Pathfind­ers trans­form lives but state has key role

China Daily (Canada) - - HONG KONG - By ZHOU MO in Shen­zhen sally@chi­nadai­

As en­tre­pre­neur­ial en­thu­si­asm rises across the main­land, am­bi­tious in­no­va­tors seek to com­bine their ex­per­tise with the char­ac­ter­is­tics and de­mand of their home cities in or­der to stand out in the crowd.

Shen­zhen, cited as one of the most open and in­no­va­tive cities on the main­land, is fer­tile ground for such tai­lor-made en­trepreneur­ship, go­ing by the num­ber of star­tups founded on tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions that have taken root.

Among th­ese trail­blaz­ers is Shen­zhen Orbbec Co Ltd. Founded two years ago by Huang Yuan­hao, the com­pany spe­cial­izes in 3-D sens­ing and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence — tech­nolo­gies that en­able ma­chines to look at and per­ceive the world like hu­mans.

With a 3-D sen­sor, ro­bots, for ex­am­ple, would be able to iden­tify ob­sta­cles ly­ing a few me­ters away and avoid them. On­line fit­ting will be­come vi­able, as a 3-D sen­sorin­stalled de­vice will be able to ob­tain spe­cific data on a shop­per’s mea­sure­ments and match suit­able clothes for them.

“With a sound in­dus­try chain, I can get all I need quickly and eas­ily in Shen­zhen,” said Huang, ex­plain­ing why the 36-year-old chose Shen­zhen as the base for his busi­ness. “Govern­ment sup­port is also com­pre­hen­sive and con­sid­er­ate (in this city).”

Since launch­ing mass pro­duc­tion of its 3-D sen­sor three months ago, Orbbec has al­ready re­ceived or­ders worth of more than 100 mil­lion yuan ($15.3 mil­lion), Huang said.

But 3-D sens­ing is only one of the high-tech fields Shen­zhen en­trepreneurs are ex­plor­ing. Many other ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies and prod­ucts are also emerg­ing in the city, like DJI Tech­nol­ogy Co’s drones, Roy­ole Corp’s full-color flex­i­ble dis­play of 0.01 mil­lime­ter with which mo­bile phones can be made ex­tremely thin and rolled into a pen shape, and Kuang-Chi Sci­ence Ltd’s Martin Jet­pack, which is able to fly with a pas­sen­ger.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial sta­tis­tics, the city had 6,753 high-tech firms as of July 2015, mak­ing up more than half of those in all of Guang­dong. Among them, 4,742 are of na­tional level.

In­vest­ment in re­search and de­vel­op­ment ac­counted for 4.02 per­cent of Shen­zhen’s to­tal GDP (gross do­mes­tic prod­uct) in 2014, a higher ra­tio than even most coun­tries world­wide, and the city aims to fur­ther raise its share to 4.25 per­cent by 2020.

Fol­low­ing Premier Li Ke­qiang’s 2014 call to the peo­ple to cre­ate new things and start self-owned busi­nesses, in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship have be­come the lead­ing buzz­words on the main­land.

The e nv i r o n m e n t


De­ter­mined to solve the long­stand­ing dif­fi­culty for main­land pa­tients in get­ting med­i­cal treat­ment in big cities, 37-year-old med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner Zhang Ji de­cided to once again take the en­tre­pre­neur­ial route de­spite fail­ing in his first ven­ture.

“It was a re­ally tough process,” re­called Zhang, now pres­i­dent of Shen­zhen PRO-HIFU Med­i­cal Tech Co Ltd (PRO-HIFU), a high-tech en­ter­prise spe­cial­iz­ing in de­vel­op­ing large ul­tra­sonic med­i­cal equip­ment.

“My com­pany share was di­luted again and again as the num­ber of in­vestors grew. I was not able to pay salaries to my em­ploy­ees. I sold all my apart­ments, save just one for liv­ing in my­self.”

Zhang re­turned to for­eign firms, where he had worked for years, to make fi­nan­cial prepa­ra­tions for his se­cond foray into en­trepreneur­ship.

PRO-HIFU has now de­vel­oped an ul­tra­sonic non-in­va­sive hys­teromy­oma treat­ment sys­tem, which is able to ef­fec­tively treat the dis­ease, which in­volves uter­ine tu­mors, ef­fec­tively while re­duc­ing pa­tients’ pain or, in Zhang’s words, en­abling them to “live a life of dig­nity.”

“Our tech­nol­ogy is two or three years ahead of in­ter­na­tional lev­els,” Zhang claimed. “We hope our coun­try could be­come the stan­dard maker in this field.”

Zhang said in­dus­try-level com­pe­ti­tion be­tween two coun­tries is not lim­ited to that be­tween mar­ket play­ers, but also that be­tween their in­dus­try chains, which not only in­cludes re­search and de­vel­op­ment, pro­duc­tion and sales, but also govern­ment su­per­vi­sion.

“How ef­fec­tive and con­trol­lable govern­ment su­per­vi­sion is plays an es­sen­tial role in de­cid­ing how in­dus­try will de­velop,” said the Shen­zhen­based en­tre­pre­neur.

Get­ting med­i­cal treat­ment

at hospi­tals in big cities has long been a prob­lem for pa­tients. Due to the lack of prom­i­nent doc­tors and un­der­de­vel­oped hos­pi­tal ser­vices in towns and vil­lages, many tend to come to big cities to seek med­i­cal treat­ment, in­creas­ing pres­sure on hos­pi­tal fa­cil­i­ties. High med­i­cal costs are also a con­cern.

Zhang said his pri­mary ob­jec­tive is to see his ul­tra­sonic non-in­va­sive treat­ment prod­uct be­come high-end med­i­cal equip­ment that all hospi­tals can af­ford and make high-tech treat­ment avail­able to all hys­teromy­oma pa­tients.

Shen­zhen has been tak­ing mea­sures to at­tract more en­trepreneurs by ex­pand­ing both the scale and value of sub­si­dies ear­marked for them.

In­di­vid­ual en­trepreneurs, in­clud­ing re­turnees, grad­u­ates, univer­sity and col­lege stu­dents, veter­ans, un­em­ployed and dis­abled peo­ple, can ap­ply for se­cured loans of up to 200,000 yuan ($30,689) per per­son, and re­ceive pref­er­en­tial of­fice rental and so­cial se­cu­rity terms.

Mean­while, on the other side of the bor­der, Hong Kong is also step­ping up ef­forts to pro­mote in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship.

Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Le­ung Chun-ying said in his 2016 Pol­icy Ad­dress that the SAR govern­ment will set aside HK$2 bil­lion to set up an In­no­va­tion and Tech­nol­ogy Ven­ture Fund for coin­vest­ing with pri­vate ven­ture cap­i­tal funds on a match­ing ba­sis.

“In­no­va­tion and tech­no­log­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties are key in­di­ca­tors of the level of so­cial and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment,” Le­ung said in his Jan 13 ad­dress. “In­no­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy not only cre­ate new mo­men­tum for eco­nomic growth, they also pro­vide us with a more con­ve­nient, com­fort­able and se­cure way of liv­ing.”

The SAR will also build a sci­ence park near the Shen­zhen-Hong Kong bor­der to fa­cil­i­tate lo­cal star­tups’ ac­cess to the main­land mar­ket.

PRO-HIFU has de­vel­oped an ul­tra­sonic non-in­va­sive hys­teromy­oma treat­ment sys­tem, which is able to ef­fec­tively treat uter­ine tu­mors while re­duc­ing pa­tients’ pain or en­abling them to “live a life of dig­nity.”

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