Shanghai doubles ‘ angel’ funding for innovators
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
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