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Chengdu Hi-tech Zone a magnet for electronic information businesses

China Daily Updated: 2019-10-21

Chengdu, capital city of Southwest China's Sichuan province, is drawing greater attention from around the world as an industrial center, with the Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone, also known as Chengdu Hi-tech Zone, being one of the highlights.

The zone, established in 1988, became one of the first batch of national-level high-tech zones in China in 1991. It is a hub for the electronic information industry, one of the pillar industries of Chengdu, which is in the process of replacing old economic drivers with new ones.

In early September, three leading electronic information products developers in China - Suzhou HYC Technology, Huada Semiconductor and Denglin Technology from Shanghai, and a fund company which specializes in investing in the emerging industry, signed agreements to launch operation in Chengdu.

HYC, one of the largest display and touchscreen testing equipment producers in the world, plans to invest 500 million yuan ($70.53 million) to build a regional headquarters in the zone. The company is a supplier of Apple, Samsung, Sharp, LG and BOE.

Jiang Ruixiang, deputy general manager of HYC, said research teams will be established to develop testing equipment for displays, semiconductors and auto electric parts. Production and marketing teams will also move in upon completion.

"Through the partnership with the zone, we hope we can construct a future development center in western China," Jiang said.

Huada plans to focus on developing anti-counterfeit technologies in the zone. The project will use radio-frequency identification, or RFID, packing and testing workshops, RFID chip development centers, RFID application and testing labs and big data operation centers to provide one-stop services to its clients, according to the company.

"We are proud to be a partner of the zone. Chengdu and the zone's talent resources are valuable assets for us," said Ma Jifeng, general manager of Huada.

Ma said talent is the key support to a semiconductor company's development. The zone, home to leading universities such as University of Electronic Science and Technology of China and Southwest Jiaotong University, is becoming more attractive to companies for this reason.

"Chengdu's strong technological foundation, complete industrial chain and relatively low operation costs are also key elements luring us," Ma said. "We will consider moving our headquarters from Beijing to Chengdu because we think the city will unlock strong potential."

Apart from the four newcomers, the zone is also seeing existing investments being increased. Foxconn has agreed to invest another 10 billion yuan to develop smart wearable equipment facilities in the zone. BOE will invest 5 billion yuan in sixth-generation flexible active-matrix organic light-emitting diode, or AMOLED, display technologies. Huawei is hiring another 3,000 engineers in Chengdu to support its development of 5G and HiSilicon chips.

The zone's electronic information industry is becoming well-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 eight months of this year, the combined industrial output value of 129 key electronic information companies in the zone was 211.23 billion yuan, an increase of 19.43 percent year-on-year, according to the zone.

In 2019, the zone undertook a series of measures to fulfill the promises they have made to companies. More than 2,000 companies have benefited from the zone's efforts so far. Some 517 million yuan in support funds will be provided to companies in the near future, according to the zone.

Jiang Hai, chairman of XWBank, an online banking service provider in western China, said the zone has created a great environment to support its development.

"The zone is sparing no efforts in supporting innovative companies," said Zheng Liwei, general manager of online healthcare company Medlinker Chengdu. "The zone provided much support in terms of office rental and talent subsidies in our early stages, which were very helpful."

The zone, the first national independent innovation demonstration zone in western China, will take action to attract industrial leaders, cultivate innovative companies and encourage startups, according to officials.

Policies have been released to attract more Fortune Global 500-listed companies. Companies which agree to build a regional headquarters will receive up to 100 million yuan in subsidies each.

"In the past two years, an increasing number of companies, including many established in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou and Shenzhen in Guangdong province, have applied to participate in our incubation programs in Chengdu, which indicates the zone is preferred by startups," said Lu Yuxiang, founding partner of The Force Capital.

Looking ahead, the zone will continue to optimize its business environment, enhance its industrial service quality and develop more preferential policies to support companies' long-term goals in Chengdu, according to local officials.

The Tianfu Software Park in the Chengdu Hi-tech Zone is home to many innovative companies and institutes. Photos provided to China Daily
Left: A guest delivers a speech during the 2019 Global Artificial Intelligence Summit in the Chengdu Hitech Zone. Right: A staff member works on the production line of digital services provider New H3C Technologies in the Chengdu Hitech Zone.