Uni­corns set to flour­ish in new econ­omy haven, add dy­nam­ics to growth

China Daily - - ADVERTORIAL - By LI YOU liyou@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chengdu is tak­ing the lead in pro­vid­ing in­cen­tives to foster the growth of the new econ­omy, of­fi­cials and busi­ness chiefs said, and its ef­forts are pay­ing div­i­dends in the achieve­ments of its lo­cal uni­corn com­pa­nies.

A uni­corn is a startup com­pany val­ued at over $1 bil­lion and the term new econ­omy refers to the trend to­ward the con­ver­gence of man­u­fac­tur­ing, ser­vices and tech­nolo­gies to make high value-added, tech­nol­ogy-en­abled and adapt­able in­dus­tries.

In March, Chengdu Xin­chao Me­dia Group, a startup com­pany spe­cial­iz­ing in in­tel­li­gent ad­ver­tis­ing, with a valu­a­tion of $1.5 bil­lion, was put on the 2017 uni­corn list , which was com­piled by the Torch High Tech­nol­ogy In­dus­try De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter at the Min­istry of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy and Great­wall Strat­egy Con­sul­tants, a con­sult­ing in­sti­tute head­quar­tered in Bei­jing.

In ad­di­tion, busi­ness magazine The Founder that same month re­leased its 2018 list of the top 100 Chi­nese uni­corns. An­other lo­cal com­pany — in­tel­li­gent pro­jec­tor man­u­fac­turer Chengdu Xgimi Tech­nol­ogy — was in­cluded on the list.

Xgimi’s star prod­uct is its no­screen TV, a smart LED home the­ater pro­jec­tor boast­ing high-qual­ity im­ages and sound ef­fects, which has been met with ex­tra­or­di­nary suc­cess in the mar­ket­place.

An­nual sales of the prod­uct have surged since its launch four years ago from about 70 mil­lion yuan ($10.76 mil­lion) to 1.3 bil­lion yuan in 2017.

The com­pany an­nounced in March that it had re­ceived to­tal in­vest­ments top­ping 600 mil­lion yuan from in­vestors in­clud­ing Baidu Inc and Ma­trix Part­ners China. That de­vel­op­ment show­cased the pow­er­ful growth of Chengdu com­pa­nies en­gaged in the new econ­omy.

“Chengdu is the first city in the coun­try to in­tro­duce a sys­tem­atic plan to de­velop a new econ­omy,” said Xgimi founder and CEO Zhong Bo. “We can see that the lo­cal gov­ern­ment has been mak­ing great ef­forts to foster the new econ­omy and cul­ti­vate a new driv­ing force in eco­nomic growth, as well as sup­port­ing en­ter­prises like us.”

“In ad­di­tion, Chengdu has re­leased a se­ries of poli­cies to at­tract pro­fes­sion­als, which has laid the foun­da­tion for the in­cu­ba­tion of uni­corn com­pa­nies,” Zhong added. “I be­lieve that with the gov­ern­ment’s sup­port, it won’t take long to see a larger num­ber of uni­corn com­pa­nies mush­room­ing in Chengdu.”

Wang Shirui, founder and CEO of Medlinker, a Chi­nese so­cial net­work­ing and re­fer­ral mo­bile app for doc­tors that is head­quar­tered in Chengdu, is pos­i­tive about the dy­namic city’s future de­vel­op­ment.

“Chengdu does have a lot of ob­vi­ous ad­van­tages in de­vel­op­ing the new econ­omy,” Wang said.

In­tro­duc­ing new tech­nolo­gies, in­clud­ing big data and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence to the on­line plat­form — and part­ner­ing with med­i­cal in­sti­tutes, med­i­cal equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers and in­sur­ers — Medlinker pro­vides tai­lor-made ser­vices to physi­cians and sur­geons.

By the end of last year, Medlinker had worked with more than 5,000 med­i­cal in­sti­tutes. The num­ber of doc­tors us­ing the app topped 430,000, with 15,000 of them reg­is­tered users.

Medlinker has grown in worth to nearly 5 bil­lion yuan in three years, and has been listed by the Great­wall Strat­egy Con­sul­tants as a “po­ten­tial uni­corn”.

An­other startup in Chengdu,

Chengdu is the first city in the coun­try to in­tro­duce a sys­tem­atic plan to de­velop a new econ­omy.”

Zhong Bo, Xgimi CEO

Borns Ro­bot, spe­cial­izes in med­i­cal ro­bot­ics re­search.

Li Yao, a sci­en­tist from the Stan­ford Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence Lab­o­ra­tory, co-founded the com­pany.

Li said his com­pany has de­vel­oped sur­gi­cal ro­bots ca­pa­ble of min­i­mally in­va­sive surgery and com­pleted an­i­mal tests. Its lat­est prod­uct is ex­pected to be launched in 2019.

“My dream is to help doc­tors,” he said. “I wish to use AI and ro­bots to im­prove min­i­mally in­va­sive surgery, help more doc­tors and ben­e­fit more pa­tients.”

Chengdu’s well-es­tab­lished in­dus­trial foun­da­tion for the bio­pharma sec­tor, and the lo­cal gov­ern­ment’s res­o­lu­tion to sup­port the growth of the med­i­cal equip­ment in­dus­try, prompted his de­ci­sion to found the com­pany in the city, Li said.

Borns Ro­bot has at­tracted in­ter­na­tional ex­perts in the field, in­clud­ing its an­other founder William Levine, a fel­low of the In­sti­tute of Elec­tri­cal and Elec­tron­ics En­gi­neers in the United States. The lead­ing ex­pert on con­trol sys­tems said he loves Chengdu and has be­gun learn­ing Man­darin.

Last year, more than 33,000 busi­nesses en­gaged in the new econ­omy were set up in Chengdu, a year-onyear in­crease of 57.9 per­cent, and 20,000 high-tech com­pa­nies started up in busi­ness.

Chengdu is the first city to have es­tab­lished a new eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee and founded a busi­ness club for the new econ­omy in China. It has ini­ti­ated two pro­grams to add “new dy­nam­ics” to the growth of the lo­cal econ­omy by fos­ter­ing lead­ing busi­nesses and pro­fes­sion­als.

One of the pro­grams is to foster 100 com­pa­nies and 100 ex­perts in the new econ­omy, aimed at cre­at­ing fer­tile ground for the de­vel­op­ment of the new econ­omy. The lists of busi­nesses and pro­fes­sion­als for 2018 were an­nounced ear­lier this month.

The other pro­gram fo­cuses on help­ing top com­pa­nies in­volved in the new econ­omy, with high growth and enor­mous po­ten­tial, to ac­cel­er­ate their de­vel­op­ment.

The com­pa­nies in­cluded in the plan are cat­e­go­rized by their growth stages, rang­ing from con­cerns at the early level to quasi-uni­corns and uni­corns or in­dus­trial lead­ers.

Of­fi­cials at the city’s new econ­omy com­mis­sion told Chi­nese me­dia that Chengdu was bol­ster­ing the new econ­omy, by at­tract­ing in­no­va­tion re­sources and im­prov­ing ser­vices to draw pro­fes­sion­als and cap­i­tal to the sec­tor. They will en­cour­age the estab­lish­ment of an an­gel in­vest­ment fund, ded­i­cated to de­vel­op­ing the new econ­omy, as well as the found­ing of cap­i­tal firms in a bid to help uni­corn com­pa­nies get listed.

Ac­cord­ing to the city gov­ern­ment, in line with the de­vel­op­ment goals of Chengdu’s new econ­omy, the num­ber of lo­cal new econ­omy com­pa­nies is ex­pected to reach 100,000 by 2022, with at least seven uni­corns and 60 com­pa­nies with po­ten­tial to be­come uni­corns.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Ex­perts at Borns Ro­bot, a startup com­pany fo­cus­ing on med­i­cal ro­bots in Chengdu, con­duct re­search.

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