Zhongguancun Science Park, a New Landmark of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Translated by Wang Huihui Edited by Mark Zuiderveld Photos courtesy of the Beijing Haidian Investment Promotion Bureau
Zhongguancun Science Park plays a leading role in development, providing guidance and reference for other areas, and gradually growing into a new landmark of innovation and entrepreneurship with global influence.
Speaking of Zhongguancun Science Park, many people think it refers to Zhongguancun Street, Zhichun Road, Xueyuan Road and their surrounding areas. In fact, today’s Zhongguancun Science Park has covered the entire Haidian District, the junction of Changping District, the Center of Innovative District adjacent to Changping District, and the “Three Hills and Five Gardens” historical and cultural attractions. Zhongguancun Science Park has attracted many strategic emerging industries and their application projects, such as aerospace, information network, bioscience, new material, new energy, energy conservation, environmental protection, and urban operation and management, since the official launch of the first group of projects in September 2010. Zhongguancun Science Park plays a leading role in development, providing guidance and reference for other areas, and gradually growing into a new landmark of innovation and entrepreneurship with global influence.
Zhongguancun Street is the main axis of Zhongguancun Science Park. In October 1980, Chen Chunxian and six other researchers of the Chinese Academy of Sciences established China’s first private high-tech enterprise, the Advanced Development Technical Service Department for Beijing Institute of Plasma, on Zhongguancun Street. Inspired by Massachusetts Route 128 and Silicon Valley, the service department attracts more people and private high-tech enterprises to Zhongguancun, including Stone, Jinghai and Kehai. Zhongguancun Electronics Avenue has taken shape since then, ranging from Baishiqiao in the south to the North Fourth Ring Road in the north. After more than 20 years of development, the area of Zhongguancun IT shopping malls reached over 320,000 square metres in 2009, which involved about 8,000 business operators and 50,000 employees.
As the business area increased rapidly, the industrial transformation of the IT shopping
malls became imperative due to the lack of a differentiated development model and the rise of Jingdong and other e-commerce platforms. On July 23, 2009, the Haidian District People’s Government of Beijing Municipality issued the Announcement on Accelerating the Format Adjustment of Zhongguancun West Area to build Zhongguancun’s west area into a functional area with innovative elements, and confined the development of electronics stores, shopping malls and restaurants. On March 13, 2009, the State Council issued the Approval of Supporting Zhongguancun Science Park to Build National Self-dependent Innovation Demonstration Area (the Approval), making it clear that Zhongguancun Science Park aims to build into a national selfdependent innovation demonstration area and scientific and technological innovation centre with global influence.
The Approval means that Zhongguancun’s west area will gradually improve its commerce, do away with electronics stores, and accelerate gathering of high-end innovative elements. After Zhongguancun Street Development Plan was released in 2015, the Zhongguancun Street, also known as the advanced version of Zhongguancun Inno Way, appeared. The old electronics street will be transformed into a brand new innovation and entrepreneurship street in three to five years. The 7.2-kilometrelong street begins from Baishiqiao in the south, and ends in the west gate of Tsinghua University in the north. It includes Zhongguancun South Street, Zhongguancun Street, Zhongguancun North Street, as well as key functional areas and collaborative development areas along them. Six sub-districts of Zhongguancun’s core area and many well-known research institutes, such as the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Peking University and Tsinghua University, are also included.
With adjustment of commerce, Zhongguancun Street will further optimise its functions. According to the plan, the street will be divided into five functional areas, including Innovation Core Functional Area, Collaborative Innovation Functional Area, Professional Innovation Service Functional Area, Financial Innovation Functional Area and Characteristic Innovation Function Area. Tsinghua University west gate– Peking University east gate area, Zhongguancun central area (west area–east area), Haidian Huangzhuang, Sitong Bridge, Weigongcun and Capital Indoor Stadium will optimise their functions and improve their environment and facilities, to build a group of new format clusters integrating innovation, entrepreneurship, technology, finance and cultural creativity; make breakthroughs in land use; promote the extension of innovation and entrepreneurship functions; and improve the comprehensive innovation environment by the end of 2017.
Aside from commercial adjustment and functional optimisation, improving image is also Zhongguancun’s important task to build a global entrepreneurship highland. On August 13, 2016, the International Competition of Image Improvement Planning for Zhongguancun Street was held, officially initiating image improvement planning for Zhongguancun Street. The image improvement planning covers a wide range, including public space and landscape transformation, systems for intelligent traffic and parking, night lighting and integrated intelligent urban planning and design. It could also involve the joint image improvement planning for units along streets. The competition required the participants to complete their overall concept and scheme design according to the “Five Functional Sections and Six Key Nodes” and five aspects, namely public space landscape transformation, road traffic, architectural style, advertisement and street furniture, and night lighting. In
the future, Zhongguancun Street will take on a new look, and become an international scientific and technological innovation street suitable for both life and work.
Zhongguancun Inno Way
A few years ago, the building in the alley was known as China Haidian Book City. Now the alley has become Zhongguancun Inno Way, one of Zhongguancun’s most famous streets.
Many legendary stories took place on this street, less than 200 metres, and the “second- hand excavator” is one of them. It is said that one person led his team to start up business and chose to settle in the “Garage Cafe” on Zhongguancun Inno Way after several attempts in different projects. Finally, they sold second- hand excavators on the Internet, which ended up attracting investment.
It’s hard to tell whether the story is true or not, but such stories happen on Zhongguancun Inno Way every day. Zhongguancun Inno Way is China’s first innovation and entrepreneurship-themed street. In 2013, the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality began to promote the industrial upgrading of Haidian Book City and built a high-end entrepreneurship street. Since June 12, 2014 when Zhongguancun Inno Way officially opened to public, it has been committed to building a platform of the platform, improving innovation and entrepreneurship services, strengthening the two core functions (innovative investment and financing, and entrepreneurship demonstration) of the street, breaking space constraints, changing from organisation agglomeration to global resource agglomeration, and creating an innovative environment featuring industrial innovation and global innovation. By the end of December 2016, Zhongguancun Inno Way has attracted 1,581 incubation start-up teams, including over 194 overseas returnees and foreign teams. A total of 655 teams obtained financing with the total financing amount of 6.534 billion yuan. Business operators of the Zhongguancun Inno Way have kept innovating business patterns and improving services, to create characteristic innovation and entrepreneurship services in the Internet Plus, intelligent manufacturing, bio-medicine and traditional industries, integrating investment and financing, media communication, tutor training, innovation display and industrial resource connection. At the same time, Zhongguancun Inno Way is expected to output innovation and entrepreneurship ideas, services and resources all over the country.
Improved innovation and entrepreneurship services have attracted a number of industry giants engaged in professional research and development, industrial chain resources, and original scientific and technological innovation, motivating a driving force of innovation and entrepreneurship towards a real economy. To take advantage of this, Zhongguancun Inno Way has cooperated with large enterprises to build an open innovation platform, give
play to the advantages of innovation and entrepreneurship service resources, combine with large enterprises’ industrial applications and technological advantages, and jointly promote the integrated development of innovation and entrepreneurship and real economy. In October 2016, Zhongguancun Inno Way and 17 well-known domestic and foreign enterprises, such as Haier Maker Labs, Intel (China) Corporation and KPMG Innovative Startup Centre, jointly established the Large Enterprise Open Innovation Alliance. The alliance held varied maker competitions and connected makers and industrial chain resources, providing a high-quality entrepreneurship support platform for entrepreneurs, sharing funds and technologies among large and small enterprises, maximising innovation and entrepreneurship powers, and further promoting innovation and entrepreneurship.
At the same time, Zhongguancun Inno Way continues to expand international cooperation network, and improve itself from local operation to the global innovation. By the end of February 2017, Zhongguancun Inno Way has conducted cooperation with over 20 institutions from over 10 countries, including the US, Israel, Finland and France. It has managed to attract global talent and high-tech projects through the establishment of branches and offices, cross-border incubation, global promotion, and global innovation programmes. International innovation resources attraction platform has been built based on advantages of involved organisations.
With improvement of commercial format and the introduction of entrepreneurial service agencies, Zhongguancun Inno Way has formed an innovation and entrepreneurship ecology with international influence. Presently, Zhongguancun Inno Way has attracted 45 outstanding domestic and foreign entrepreneurial service agencies to jointly improve innovation and entrepreneurship services. At the same time, it has continued to promote its ideas, services and resources on innovation and entrepreneurship across the country. Currently, more than 152 branches have been set up nationwide.
Zhongguancun I M Way
One obscure street is between the east gate of Tsinghua University and Chengfu Road. Once home to low-end industrial chain vendors, it is now China’s top street engaged in the intelligent manufacturing industry after less than a year’s renovation. The street is Zhongguancun I M (“intelligent manufacturing”) Way which makes an annual value of 8 million yuan per metre, helping the intelligent manufacturing industry of Zhongguancun and the whole city increase output value by 10 billion yuan.
Different from Zhongguancun Street and Zhongguancun Inno Way, Zhongguancun I M Way features full-chain hardware services and incubation, and helps entrepreneurs to start their businesses. Compared with Internet start-up projects, hardware start-up projects are more difficult, because entrepreneurs need to look for manufacturers, pay high costs, and spend several months doing extra work.
In view of characteristics of hardware business, Zhongguancun I M Way has formed a unique service chain different from that of general industrial parks. It strives to meet the needs of enterprises from seven aspects, namely agile manufacturing, industrial design, technical program research and development, testing and certification, trial production, collaborative services and marketing promotion, hence its unique “Big Dipper” service chain.
Zhongguancun I M Way was open to the public in July 2016. Six months later, over 20 enterprises settled there, including G-wearables and Trustworthy, involving the Internet of Things, sensors, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, 3D printing, robots and other intelligent manufacturing fields. The output value of these enterprises has reached over 3 billion yuan.
Zhongguancun I M Way is also an important part of Haidian’s internationalisation, attracting the Plug and Play tech Center, Microsoft, and ARM Accelerator co-established by top chip manufacturer ARM and domestic system software company Thunder Software Technology Co., and aiming to build a highquality international block. In the future, Zhongguancun I M Way will strive to achieve functional positioning in four aspects: intelligent manufacturing innovation and display centre, standard system formulation centre, international technical innovation and exchange centre, and a scientific and technological achievement and promotion centre with global competitiveness. In this way, it will form differentiated positioning compared with the Zhongguancun Inno Way, optimising Haidian’s industry structure, enhancing industry flexibility, and promoting Beijing’s industry restructuring.
Dongsheng Town once was home to over 40 old industrial enterprises, such as wire drawing plant, boiler plant and woolen mill. It has become home to the Northern Territory (also known as Zhongguancun Dongsheng Science Park) Phase I with 15 garden-style and low-density detached
buildings, constituting a domestic first-class ecotype park integrating a headquarters base, hightech industry research and development base, accelerator and business incubator base, hightech achievement display and related supporting services. This place was once filled with garbage piles and fish ponds a few years ago. The Northern Territory is Beijing’s first science park built by the town, with ownership and income rights collectively owned by its villagers. Such urban and rural joint transformation pattern of developing science and technology service economy without renting houses is called the “Dongsheng Pattern.”
Dongsheng Town is located on the rural– urban fringe between Haidian, Chaoyang and Changping districts with a poor environment. However, Dongsheng Town has advantages in talent and capital policies as it is within the core area of Zhongguancun National Demonstration Zone. In 2007, the original Dongsheng Township (now Dongsheng Town) began reform, shut down low-end township enterprises, transformed industrial districts into science parks, integrated the collective assets under its jurisdiction, and built the Northern Territory. In 2009, Dongsheng Bozhan Joint Stock Economic Cooperative was built, beginning to explore independent development, construction and management patterns of collective lands. In 2010, Dongsheng Bozhan Joint Stock Economic Cooperative completed asset quantification, divided its stocks into 5,000 shares. At the same time, the Northern Territory succeeded in attracting many enterprises. In 2012, it became the first township science park named after Zhongguancun.
Presently, the Northern Territory Project has begun its third phase of construction. Covering an area of 43 hectares, the Northern Territory Phase II was initiated in 2012, in hopes of providing 100,000 local jobs. Its buildings mainly serve as offices and research and development centres of high-tech enterprises, large commercial zones and residences. In August 2015, the construction of the Northern Territory Phase III officially kicked off, changing dense external population, heavy traffic, illegal housing, and various security risks in the Shuangquanbao area. Moreover, it has effectively reduced population density, built 106 hectares of landscape, cleared out low-end industries, constructed high-tech parks, and improved living conditions of villagers.
Civil-military Integration Industry Demonstration Zone
The civil-military integration industry is conducive to promoting technological innovation, optimising the industrial structure, and promoting economic and social development. However, civil-military integration has always been hit by many problems, such as military industry reform and similar development patterns of industrial parks.
In view of these problems, Zhongguancun Civil-military Integration Innovation Demonstration Zone provides solutions. Zhongguancun Core Area CivilMilitary Integration Industry Alliance was established in September 2014. Eight military industry groups headquartered in the area joined the alliance. The other four also cooperated with it after inspection. In 2015, as Zhongguancun Civil-military Integration Industry Park was initiated in Haidian District, the Programme for Zhongguancun Civil-military Integration Innovation Demonstration Zone (the Programme) was also released on the same day. According to the Programme, the innovation demonstration zone will adopt an innovative civil-military integration, recruit people to join the army, and speed up the transfer of military technology for civilian use. After two to three years of construction, the civil-military integration pattern consisting of Beijing Institute of Technology Civil-military Integration Innovation Park, Zhongguancun Civil-military Integration Industry Park, Yuquan Huigu Information Security Industry Park will take shape and attract enterprises.
The Beijing Institute of Technology CivilMilitary Integration Innovation Park mainly serves as an incubation base of the civil-military integration achievements; Zhongguancun CivilMilitary Integration Industry Park mainly serves the implementation and connection of major civil-military integration projects; Yuquan Huigu Information Security Industry Park mainly serves as an incubation base of civil-military integration projects in terms of network and information security. The Programme also proposed to explore a set of civil-military integration innovation systems and two-way transformation patterns with characteristics of Zhongguancun. Through military and civil joint efforts, five platforms will be built, namely medium-, small- and micro-sized civil-military integration business innovation and entrepreneurship platform, the two-way military and civil technology transformation platform, the military and civil scientific and technological innovation strategic cooperation platform, the civil-military display platform, and the civil-military integration comprehensive service and security platform. In this way, the Programme will further
improve the scientific and technological innovation service system for civil-military integration; create the civil-military integration industrial clusters integrating intelligent manufacturing, integrated circuit design, network and information security, space information service and advanced material; build a civil-military integration innovation demonstration zone.
The civil-military integration pattern provides reference for military and civilian joint development. Private enterprises are to act as both product suppliers and mature technology suppliers, paying attention to cutting-edge weapons and equipment. Military industry enterprises should optimise their institutions, comply with the requirements of information warfare, establish a modern enterprise system, and achieve business specialisation. The civilmilitary integration industry park should have a clear positioning, achieve differentiated development, and form core industries. By the end of February 2017, Zhongguancun Civil-military Integration Industry Alliance has implemented more than 200 projects for both military and civil use and signed strategic cooperation agreements with more than 30 cities; the industry parks have built over 30 public service project platforms, involving finance, science and society.
The Center of Innovative District
The Center of Innovative District in the north of Haidian has been included in the Zhongguancun Science Park during the 13th Five-year Plan (2016–2020), ushering in new development opportunities. As the strategic hinterland of Zhongguancun Science Park, the research and development base of the original innovation source, and the most professional science park cluster, the Center of Innovative District will support the development of Zhongguancun Science City with the overall construction of rail transit, public rental housing, self-occupied commercial residential buildings and other services.
As subway Line 16 has been put into operation since the end of 2016, Zhongguancun No.1 is about to put into use, and with regional residential and business facilities have been improved, the Center of Innovative District will attract a large number of key projects and innovation resources. On December 27, 2016, Haidian District held a press conference to encourage innovative enterprises to settle in the Center of Innovative District by introducing the overall industry and future development trend of the Center of Innovative District. Beijing Wdwkbio, Huami Inc., Irootech and Herosail have signed with Zhongguancun Cuihu Science Park, Zhongguancun Software Park and the Cloud Centre for cooperation.
Nearly 2,000 domestic and foreign scientific and technological innovation enterprises, such as Huawei, Lenovo, Baidu, Tencent, IBM and Oracle, have settled in the Center of Innovative District. The space information industry, integrated circuit industry, bio- engineering and new pharmaceutical industry, culture and technology integration industry, new material and new energy and energy saving and environmental protection industry, Internet industry and cloud computing industry account for 95 percent, forming a sophisticated industrial layout. The annual income of regional enterprises exceeds 300 billion yuan, maintaining a rapid growth rate over 15 percent and gradually becoming a new growth pole driven by innovation. In the future, the Center of Innovative District will take ecological science and technology as the core, implement scientific development strategy, and build characteristic industrial clusters.
According to the principles of refinement and quantification, as well as the Implementation Programme for Beijing on Strengthening the Key Tasks of National Scientific and Technological Innovation Centre (2017-2020), Zhongguancun Science City will build itself into an advanced version of Zhongguancun National Demonstration Zone, further expanding and optimising its space, significantly enhancing its innovation ability and output, and improving environmental quality. With the aim of building an original innovation source and independent innovation base, Zhongguancun Science Park will play a more pivotal role in the process of building a national scientific and technological innovation centre in Beijing.
Zhongguancun Inno Way
Zhongguancun I M Way
Artistic rendering of the Zhongguancun Dongsheng Science Park Phase III
Zhongguancun Science Park