Start-ups energized by incentives in business parks
Starr Jia believes China’s high-tech parks are playing a vital role in fostering the businesses of the future.
The 35-year-old is technology manager of Qingdao 3E3D Tech Co, a 3D printing company based in Lanebest Innovation Park, part of the Qingdao National High-tech Industrial Development Zone.
The business, which employs 13 and works for the automotive and medical sectors, received two years’ free rent, grant assistance and a lowenergy vehicle for its use when it launched.
“It was really crucial to us starting a business here. It could have been very difficult otherwise because office rents alone are very expensive in downtown Qingdao,” he said.
Aaron He said having some of China’s best graduates at the doorstep is a key advantage of being in the Xi’an High-Tech Industries Development Zone.
The 37-year-old is vice-president of Novastar, a company that makes software for stateof-the-art giant LED screens.
The company, which is based in Xi’an Software Park within the zone, was founded in 2009 by 11 graduates from Xidian University, of which he was one, as was Chief Executive Officer Victor Yuan, 36.
Many of the company’s 300 employees are graduates of the universities that act as vital feeders of top talent to companies in the zone.
“We need to have good engineers and techies to maintain our advantage over competitors,” he said.
“Now that we are actually working in collaboration with companies around the world, we have to have staff with the level of skills equivalent to them in order for this to work.”
Zhang Xiaohui is chief executive officer of Shiwen Software, also based in the Xi’an Software Park.
The company’s software helps detect where oil can be found and its clients include China National Petroleum Company, whose Changqing oilfield is in Xi’an; and Yanchang, the local state-owned oil company. Shaanxi, of which Xi’an is the capital, is China’s leading oil and gas producing province.
The 51-year-old said the park has the atmosphere of a university campus for young professionals. “We even have dating social events since so many of the engineers in the park are male and don’t always get a chance to meet women in the workplace. We draft in female staff who work in other functions on the zone.”
David Lee, 39, is general manager of Luyu Power Co, another Qingdao National High-tech Industrial Development Zone company.
It makes devices that enables mobile phone users to charge their devices wirelessly at airports and in other public areas.
The start-up, which employs 12, received significant funding as well as free accommodation to start the business.
“I would say the major advantage is to be in an environment where there are other start-up companies that can encourage each other. It is a very creative atmosphere.”
Novastar, whose technology is used at the famous Sky Screen in Qin Han Tang Square, a shopping mall in Xi’an, as well as by Christie, the world-leading cinema projection company, has received vital legal support that has enabled it to submit 270 patent applications during its sevenyear history.
“They gave us lessons in setting up an internal system for making patent applications rather than just help with one or two patents,” added He.
Shiwen, which was founded in 2001, is set to list on China’s New Third Board, an over-thecounter market for smaller companies, this year.
It is fulfilling one of the core objectives of the parks by exporting its technology via sales to Russia, Malaysia and Kazakhstan.
“We have a team of seven or eight people and we are looking to develop our overseas market,” added Zhang.
I would say the major advantage is to be in an environment where there are other start-up companies that can encourage each other.”
Xie Chuanjiao, Lu Hongyan and Du Juan contributed to this story.
General manager of Luyu Power Co in Qingdao National High-tech Industrial Development Zone