Exploring new paths for innovation and further development
Xi’an Hi-tech Industries Development Zone is making itself a pilot ground for innovation in western China.
“The primary goal for the hightech zone is to become an innovative ground for doing business with the countries along the Belt and Road,” said Jiang Renguo, chief of the bureau of development, reform and commerce of the administrative committee of the zone.
Some 15 countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, including France, Germany, Russia and Uzbekistan, have put forth the initiative to form a high-tech zone alliance, said Jiang.
The State Council designated the zone a national Self-dependent Innovation Demonstration Area in 2015.
This title means that the high-tech zone in Xi’an enjoys more freedom and preferential policies in exploring new paths for innovation.
Starting in 2014, 14 regions across the country, including Zhongguancun in Beijing, Donghu Hi-tech Industries Development Zone in Wuhan and Zhangjiang Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone in Shanghai, have been designated as national self-dependent innovation demonstration areas.
“The demonstration area is an upgraded version of a high-tech industrial development zone. Both have the same goal of technologydriven development, while a demonstration area has bigger experimental and innovation space,” said Jiang.
For instance, companies in Xi’an Hi-tech Industries Development Zone can have some of their research and development investment calculated into their total costs, so as to be partly exempt from value added tax.
State-owned enterprises in these regions can explore various forms of shared
ownership to raise incentives. In research institutes, if a technology is not commercialized within one year after it is created, the researchers are allowed to try commercializing it themselves. If successful, 90 percent of the profits generated by the application will be attributed to the team and only 10 percent has to be submitted to the institute.
“This way, the researchers will have more motivation to speed up the application of technology,” said Jiang.
In order to better optimize resources, the zone brought together the scattered technological resources in the region by building a technology market in 2011, a platform where technologies and equipment are traded.
This platform has integrated 900 educational and military institutions, 7,300 separate technologies, and technology information for more than 7,700 companies. According to Zhang Weiguo, the director of the technology market, the platform has effectively connected technologies with the companies that need them.
The turnover of the market’s technology transactions totaled 62.7 billion yuan ($9.64 billion) in 2015. It has more than 9,000 sets of equipment that can be shared.
The shared equipment has saved Xi’an Forstar Technology, a Xi’anbased radio frequency connector producer, more than 1 million yuan per year.
“We used to have to send the product to Guangzhou to run tests because the equipment was not available in Xi’an,” said Ding Ruiying, Forstar’s quality manager. “Now we can run the tests right here at home.” The development zone also offers strong support for start-up companies. In 2015, Chuangtu in Xi’an, a space that provides office rooms and consultancy services to start-up companies, was created. It covers two floors with more than 200 seats, meeting rooms and a roadshow room. Companies that have been selected to move in can enjoy six months rent free.
As of the first half of this year, Chuangtu in Xi’an has selected more than 120 projects, 15 of which have received more than 50 million yuan in investment.
As a city with strong military industries, the State Council also designated Xi’an as a demonstration area for the civil application of military technologies.
Among the top 11 military enterprise groups in China, eight have a presence in Xi’an, covering electronics, ships, aviation, aerospace, weaponry and nuclear sectors.
The high-tech zone has set up a 5 billion yuan foundation for the civil use of military technologies. In 2015, the output of military-civilian integration industry stood at 90 billion yuan.
By 2025, the output of the militarycivilian integration industry in the zone is expected to be more than 300 billion yuan. By then, more than 20 military-civilian integration companies will have been listed on the stock market.
The primary goal for the high-tech zone is to become an innovative ground for doing business with the countries along the Belt and Road.”
The technical manager of NowledgeData explains the tech platform to visitors. “National Self-Dependent Innovation Demonstration Area” is the title the State Council gives to regions with strong science and technology industries.These areas’ development models will serve as examples to other regions of the country. These areas enjoy preferential policies, including tax reduction and exemption, shared ownership incentives, the commercialization of technologies, intellectual property rights protection and land use. Xi’an Hi-tech Industries Development Zone was designated a National Self-dependent Innovation Demonstration Area in August 2015, the ninth among the 16 demonstration areas recognized so far. The main tasks the central government has given to the zone include innovation-driven development, grassroots entrepreneurship, military technologies for civil use and further opening up. As a national demonstration area the zone’s goal is to realize annual revenue of 5 trillion yuan by 2025 from 80,000 technological companies. Research and development input is set to account for 8 percent and above of the companies’revenue. In 2015, R&D investment in the zone accounted for 4.61 percent of its revenue. In 2010-15, the zone applied for 129,000 patents, which ranked second among China’s high-tech zones, of these 40,000 obtained approval. Currently,Xi’an Hi-tech Industries Development Zone has more than 200 high-tech laboratories, and engineering and technological centers. Some 120 large companies from home and abroad have research centers there, 48 of which are Fortune 500 companies. The high-tech zone has four pillar industries: electronic information, high-end manufacturing, bioscience and modern services.These four industries’revenues accounted for 65 percent of the zone’s total revenue in the first half of this year.The development zone ranks fourth among more than 100 zones in China, according to a list recently released by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.