High-tech edge draws tours of Shenzhen firms

By Wang Xin (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-10-27 08:13
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High-tech edge draws tours of Shenzhen firms

Xu Youjun (center), director general of the Market Supervision Administration of Shenzhen, leads a delegation to a local company. Provided to China Daily

While scenic sites are what most often attract tourists, companies in Shenzhen are receiving a growing number of visitors who want to tour operations with a competitive edge.

It is not unusual for Shenzhen's high-tech companies to receive an influx daily that includes business partners, media groups or delegates from inland economies, according to Ye Xuehui, an official with the Market Supervision Administration of Shenzhen.

Like tourist guides, corporate receptionists lead visitors around and talk about practices in intellectual property management.

Among them is telecommunications giant ZTE Corp.

Dai Shu, director of the ZTE communications department, told China Daily that without patents, the threshold for access to the telecom industry is almost impossible to cross - and then companies must compete with international juggernauts.

Core intellectual assets are linked to all of the company's production processes from purchase of raw materials, R&D, design, assembly and sales, he added.

ZTE now has 15 R&D centers worldwide. Of their 26,000 total patents, some 3,400 are related to cellphones.

Such strong innovation has enabled rapid growth. "We were just a follower at the very beginning, yet now we are a participating rule maker in the industry," Dai said.

Overseas markets are a major priority of ZTE's marketing. It has registered trademarks in all nations that have at least 1 million people and cooperated with telecommunication service operators in 140 countries and regions, according to Dai.

More than 10,000 out of its 70,000 total employees work in overseas marketing and tech services.

"We are not afraid of globalization," said Xu Youjun, director general of the Shenzhen intellectual property administration. "Actually, we are one of the biggest beneficiaries of globalization."

And beyond transnational borders is the boundless Internet community.

Tencent, maker of the most-used instant messaging software QQ, also values intellectual property as key to enhancing its core competitiveness, according to Wang Xiaoxia, director of the company's legal department.

"In the Internet world, people get used to everything for free, which requires us to provide more valuable services," Wang said.

Tencent has established a comprehensive intellectual property system, mainly covering patents, trademarks and copyrights

To date, the company has filed more than 1,600 patent applications, 900 of which have been granted.

"Intellectual property might just be like adding sugar to milk in other sectors, yet for us, it is a core asset that determines our survival and growth in the tech-intensive industry," Wang said.

In addition to high-tech companies, Director General Xu noted the jewelry and garment industries.

More than 48 percent of the nation's total in well-known jewelry brands are made in Shenzhen.

Through enhanced protection of patents, copyrights and trademarks, the city administration aims to help local jewelry and garment makers move up the industrial chain and increase product value.

In the first half of this year alone, Shenzhen new trademarks surged 118 percent to nearly 22,000, a record in the city's history.

Total trademarks are projected to rise to 120,000 in 2013 from the current some 115,000.

China Daily

(China Daily 10/27/2010 page17)