China urged to tap Canada's talent

Updated: 2014-12-26 23:42

By Wang Ru in Beijing(China Daily Canada)

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China urged to tap Canada's talent
For most Chinese people, Canada is the country with abundant natural resources for trading, a clean environment for living, and an ideal destination for immigration.

For Daniel Cheng, managing director of Canada China Business Council's (CCBC) office in China, there is an unexplored gold mine between the two countries.

"Canada has a strong tradition of innovation and a vibrant R&D environment, which is recognized by the world but little-known in China," said Cheng.

In an interview in his office, located in Beijing's central business district, Cheng talked about the innovation power of Canada and expressed his willingness to help China's investors tap Canada's innovation power.

"Cinemas with IMAX screens are getting very popular in China, but how many Chinese know the fact that IMAX was created by a Canadian company?" Cheng asked.

"There are many famous Canadian innovation and products that haven't entered into the Chinese market but are well known in the world," said Cheng.

As an example, Cheng cited "the very reliable and efficient" small planes also known as the "Flying pickup truck". He said the planes are made by a Canadian aircraft manufacturer Viking Air Ltd and are highly suited for China's fast-growing civil aircraft market, particularly in rugged areas with few airports.

For Cheng, Canada is much like a shopper's paradise, continuously producing new inventions for the US and European markets.

"Canada's specialty on innovation concentrates on the early phase of R&D, including creating ideas and making prototypes, but not on commercialization and marketing," said Cheng. "It is a result of Canada's natural advantage being adjacent to the US market where it has developed industrialization and strong global branding power."

Before working for CCBC, Cheng managed his own medical technology company in Montreal, where some world-leading companies, like Bombardier, the transportation innovation and manufacture giant, are based.

"Canada has an ideal R&D environment, from its innovation-driven education system, to the government policy-making," said Cheng.

In Canada, the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program exempt about 4 billion Canadian dollars from taxes, out of the innovation investments from more than 18,000 domestic technology companies.

"In fact, most of Canada's innovations are born from medium and small companies that tend to sell their patents or shares, transferring technology to big companies," said Cheng.

In 1874, Thomas Edison bought the patent for the incandescent light bulb from two Canadian inventors, Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans, and then developed the invention, which eventually changed the world.

"It was a classic example, but now has become Canada's role in the division of global industry," said Cheng.

He pointed out that Chinese companies should work with Canadian companies to innovate for the Chinese market.

"China is the world factory and also becoming one of the largest consumer markets, but very few world-class brands and popular products are designed for Chinese consumers," said Cheng.

"There is a huge potential for Canadian R&D companies to target the Chinese market and innovate for China," Cheng added. "I also strongly recommend Chinese investors and companies explore the innovation resources in Canada."

Cheng believes that agricultural and clean energy technologies are now two hot fields for cooperation between the two countries.