Zhejiang planning 100 specialized 'towns'

Updated: 2015-06-08 07:46

By Yan Yiqi in Hangzhou(China Daily)

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To reinforce the upgrading of traditional industries, encourage innovation and promote tourism, Zhejiang province is to invest 500 billion yuan ($81.5 billion) in 100 featured "towns" within three years.

The first group, comprising of 37 towns, with names given by local governments, was announced on Wednesday. It included Internet Town and Cloud Town in Hangzhou, and Traditional Chinese Medicine Town in Jinhua.

Different from administrative divisions, each town, which are no larger than 3 square kilometers in area, will gather companies of one specific industry and provide certain preferential policies to support the development of that industry, as well as undertaking cultural and tourism functions. The industries cover areas including information technology, environmental protection, finance and high-end equipment manufacturing.

Li Qiang, governor of Zhejiang province, said the towns will provide a better environment for the development of their featured industries.

"The towns will include emerging industries like the Internet and cloud computing, as well as traditional ones. With new concepts and mechanisms, they are bearing the future of fast-track development of the industries," he said.

Qin Shili, a researcher at Zhejiang Provincial Development Planning and Research Institute, said these towns will play active roles in the province's exploration in upgrading its industries and looking for new economic growth.

"The biggest advantage of these towns is that they have appealing policies to support startups," he said.

Qin said that although traditional development zones provide preferential policies for companies settling up, the incoming thresholds are mainly annual revenue or profits.

"If we use traditional standards to evaluate startups of emerging industries, many of them will fail to meet the thresholds to enjoy preferential policies. But in the featured towns, they can," he said.

Dream Town, in western suburban Hangzhou, focuses on supporting Internet startups, which can enjoy free offices and basic infrastructure facilities for three years.

Yu Yang established a 3-D printing company in the town after graduating from college. In addition to free office space, Yu's company also enjoys a free cloud computing service.

"What attracts me here is that they do not evaluate us on our revenue or profits. Instead, they focus on our potential and the venture capital we have attracted," Yu said.

By Wednesday, the town had attracted more than 60 startups with 240 projects.

"As the whole nation is attaching great importance to entrepreneurship and innovation, this new path encourages both of them and provides room for them to grow," Qin said.


 Zhejiang planning 100 specialized 'towns'

Dream Town in Hangzhou, one of the 37 featured towns in Zhejiang province, is expected to attract an estimated 10,000 entrepreneurs within three years. Dong Xuming / for China Daily

(China Daily USA 06/08/2015 page5)