Global companies show confidence in the drive of city's economic engine
Chengdu, the capital city of Southwest China's Sichuan province, is a paradise for giant pandas. It is also an ideal investment destination for companies seeking a place to bolster growth in China.
The Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone in the city, also known as Chengdu Hi-tech Zone, long standing at the forefront of Chengdu's economic reform and industrial upgrading, is one of the major offerings of the city.
Iqvia, one of the largest healthcare research companies in the world, launched its regional headquarters in the zone on Sept 5. The regional headquarters will have an clinical research management center, a big data center and a artificial intelligence and machine learning analysis center. Some 150 million yuan ($21.12 million) in investment will be involved in the project by the end of 2024, according to the company.
The zone signed an agreement with Shenzhen Honeycomb Connect Technologies to build an innovation center, named Chengdu Honeycomb-Bosch Intelligent manufacturing Innovation Center, in the region in August. Germany's manufacturing giant Bosch and China's technological giant Huawei will also take part in the project.
"We hope we can leverage all parties' competitive advantages to benefit more companies," said Tian Zhi, vice-president of Honeycomb.
Honeycomb also partnered with the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China to construct a training center to provide more smart manufacturing knowledge to government officials and business management members.
Experts said the zone, the first national independent innovation demonstration zone in western China, is showing its charm to global businesses in electronic information, biopharmaceuticals and new economy. Its well-established industrial ecological systems enable companies to better achieve their long-term goals.
The zone is home to about 2,000 biopharmaceutical companies and reported more than 40 billion yuan in industrial output value in 2018. Its biopharmaceutical industrial park ranked sixth in China in terms of comprehensive strength.
The biopharmaceutical industry is one of three pillar industries in the zone. It saw its average annual growth rate exceed 20 percent in the past few years, according to local officials. The zone has developed a new drug research results commercialization mechanism which involves government, enterprises, universities and its own fund. More than 70 results have been brought to the zone since early 2019, of which 18 have entered into a clinical trial phase, according to the zone.
The Chengdu Tianfu International Biotown in the area was approved as a new drug research results commercialization demonstration zone in China last year, the first of its kind. A total of 127 projects have been agreed to settle in the industrial park with more than 100 billion yuan in total in investment. Five research teams led by Nobel Prize winners and two teams led by academicians are based in the park.
The zone's electronic information industry is known for its complete industrial chain, large industrial scale and strong innovative capacity. In 2018, the overall industrial output value was more than 300 billion yuan.
In the first seven months of this year, the industrial output value of electronic information companies in the zone was 181 billion yuan, an increase of 19.65 percent year-on-year, according to the zone.
Fortune Global 500-listed companies including Foxconn, Intel, Texas Instruments and Dell have also settled in the zone.
The zone will continue to support the development of its industrial ecological system to attract industrial leaders and support its goal to be a global electronic information hub, a research results industrialization demonstration zone, an innovation demonstration zone and a favored area for living and industrial development.
The zone will bolster Chengdu's new economy as Chengdu will have more innovation centers to attract more high-caliber professionals. Those innovation centers will cultivate 500 startups including four to five unicorn companies, which are startups valued at more than $1 billion.
As of the end of June, the zone was home to 128 Fortune Global 500-listed companies. Six projects launched by Fortune Global 500-listed companies were allocated in the zone in the first half of 2019.
The zone, part of the China (Sichuan) Pilot Free Trade Zone, plays an irreplaceable role in attracting foreign capital. A total of 10,172 companies were registered in the zone's free trade area in the first half of 2019, with an overall registered capital of 72.33 billion yuan.
In July last year, the zone partnered with Chengdu Bank to launch a financial service named Zimaotong, providing fund support to more micro and small enterprises in its free trade area. By the end of June, Zimaotong had provided 94 million yuan loans to 20 companies.
This year, the new measures were recognized as best practices by the Ministry of Commerce.