Beijing mayor talks tech in Silicon Valley

By Lillian Liu in Santa Clara, California for China Daily | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-09-25 10:54

Located at the heart of buzzing Silicon Valley overlooking California Highway 101, the Zhongguancun Silicon Valley Innovation Center stands out with its name in Chinese characters, announcing a new chapter of China's tech story.

The Beijing-Silicon Valley Talent and Technology Summit held there on Sept 20 was representative.

"China has reached a stage where it yearns for good tech talent and innovation," Chen Jining, the acting mayor of the Beijing Municipal Government, said in his keynote speech. "We need to address many challenges that we are having with advanced high tech and innovation."

During the summit, a $300 million fund to facilitate the engagement of China-US tech cooperation was announced, and eight prominent Chinese and Western scientists were appointed to join the ZGC Overseas Strategic Scientists Committee.

The scientists' research areas include chemistry, medical, computer science and new energy.

"Silicon Valley is such an inspiring place," Chen said. "It is a place one should visit often. Meanwhile, overseas talents should come to Beijing to admire its fast development."

Chen said that China didn't properly start its research and development (R&D) until around 2000, during which 985 universities were highlighted and various labs established.

"China has come a way, it has built the foundation of talent and capital for more solid technology and innovation development," Chen said.

The summit, in which hundreds of scientists, entrepreneurs and university professors participated, "adds a highlight to the future of our countries' cooperation", said US Congressman Ro Khanna of California.

Yi Cui, professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford University, said: "It is very encouraging to see our homeland pay great importance to overseas scientists. We now have many opportunities and much space to use our skills and experiences to contribute."

To highlight the summit, Richard Karp, a professor of computational theory at the University of California at Berkeley, disclosed a new app with which smartphone users can detect potential earthquakes, which are a regular risk in California.

"China has become a strategically important part in the world's technology market and its development," said Erik Lassila, manager of the ZGC Peakview US Fund, who also oversees the $300 million fund previously mentioned.

In the past, buildings outside the US displaying names in bold Chinese characters were mostly Chinese restaurants. That is changing.

Zhongguancun is a technology hub in Bejiing's Haidian district. It is a household name and often referred to as "China's Silicon Valley".

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