Bei­jing’s new role

Ef­forts speed up to make cap­i­tal a high-tech hub of in­no­va­tion

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By HU YONGQI huy­ongqi@chi­

China is ac­cel­er­at­ing ef­forts to make its cap­i­tal a na­tional high­tech in­no­va­tion hub, as a lead­ing ex­am­ple of the coun­try’s in­no­va­tion drive, by achiev­ing break­throughs in key tech­nolo­gies and eas­ing per­ma­nent res­i­dence pro­ce­dures for over­seas ex­perts.

The de­ci­sion was an­nounced on Sept 1 after an ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing of the State Coun­cil, which was presided over by Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang.

The meet­ing was a fol­low-up to the Guide­line for In­te­grated Devel­op­ment of the Bei­jing-Tian­jin-He­bei Clus­ter, re­leased in April 2015 to bal­ance re­gional devel­op­ment and ease Bei­jing’s prob­lems such as air pol­lu­tion and traf­fic con­ges­tion.

The guide­line said Bei­jing, as a na­tional cen­ter for sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion, should up­grade its in­dus­tries from lowend to medium- and high-end.

The meet­ing’s pro­mo­tional ef­forts fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing fun­da­men­tal re­search fron­tiers in Bei­jing by tak­ing ad­van­tage of its large num­ber of uni­ver­si­ties and other higher ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tutes, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased after the meet­ing.

The meet­ing also called on the cap­i­tal to speed up break­throughs in key tech­nol­ogy and cul­ti­vate an in­no­va­tive sys­tem for re­search and devel­op­ment with in­ter­na­tional com­pet­i­tive­ness in pri­or­ity sec­tors such as smart man­u­fac­tur­ing, bi­o­log­i­cal medicine, clean en­ergy and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.

The in­no­va­tion drive will also in­clude the neigh­bor­ing re­gions of Tian­jin mu­nic­i­pal­ity and He­bei prov­ince to sup­port the city clus­ter’s eco­nomic growth, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

Build­ing a na­tional cen­ter for sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion will help make full use of the rich re­search and aca­demic re­sources in the clus­ter, said Lian Yum­ing, pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute for Ur­ban Devel­op­ment in Bei­jing. In this process, en­ter­prises should be at the cen­ter of in­no­va­tion with the sup­port of uni­ver­si­ties and re­search in­sti­tutes to cater to mar­ket de­mand, Lian added. The cen­tral gov­ern­ment also an­nounced pro­mot­ing pi­lot prac­tices aimed at eas­ing green card rules to at­tract over­seas tal­ent in Bei­jing’s Zhong­guan­cun area to other re­gions, the state­ment added.

The Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity an­nounced in Jan­uary a pi­lot pol­icy for Bei­jing, es­pe­cially for the high-tech hub Zhong­guan­cun that cov­ers 488 square km and has more than 20,000 com­pa­nies, to fa­cil­i­tate for­eign­ers en­ter­ing and stay­ing in the cap­i­tal.

On March 1, the pol­icy, con­sist­ing of 20 new mea­sures, took ef­fect to tar­get spe­cific groups of for­eign­ers: high-end pro­fes­sion­als, over­seas Chi­nese who grad­u­ated from for­eign uni­ver­si­ties and hope to start busi­nesses in Bei­jing, for­eign stu­dents in the cap­i­tal and for­eign­ers who work for the city’s en­tre­pre­neur­ial star­tups.

The pol­icy marked the na­tion’s sec­ond pi­lot pro­gram, after the Shang­hai Tech­nol­ogy In­no­va­tion Cen­ter was granted 12 fa­vor­able poli­cies in July last year.

The move was an­tic­i­pated to at­tract more high-level over­seas ex­per­tise that could pro­vide a steady stream of for­eign tal­ent for sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion in the cap­i­tal.

The min­istry’s Bureau of Exit and En­try Ad­min­is­tra­tion said the pi­lot pol­icy would meet the de­mands of Bei­jing to build a na­tional cen­ter for sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion set by the guide­line, as well as help boost the devel­op­ment of Zhong­guan­cun.

Wang Huiyao, pres­i­dent of the Cen­ter for China and Glob­al­iza­tion, said in a pre­vi­ous in­ter­view that Bei­jing’s pi­lot pol­icy would prob­a­bly be adopted in other high­tech zones or free-trade zones such as in Tian­jin.

Wang said over­seas Chi­nese with a doc­toral de­gree re­ceived in other coun­tries will be given per­ma­nent res­i­dency, no mat­ter how long they stay in the cap­i­tal. For­eign­ers who have worked for com­pa­nies in Zhong­guan­cun for four years, with at least a six-month stay each year, will be given the per­mit as well.

Wang said the pol­icy was of real ben­e­fit to over­seas Chi­nese and high-end for­eign tal­ent as it low­ered the thresh­old.

Pre­vi­ously the visa ap­pli­ca­tion process was a headache for in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence or­ga­niz­ers. Now, vis­i­tors from some coun­tries are al­lowed a 144-hour visa-free stay in Bei­jing, al­low­ing more than enough time to at­tend con­fer­ences or travel, Wang added.


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