Start-ups en­er­gized by in­cen­tives in busi­ness parks

China Daily (Canada) - - ANALYSIS - By AN­DREW MOODY an­drew­moody@chi­

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

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