With the aim of developing into a world-leading high-tech zone, the Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone — whose growth has been boosted by independent innovation, attractive talent policies and upgraded commercialization tools — has made notable progress during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25).
To date, the number of listed enterprises in the zone has totaled 59, with eight enterprises going public between January and August. The zone now is home to 132 Fortune Global 500 enterprises. In 2021, its GDP reached 280 billion yuan ($38.92 billion).
As a part of an effort to drive its innovation-oriented development strategy and cultivate a number of high-tech and cutting-edge enterprises and industrial clusters, the zone released a new portfolio of policies.
The Leading High-tech Zone Policy centers on eight key driving factors in innovation: talent, technology, platforms, commercialization, products, enterprises, finance and industry. The policies provide a framework for attracting investment and talent, and accelerating the commercialization of scientific and technological achievements.
A nighttime view of the Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone.
The zone considers high-quality human resources as its prime asset, so it places the introduction and cultivation of such talents first, an official said. He stressed that there are different incentives for three kinds of talent of top-tier innovation experts, high-level entrepreneurs and young people in need of training and cultivation.
Top-tier innovation experts will be given a subsidy of 20 million yuan at most and a fund of up to 20 million yuan to stimulate their research in pilot projects. As for talent standing as professors in the industry, the government will give up to 1 million yuan as their startup capital.
There will also be awards for "four special kinds of entrepreneurs", namely those coming from regions outside Chengdu, those from overseas, academicians and makers. They will be given 5 million yuan at most and 500 square meters of office space to start their businesses.
EnnoCAD Chengdu, which registered in the zone in December 2020, is a technology-driven enterprise founded by a group of professionals in the electronic design automation industry.
Its expansion speed was surprisingly fast as it completed the three-round financing within two years of its establishment. Its two-round financing, which took place in 2021, reached nearly 100 million yuan. The third round, which was completed in July, amounted to more than 10 million yuan.
"We performed investigations in many cities across the country and finally chose Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone. The reason we chose here can be attributed to its excellent business environment, talent policy in software and internet industries, as well as the government's practical and efficient services," said Wang Qi, general manager of the company.
In recent years, the zone has accelerated the implementation of a talent-priority strategy. It is attempting to become one of the most attractive regions for talent in China's central and western regions, officials said.
Up to now, the zone has become a talent pool with more than 700,000 professionals. A total of 1,867 talents were labeled among "four special kinds of entrepreneurs". To date, it is home to more than 100,000 scientific and technological enterprises.
A researcher of Qitan Tech at Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-Town conducts an experiment.
The Leading High-tech Zone Policy also launched measures to support national-level key laboratories, major scientific and technological infrastructure and other innovation platforms by giving them funds of up to 200 million yuan. In a bid to encourage the construction of industrial innovation platforms like enterprise technology centers and engineering research centers, project organizers will be awarded up to 4 million yuan.
The "Minshan Action" plan, launched in January 2021, is rewarding R&D institutions set up by top universities, institutes and teams that have the ambition to promote the integration of academic research and industrial production. Chengdu Minshan Power Semiconductor Tech Research Institute, which was selected among the first batch of projects for the "Minshan Action" plan, has received nearly 100 million yuan in subsidies and investment in total.
The institute received a financing subsidy worth 10 million yuan from the zone this year, which has greatly assisted the R&D of new products, application scenario studies and resource sharing.
"The semiconductor industry has a high requirement for employees' experiences, which made it a difficult task to recruit R&D talent. With the help of the new policies, we cannot only attract job hunters who want a stable salary but also build up the foundation for the talent training system," said Bai Jiexian, a professor from the institute.
A staff member of WestVac BioPharma inspects facilities at the company's laboratory.
Additionally, the Leading High-tech Zone Policy launched policies to encourage enterprises to cultivate their patent system. It also provides awards for enterprises that have formulated international and national standards or have been granted China Patent Award and other honors.
Up to now, there were 28,755 invention patents granted in the zone, including 12,972 high-value invention patents. High-value invention patents per 10,000 people in the zone has reached 90. There were 47 Chinese Patent Award winners in the zone. And 25 enterprises were recognized as national-level demonstration enterprises with prominent intellectual property advantages.
"The commercialization of scientific research achievements is a widely discussed issue in our country. Many achievements generated in colleges or universities couldn't be transformed into real product in industries," said Tang Yunlei, a staff member from the Chengdu Minshan Hydrogen and Carbon Neutralization Technology Research Institute.
Tang also noted that the connection between industries and scientists is far from enough at present. There is a need for scientists to discuss how to make research achievements useful in industry and how technology can solve practical problems.