INNOVATION ASIA創新亞洲

Our series exploring fresh ideas, technology and entrepreneurship across our region, one city at a time. This month… SUZHOU, CHINA這個專欄探索亞洲區內的嶄新意念、科技及創業精神,每期聚焦一個城市。本月焦點城市是:中國蘇州

SilkRoad - - 在商言商 MIXING BUSINESS - JAKE NEWBY撰文WORDS插畫 RYAN CHAN ILLUSTRATIONS

FOUNDED IN 1994

as part of a joint initiative between former President Jiang Zemin and Singapore’s then- Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, Suzhou Industrial Park spurred the region’s economic growth, effectively doubling Suzhou’s GDP in its first 10 years of operation.

The park now sprawls across 278 square kilometres. Its outer fringes border neighbouring Kunshan, which itself blends into the outskirts of Shanghai. Indeed, with the three cities’ ever-expanding subway networks, it’s now possible to get from Shanghai to Suzhou on the metro (albeit via several interchanges), if for some reason you decide the 20-odd minute direct highspeed train is too convenient.

SIP’s development has undoubtedly become an important chapter in China’s economic success story of the past 30 years. But as it closes in on a quarter of a century in operation, the park is in search of a new sense of purpose. Cue numerous articles in state media about ‘SIP 2.0’ and officials talking about the building of an ‘innovation paradise’.

The blueprint for SIP 2.0 was laid out in 2015 with the announcement that it would host a new pilot zone for ‘opening up and innovation’, precipitating a deluge of free trade policies and investment incentives. These were aimed at fostering more entrepreneurship and high-tech industries – in particular nano-technology, biotechnology and cloud computing

– in the area. This drive is ongoing; in November 2017, start-up incubation centre Block71 opened its doors in the SIP, while in December a new RMB 100 million centre for AI research was announced.

Away from the SIP, Suzhou’s government has made a number of moves toward ‘smart city’ status, a buzzy term that local authorities across China have become intoxicated with. In addition to launching a raft of app- enabled services for residents, Suzhou is making strides towards becoming another of Alibaba’s cashless cities, in which mobile payment is available for almost every financial transaction.

蘇州工業園區於1994年創立,是中國前主席江澤民及時任新加坡總理吳作棟共同訂企簽 的 劃,成功促進了區內的濟經發展,營在 運首十年便將蘇州的本地生產總值提升一倍,成效顯。著

園區現時的面積達278平方公里,外圍毗鄰崑山,而崑山亦融入上海市郊內。蘇州、崑山和上海這三座城市的地下鐵路網絡不斷擴張,現在更可乘坐地鐵從上海前往蘇州(雖然途中需轉線多次) ,當然你亦可選乘最方便快捷的高鐵,由上海去蘇州只需20多分鐘。

園的區 發展無疑成為了過去30年來中國經濟崛起的重要里程碑,營但 運接近四分一世紀後,它開始尋求轉型,從官媒多篇關於「蘇州工業園區2.0」的報導,還有官方聲言要將園打區 造為「創新天堂」已可見一斑。

蘇州工業園區2.0的藍圖於2015年發表,劃計 開設全新的「開放創新」試驗,區 驅使大量自由貿易政策及投資誘因湧現,目標是推動區內更高科技工業的發展(特別是納米科技、生物科技和雲端運算)及創業能力。劃計 進行得如 火如荼:於2017年11月,創業培育中心Block71便於園區內正式開放,而12月園區更宣佈以1億民人 幣創立全新的人工智能科研中心。

除了蘇州工業園區外,蘇州政府亦為邁向「智慧城市」作出多項舉措。智「慧城市」是炙手可熱的詞彙,令全中國的地方政府都為之瘋狂。蘇州除了推出大量應用程式服務供居民使用外,亦逐步成為阿里巴巴的另一個「無現金城市」;換言之,幾乎任何金錢交易均可利用手機付款。

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