at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said that small and mid-sized enterprises usually need to cooperate with others, so the company needs to be in a big industrial cluster with cooperating partners and funding channels.

In addition to the Park, TEDA has built six Internet industrial clusters with a total of 150 enterprises.

Together they generate revenues of 5.1 billion yuan ($840 million) and have over 5,000 employees, according to a statement from the local government.

According to ministry statistics, the total value of information technology in China will hit 2.2 trillion yuan by the end of 2013. Internet, cloud computing technology and e-commerce are major contributors.

"Tianjin is working on bio-pharmaceuticals, high-end manufacturing and smart city projects. They will trigger the need for information technology and business opportunities for local companies," said Lei Tao, vice-president of Skycloud Technology Co.

Wei noted that the city is home to the manufacturing bases of multinational corporations like Samsung Group that need data and information analysis.

"Tianjin, especially TEDA, has a strong foundation of manufacturing, making it an ideal market for the domestic information technology industry," said Wei.

As a major overseas manufacturer, Samsung has set up more than 10 companies producing mobile phones, televisions, mini LCD screens and other products.

Information management for logistics will also have a big market in the port city, Wei said.

In addition to a booming market, TEDA appeals to entrepreneurs with an opportunity to get free services and lower operating costs, said Zhou Peiyong, general manager of Tianjin Teamsun Software Technology Co, adding that the project is open to enterprises that are registered and submit their applications, and the average quota every year is 50.

Looking forward, TEDA is also working on more policies to attract talent from around the world. The government is awarding up to 5 million yuan to the top talent that settle in the area.

The future of TEDA is based on the rapid development of new technologies and its large talent pool, said Gao Xinmin, vice-president of the Internet Society of China.

Tianjin is among the nation's leading cities in programs such as cloud computing and the smart city.

Next year, arriving at its 30th year, the development area is set to attract more opportunities and make more progress in these fields, local officials say.

Contact the writers through gaoyuan@chinadaily.com.cn and li.xiang@chinadaily.com.cn.

(China Daily 12/31/2013 page15)

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