China urged to tap Canada’s tal­ent

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG RU in Beijing wan­gru@chi­nadaily.com.cn

For most Chi­nese peo­ple, Canada is the coun­try with abun­dant nat­u­ral re­sources for trad­ing, a clean en­vi­ron­ment for liv­ing, and an ideal des­ti­na­tion for im­mi­gra­tion.

For Daniel Cheng, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Canada China Business Coun­cil’s (CCBC) of­fice in China, there is an un­ex­plored gold mine be­tween the two coun­tries.

“Canada has a strong tra­di­tion of in­no­va­tion and a vi­brant R&D en­vi­ron­ment, which is rec­og­nized by the world but lit­tle-known in China,” said Cheng.

In an in­ter­view in his of­fice, lo­cated in Beijing’s cen­tral business dis­trict, Cheng talked about the in­no­va­tion power of Canada and ex­pressed his will­ing­ness to help China’s in­vestors tap Canada’s in­no­va­tion power.

“Cin­e­mas with IMAX screens are get­ting very popular in China, but how many Chi­nese know the fact that IMAX was cre­ated by a Cana­dian company?” Cheng asked.

“There are many fa­mous Cana­dian in­no­va­tion and prod­ucts that haven’t en­tered into the Chi­nese mar­ket but are well known in the world,” said Cheng.

As an ex­am­ple, Cheng cited “the very re­li­able and ef­fi­cient’’ small planes also known as the “Fly­ing pickup truck”. He said the planes are made by a Cana­dian air­craft man­u­fac­turer Vik­ing Air Ltd and are highly suited for China’s fast-grow­ing civil air­craft mar­ket, par­tic­u­larly in rugged ar­eas with few air­ports.

For Cheng, Canada is much like a shop­per’s par­adise, con­tin­u­ously pro­duc­ing new in­ven­tions for the US and Euro­pean mar­kets.

“Canada’s spe­cialty on in­no­va­tion con­cen­trates on the early phase of R&D, in­clud­ing cre­at­ing ideas and mak­ing pro­to­types, but not on com­mer­cial­iza­tion and mar­ket­ing,” said Cheng. “It is a re­sult of Canada’s nat­u­ral ad­van­tage be­ing ad­ja­cent to the US mar­ket where it has de­vel­oped in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion and strong global brand­ing power.”

Be­fore work­ing for CCBC, Cheng man­aged his own med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy company in Mon­treal, where some world-lead­ing com­pa­nies, like Bom­bardier, the trans­porta­tion in­no­va­tion and man­u­fac­ture gi­ant, are based.

“Canada has an ideal R&D en­vi­ron­ment, from its in­no­va­tion-driven ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, to the gov­ern­ment pol­icy-mak­ing,” said Cheng.

In Canada, the Sci­en­tific Re­search and Ex­per­i­men­tal De­vel­op­ment Tax In­cen­tive Pro­gram ex­empt about 4 bil­lion Cana­dian dol­lars from taxes, out of the in­no­va­tion in­vest­ments from more than 18,000 do­mes­tic tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies.

“In fact, most of Canada’s in­no­va­tions are born from medium and small com­pa­nies that tend to sell their patents or shares, trans­fer­ring tech­nol­ogy to big com­pa­nies,’’ said Cheng.

In 1874, Thomas Edi­son bought the patent for the in­can­des­cent light bulb from two Cana­dian in­ven­tors, Henry Wood­ward and Mathew Evans, and then de­vel­oped the in­ven­tion, which even­tu­ally changed the world.

“It was a clas­sic ex­am­ple, but now has be­come Canada’s role in the di­vi­sion of global in­dus­try,” said Cheng.

He pointed out that Chi­nese com­pa­nies should work with Cana­dian com­pa­nies to in­no­vate for the Chi­nese mar­ket.

“China is the world fac­tory and also be­com­ing one of the largest con­sumer mar­kets, but very few world­class brands and popular prod­ucts are de­signed for Chi­nese con­sumers,” said Cheng.

“There is a huge po­ten­tial for Cana­dian R&D com­pa­nies to tar­get the Chi­nese mar­ket and in­no­vate for China,” Cheng added. “I also strongly rec­om­mend Chi­nese in­vestors and com­pa­nies ex­plore the in­no­va­tion re­sources in Canada.”

Cheng be­lieves that agri­cul­tural and clean en­ergy tech­nolo­gies are now two hot fields for co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries.

Daniel Cheng, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of CCBC

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