Shang­hai dou­bles ‘ an­gel’ fund­ing for in­no­va­tors

Los Angeles Times - - SHANGHAI - Wang Yanlin

THE Shang­hai gov­ern­ment has dou­bled the size of its “an­gel” in­vest­ment fund for new busi­nesses to 1 bil­lion yuan ( US$ 161.4 mil­lion), the city’s top eco­nomic plan­ning agency said.

“The gov­ern­ment will push for­ward in­no­va­tion in ad­min­is­tra­tion and pro­vide more tar­geted funds for startup busi­nesses a nd in­no­va­tive com­pa­nies,” Zhang Suxin, chair­man of the Shang­hai De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion, told a media brief­ing.

The move is part of a broader plan to de­velop Shang­hai as a global cen­ter for science and in­no­va­tion, he said.

“Shang­hai has cre­ated a rea­son­ably com­fort­able en­vi­ron­ment for busi­nesses to grow, but an­gel funds — in­vest­ment for firms in their early sta ges of de­vel­op­ment — re­main weak,” Zhang said.

“The gov­ern­ment has there­fore de­cided to boost the size of its own fund in the hope that do­ing so will at­tract more pri­vate sec­tor money into the sec­tor,” he said.

As well as the boost to the an­gel fund, the gov­ern­ment will set up banks specif­i­cally de­sig ned to pro­vide fund­ing chan­nels for start ups and small firms, and prov ide more sub­si­dies for long- term re­search and sci­en­tific projects, he said.

The city last week re­leased its blue­print for trans­form­ing the city into a global science and in­no­va­tion cen­ter by 2030.

As part of that, the Shang­hai Com­mis­sion of Econ­omy and In­forma­ti­za­tion said it has been de­vel­op­ing ways to pro­vide more fund­ing for in­no­va­tive com­pa­nies.

“We have cre­ated two funds, one for firms un­der­go­ing restruc­tur­ing and a sec­ond for those ready to be in­forma-tized,” said Xu Ziy­ing, vice chair­man of the com­mis­sion.

The ap­pli­ca­tion sys­tem has also been im­proved to make it eas­ier for small firms to get ac­cess to fund­ing, she said.

Shang­hai Party Sec­re­tary Han Zheng said ear­lier that the city will seek to de­velop a lib­eral mar­ket en­vi­ron­ment and a fair com­pe­ti­tion mech­a­nism.

Gov­ern ment of­fi­cials should act like ser­vants, work­ing to sup­port “the growth of great ideas,” while also giv­ing them plenty of room to de­velop on their own, he said.

Gov­ern­ment de­part­ments in all sec­tors will work more closely to­gether to “make life eas­ier” for small firms, he said.

The con­cept of de­vel­op­ing Shang­hai as a global cen­ter for science and in­no­va­tion was first touted by Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping dur­ing a visit to the city last year.

Shang­hai was se­lected be­cause it has the “rich­est re­sources” in terms of in­no­va­tion, has the “high­est level of in­ter­na­tion­al­iza­tion” and the “firmest foun­da­tions for re­form,” Han said ear­lier. The city is al­ready home to sev­eral state- level lab­o­ra­to­ries, in­clud­ing the Shang­hai Syn­chrotrons Ra­di­a­tion Fa­cil­ity and Pro­tein Re­search Cen­ter, and more than 165 ex­perts from the Chi­nese Academy of Sciences and the Chi­nese Academy of En­gi­neer­ing, or 11 per­cent of the their com­bined mem­ber­ships.

Stu­dents at Shang­hai Sec­ond Poly­tech­nic Univer­sity make ad­just­ments to one of their in­ven­tions — a canopy de­signed to open au­to­mat­i­cally when it starts rain­ing. — Zhang Suo­qing

A T T H E CU TTING EDGE

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