Chengdu gaining fame as place for entrepreneurs
Updated: 2013-09-25 07:57
By Li yu (China Daily)
What comes to mind when you ask any random Chinese person about Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan province?
You may receive a list of answers that includes hot and spicy food, giant pandas and a laidback lifestyle.
A few years ago, entrepreneurship would not be on that list, but times are changing.
In addition to the afore-mentioned things for which it was reputed in the past, Chengdu is now known for the entrepreneurial spirit of its citizens as well as the city's sound environment for startups.
The Chengdu High-Tech Zone, comprising the South Park and the West Park, lies in the southern and western parts of the city. It is a microcosm of China's burgeoning business world.
With the goal of making Chengdu the growth engine of the national "Go West strategy", the local government is building the zone into the core of urban development.
The zone has entered the third phase of its enterprising journey, said Liu Chao, the Party chief responsible for the zone. It has gone through two stages of building and development since it was founded in 1988, and it is now a base of modern advanced manufacturing industry in Chengdu.
Liu said the task at hand is to turn the zone into a world-class high-tech area through technology innovation and industrial development.The zone will increase the competitiveness and innovative capacity of Chengdu and the entire province as a whole, Liu said.
The industrial added value of the zone in the first half of this year grew by 19 percent to reach 48.82 billion yuan ($8 billion). Its total industrial output in 2012 was 223 billion yuan ($36 billion), making it the first industrial zone in all of Sichuan province to pass the 200-billion-yuan mark.
It is home to the biggest tax-free zone in central and western China. With a trade volume totaling $26 billion, making a 41.1 percent increase in 2012, the Chengdu High-Tech Comprehensive Bonded Zone ranked the third in the country and accounted for 44 percent of Sichuan's total trade, according to official statistics.
The zone is taking advantage of new opportunities being created by the restructuring of the global economy and the relocation of industries from the nation's coast to the central and western regions.
The leadership of the high-tech industrial park is committed to developing high-end manufacturing and building a base for IT, biomedicine and precision engineering manufacturing
To achieve the goal, Liu hoped the zone could attract more leading firms and major projects in advanced sectors, including integrated circuitry, photo electric displays, software and service outsourcing and electronic terminal products.
The zone is home to 515 high-tech firms, accounting for 52 percent of all the high-tech firms in Chengdu.
It has also attracted operations of more than 120 Fortune Global 500 and other internationally well known companies, including big names in IT industry like Intel, Foxconn, Dell and many others.
A total of 245 Fortune Global 500 companies now have operations in Chengdu.
The zone is also trying to develop emerging new industries, including cloud computing, digital media and Mobile Internet.
A 1 billion yuan ($16 million) funding was set up last year to support Mobile Internet development, with a plan for establishing a special zone for this industry.
Thanks to rapid industrial progress, the zone has also become a talent pool.
According to official statistics, by the end of 2012, the total population of professionals working in the zone had reached 228,000.
Nearly 500 Mobile Internet enterprises employing a combined total of over 20,000 professionals were based in the zone at the end of 2012.
Official statistics also showed that the zone has attracted 14 top professionals from the "1,000 talent plan", the country's master plan to recruit global experts. It accounts for 64 percent of the experts from the plan currently working in the city.
Picture shows a bird's eye view of the Chengdu High-Tech Zone. Provided to China Daily
(China Daily USA 09/25/2013 page7)