Pudong cov­ets tech hub sta­tus

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By YU RAN in Shang­hai yu­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn Wang Ying in Shang­hai con­trib­uted to this story.

Pudong, home to China’s Wall Street, is striv­ing to be­come a global hub of sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion by at­tract­ing tal­ented per­son­nel as it cel­e­brates its first quar­ter-cen­tury.

The dis­trict opened up to for­eign in­vest­ment in 1990. It sub­se­quently launched China’s first stock ex­change — in its fi­nan­cial heart­land of Lu­ji­azui — and wel­comed a batch of for­eign fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions led by Ja­pan’s Fuji Bank.

It later merged with Nan­hui dis­trict and, 18 months ago, saw the open­ing of the re­cently ex­panded China (Shang­hai) Pi­lot Free Trade Zone, a test bed for fi­nan­cial and other re­forms to be po­ten­tially repli­cated na­tion­wide.

“We are keen to lead in­no­va­tion and ex­pand the re­forms of the free trade zone to the whole dis­trict by gath­er­ing re­search in­sti­tu­tions, in­no­va­tors and global cre­ative re­sources,” said Sun Ji­wei, gover­nor of Pudong dis­trict.

On Mon­day, the State Coun­cil, China’s cabi­net, an­nounced a se­ries of mea­sures to fur­ther re­form and open up the Shang­hai FTZ as well as three sim­i­lar zones in other parts of the coun­try.

The Shang­hai FTZ was ex­panded from 28 square kilo­me­ters to 120.72 sq km and tasked with sup­port­ing na­tional strate­gies such as the devel­op­ment of the Yangtze River eco­nomic zone, the ex­plo­ration of new modes of re­gional eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion, and the cre­ation of a more ef­fi­cient busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment un­der the rule of law, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment is­sued along with the plan.

“We will at­tract more tal­ented in­ter­na­tional work­ers in high-tech in­dus­tries and trans­form the dis­trict into an area to the rest of the world,” said Chen Wei­hua.

“Aware­ness of the free trade zone and in­deed Shang­hai in the United States is now con­sid­er­ably larger than I would have ex­pected,” he added.

“I’ve no­ticed that more Amer­i­can busi­ness­men are in­ter­ested in the trade zone and this should lead to more in­vest­ment,” said Chen, who is based in Wash­ing­ton.

Pudong has al­ready be­come a hotspot for for­eign in­vestors. The suc­cess rate of for­eign in­vest­ment in Pudong is 68.3 per­cent, far higher than the na­tional av­er­age of 30 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment fig­ures.

The Shang­hai Dis­ney Re­sort, which is ex­pected to open in Pudong early next year, has also con­nected lo­cal en­ter­prises with for­eign busi­ness part­ners.

Two Chi­nese com­pa­nies have been named au­tho­rized deal­ers for Walt Dis­ney Co. Their com­bined an­nual sales rev­enue is pro­jected to ex­ceed 100 mil­lion yuan ($16.1 mil­lion).

Mean­while, the dis­trict gov­ern­ment is pro­mot­ing in­no­va­tion and en­cour­ag­ing more lo­cal com­pa­nies to ex­per­i­ment with ways of designing their prod­ucts and re­search­ing new ones.

“We of­fer equally con­ve­nient poli­cies and sub­si­dies for both lo­cal and for­eign com­pa­nies that try to add more science and tech­nol­ogy to their prod­ucts in cre­ative ways,” said Kong Lingyi, chief of the hitech in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion di­vi­sion at the dis­trict’s Science & Tech­nol­ogy Com­mis­sion.

Some for­eign firms that are head­quar­tered in Pudong have al­ready changed their busi­ness strate­gies to de­sign and man­u­fac­ture goods in China to ex­port them over­seas.

Honey­well Vice-Chair­man Roger Fradin said the com­pany moved its Asia-Pa­cific head­quar­ters to Pudong in 2003 to re­flect the im­por­tance of the Chi­nese mar­ket.

One year later, the US man­u­fac­turer of air­craft parts and elec­tronic equip­ment es­tab­lished its global re­search and devel­op­ment cen­ter there.

Shang­hai was cho­sen be­cause of its gen­er­ous pool of ex­pats, pres­ti­gious uni­ver­si­ties and tal­ented tech­nol­o­gyre­lated per­son­nel, he said.

Ear­lier this year, the group was rec­og­nized by the dis­trict gov­ern­ment for hav­ing one of the top re­gional head­quar­ters among all multi­na­tion­als in China.

“(We) also re­ceived ter­rific in­cen­tives and sup­port to build the R&D cen­ter,” Fradin added.

Apart from its clus­ter of re­gional head­quar­ters, Pudong aims to be­come a lead­ing in­cu­ba­tor of SMEs.

“Pudong used to rely for its devel­op­ment on in­flow­ing for­eign or joint cap­i­tal, but the fo­cus from this year is on the growth of pri­vate en­ter­prise,” said Sun. “We want to make Pudong the No 1 player in China in this re­spect.”

As of last year the dis­trict had 22 high-tech busi­ness in­cu­ba­tors in­clud­ing 14 citylevel ones. They as­sisted over 400 en­ter­prises.

De­tailed rules were laid out that year to level up the ser­vice func­tion and fi­nanc­ing abil­i­ties of busi­ness in­cu­ba­tors to help small en­ter­prises weed out prob­lems that could stop them get­ting off the ground.

“Those for­mer SMEs have now be­come key play­ers bring­ing in­no­va­tion into the dis­trict,” said Shen Xiaom­ing, the Party sec­re­tary for Pudong.

More for­eign com­pa­nies will be en­cour­aged to set up R&D cen­ters in the dis­trict with at­trac­tive sub­si­dies, he added.

dis­trict

GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

can boast a sky­line to ri­val that of Pudong's.

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