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Optics Valley, the cradle of star startups

By Xu Lin in Beijing and Zhou Lihua in Wuhan China Daily Updated: 2019-07-29
A view of Optics Valley in Wuhan, Hubei province. The development zone has been hailed as the country's version of Silicon Valley. [Photo provided to China Daily]

After more than 30 years, the Wuhan development zone has turned itself into a mecca for innovative companies

Editor's Note: As the People's Republic of China prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary on Oct 1, China Daily is featuring a series of stories on the role regions have played in the country's development and where they are today.

Optics Valley in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, has long been hailed as the country's version of Silicon Valley, due to the booming number of successful startup businesses it has attracted.

Established in 1988, the 518-square-kilometer development zone is home to 42 universities, 56 national and provincial research institutions, 65 academicians and more than 300,000 professionals.

Its major industries include optoelectronics, biomedicine, energy saving and environmental protection, high-end equipment manufacturing and modern service industries.

Among five unicorn enterprises - startup companies valued at over $1 billion - is video game livestreaming platform Douyu, which recently made its trading debut on the US Nasdaq Stock Market.

A number of startup companies in Optics Valley have hit the headlines in recent years due to their innovations and cutting-edge technologies. The startups are also attracting talented people from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and even overseas, because of the dynamic atmosphere and preferential policies in Optics Valley.

"While the cost of living is rising in big cities, second-tier cities are developing fast and their life and work environments appeal to young people," said Zeng Yumei, director of talent and entrepreneurship office of the administrative committee of Wuhan East Lake High-Tech Development Zone, another name for Optics Valley.

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