Li calls on en­trepreneurs and in­no­va­tors to drive growth

This year, the Chi­nese premier has made a point of vis­it­ing star­tups and small busi­nesses as he plans the na­tion’s path to the fu­ture. Hu Yongqi re­ports.

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - Im­prov­ing peo­ple’s liveli­hoods:

On April 25, a large crowd scram­bled into an open court­yard and waited breath­lessly to wit­ness a bad­minton ex­hi­bi­tion be­tween Premier Li Ke­qiang and the Robom­intoner, a rec­tan­gu­lar plat­form equipped with op­ti­cal lenses, spher­i­cal wheels and two bad­minton rack­ets. It is the first in­tel­li­gent ma­chine in the world to play the game.

While some ob­servers at the event in Chengdu, the cap­i­tal of Sichuan prov­ince in Southwest China, mar­veled at the robot’s abil­i­ties, many more were busy film­ing the con­test on their cell­phones.

The robot re­turned the premier’s first serve per­fectly, but it failed to hit the se­cond shut­tle­cock over the net, which re­sulted in a tied game, ac­cord­ing to Huang Shan, gen­eral man­ager of Chengdu Cham­pion Robot Tech­nol­ogy Co, which man­u­fac­tures the Robom­intoner. Huang stood be­side Li to in­tro­duce the robot and its func­tions.

The bad­minton game quickly earned the robot enor­mous pop­u­lar­ity on­line and also spurred sales. So far, the com­pany has sold more than 120 of the robots, which cost 400,000 yuan ($57,000) each.

Praised by the premier for its core tech­nolo­gies, the Robom­intoner uses hu­man-com­puter in­ter­ac­tion and cloud con­trol to per­form in­tel­li­gent, au­ton­o­mous op­er­a­tions that al­low it to train ama­teur play­ers and pro­vide prac­tice for vet­er­ans.

The tech­nol­ogy for the robot was de­vel­oped by a group of pro­fes­sors and stu­dents at the Univer­sity of Elec­tronic Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy of China in Chengdu.

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Recog­ni­tion

The game was the high­light of the premier’s visit to a busi­ness startup cen­ter in Jin­grong, a town in what was then Pix­ian county. Ear­lier this month, the county, 30 kilo­me­ters from Chengdu’s down­town, was re­named Pidu district in recog­ni­tion of its grow­ing econ­omy and pop­u­la­tion.

In 2014, many build­ings in the cen­ter’s court­yard were left va­cant when Fox­conn Tech­nol­ogy Group, an elec­tron­ics com­pany from Tai­wan, moved its fac­tory to He­nan prov­ince, re­sult­ing in the de­par­ture of 30,000 work­ers.

Early last year, a de­ci­sion was made to con­vert the res­i­den­tial com­plex into of­fices for star­tups, which can use the fa­cil­i­ties free-ofcharge for the first three years and are pro­vided with free util­i­ties.

To help the star­tups sur­vive the em­bry­onic stage, the district es­tab­lished a fund of 1.3 bil­lion yuan, and also ar­ranged for the com­pa­nies to use tech­nolo­gies de­vel­oped by re­searchers at 18 uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges near Jin­grong.

So far, more than 10,000 peo­ple from first-tier Chi­nese cities and over­seas have gath­ered in the small town and es­tab­lished more than 850 star­tups. Lo­cal of­fi­cials are de­lighted that the busi­nesses are reg­is­tered in their area be­cause the com­pa­nies will pay taxes to the lo­cal govern­ment when they even­tu­ally start mak­ing prof­its.

The premier likened the changes — con­vert­ing va­cant build­ings into en­ter­prise bases — to the way newe­con­omy com­pa­nies go public via re­verse merg­ers with com­pa­nies in tra­di­tional in­dus­tries.

New sec­tors, such as big data, are also thriv­ing in Jin­grong. Li was es­pe­cially in­ter­ested in two in­dexes, es­tab­lished by the Univer­sity of Elec­tronic Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy and the State In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter, that chart the de­vel­op­ment of new-econ­omy com­pa­nies and star­tups, when he vis­ited their of­fices ahead of the bad­minton game.

When the in­dexes’ chief an­a­lysts re­quested that the govern­ment share more in­for­ma­tion about the new in­dus­tries, Li said the in­dexes should be im­proved so they could act as ref­er­ence points and help the govern­ment to for­mu­late poli­cies and de­ci­sions.

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Demon­stra­tion ar­eas

In May, a month af­ter Li’s visit, Pix­ian be­came the first county in China to be listed as one of 17 in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship demon­stra­tion ar­eas, along with Haid­ian district in Bei­jing, and Yangpu in Shang­hai.

Li’s visit to Jin­grong un­der­scored his in­ter­est in in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship and the high pri­or­ity he gives them.

In­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship will aid the ex­plo­ration of new tech­nolo­gies and help to es­tab­lish new busi­nesses.

That will help the coun­try to up­grade its in­dus­trial struc­ture from low- to high-end, ac­cord­ing to Ma Baocheng, a pro­fes­sor of public man­age­ment at the Chi­nese Academy of Gov­er­nance.

More jobs will be cre­ated by th­ese new busi­nesses and tech­nolo­gies, which may help to pro­vide work for the record 12.5 mil­lion stu­dents who grad­u­ated from the na­tion’s col­leges and vo­ca­tional sec­ondary schools this year, he added.

High-tech en­ter­prises and star­tups have fea­tured reg­u­larly on the premier’s sched­ules dur­ing his vis­its to 10 prov­inces and au­ton­o­mous re­gions this year.

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Stran­gle­hold bro­ken

On Aug 23, Li vis­ited Lat­tice Power Co, a lead­ing man­u­fac­turer of LED chips in Nan­chang, the cap­i­tal of Jiangxi prov­ince. The com­pany broke the tech­no­log­i­cal stran­gle­hold of Ja­pan and the United States with patented tech­nolo­gies that im­print lu­mi­nes­cent ma­te­ri­als on sil­i­con chips, sav­ing en­ergy and money.

The com­pany’s orig­i­nal tech­nolo­gies, which won first prize at the 2015 Na­tional Tech­nol­ogy In­ven­tion Award, were the re­sult of 10 years of work by Jiang Fengyi, a pro­fes­sor of semi­con­duc­tor re­search at Nan­chang Univer­sity.

Clad in white dust-proof cov­er­alls, Li ex­am­ined the en­tire pro­duc­tion process in the com­pany’s work­shops, and en­cour­aged Jiang and his em­ploy­ees to es­tab­lish their own brand in the do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional mar­kets when they trans­form their tech­no­log­i­cal ex­per­tise into pro­duc­tiv­ity.

Look­ing at the wider pic­ture, Chen Fengy­ing, who re­searches the global econ­omy at the China In­sti­tute of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions in Bei­jing, said in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship will ben­e­fit the na­tional “Made in China 2025” strat­egy, which aims to pro­mote equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing and the ex­port of high-end equip­ment to ex­plore new mar­ket po­ten­tial in the weak­est global trad­ing en­vi­ron­ment for 30 years.

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Con­tact the writer at huy­ongqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

PHO­TOS BY WU ZHIYI / CHINA DAILY

Premier Li Ke­qiang vis­its a high-tech com­pany dur­ing a trip to Guang­dong prov­ince for an in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship work­shop.

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