G60 High-tech corridor drives biopharma and digital industries growth

Tan Weiyun
Songjiang's G60 High-tech and Innovation Corridor has now become a large-scale platform for regional cooperation and industries throughout the Yangtze River Delta region.
Tan Weiyun
G60 High-tech corridor drives biopharma and digital industries growth
Jiang Huihui / Ti Gong

A bird's-eye view of the G60 Corridor

Songjiang's G60 High-tech and Innovation Corridor, driven by technological and institutional innovation, has now become a large-scale platform for regional cooperation and industries throughout the Yangtze River Delta region, attracting a huge number of bio-medicine, digital technology, and advanced manufacturing projects worth tens of billions of yuan each.

The Corridor runs along the G60 Expressway, connecting nine cities - Shanghai, Zhejiang Province's Jiaxing, Hangzhou, Jinhua and Huzhou, Suzhou in Jiangsu Province, and Anhui Province's Xuancheng, Wuhu and Hefei - spanning 76,200 square kilometers.

It began in Songjiang and initially connected just Jiaxing and Hangzhou. Today, it has evolved into a nine-city project incorporated in the nation's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), transforming from a regional practice to a national strategy.

As Shanghai transforms into a global digital city, Songjiang is making every effort to encourage the development of the digital G60 corridor. The project "Songjiang G60 Digital Economy Innovation Industrial Cluster in Science and Innovation" was designated China's first digital pilot zone and included in the first group of model industrial parks in Shanghai.

In 2018, the corridor launched the "one network for all" service, which issued China's first company license registered in another province, thereby significantly enhancing administrative efficiency.

In April 2021, Songjiang became the only district in Shanghai to be included in the first group of national pilot projects for the integrated development of advanced manufacturing and modern service sectors.

In October last year, Songjiang established China's first cross-regional intellectual property protection and cooperation center, trying to create a sound and safe business environment for entrepreneurs.

The Long March 6 carrier rocket placed two multimedia beta test A/B satellites named "Songjiang" and "G60" into orbit at Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in August last year. In the great universe, the Songjiang people have their own satellites that shine brightly.

Three months later, the construction of the "G60 Star Chain" industrial base in Lingang Songjiang Science and Technology City kicked off. It is the first "lighthouse plant" for satellite manufacturing in the Yangtze River Delta, establishing a satellite Internet industrial cluster and a satellite Internet application innovation hub. This represents the transition from "the age of high-speed rail" to "the age of space" along the G60 Corridor.

G60 biomedicine industrial base

The base, located in the Songjiang Economic Development Zone, is home to a host of biopharmaceutical enterprises and medical device producers.

They include Henlius with a product pipeline covering over 20 innovative monoclonal antibodies, Sinopharm in the field of vaccines, China's first cellular immunotherapy company Immunotech Biopharm, BiOligo Biotechnology in the field of industrial DNA synthesis, medical service provider Xinkaiyuan, antibiotics leader Tonglian Pharmaceutical, and Haohai Biological Technology focusing on R&D, manufacturing and sales of biomedical materials. They've formed a healthy, integrated industrial chain.

"We're giving special support to the biopharmaceutical industry, hoping it can become a biomedical hub with global influence, and an industry that can generate a hundred billion yuan output value," said Gu Jun, chairman of the Economic Development Zone Group.

Songjiang-based Lepure Biotech recently announced that it will deliver disposable bioreactors and other products to Jinfan Pharmaceutical, an industry leader in the development of gene therapy technologies.

"The localization of disposable fermentation tanks has broken the monopoly of foreign technology and equipment," said Qin Sunxing, chairman of Lepure. "It will also assist in reducing the production costs of biological processes utilized in gene therapy research. And ultimately, it will lessen the financial burden on patients and society."

Lepure Biotech, founded in 2011, has become one of the top 100 private manufacturing enterprises in the city.

As a matter of fact, Songjiang District is planning three major biomedical bases in the Corridor, and the G60 Biomedicines Industrial Base, covering an area of 5.26 square kilometers, focuses on high-end biomedical R&D and manufacturing.

The other two are: Jiuke Oasis that provides high-end medical service, and G60 Brain Intelligence Innovation Park that features an international center for nonhuman primate disease modeling, a national brain intelligence technology research and transformation center.

The suburban district has so far attracted and fostered nearly 3,000 biomedical enterprises, covering the fields of biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, logistics, medical health services, and related equipment and materials.

The Dazhuanjia.com (Big Expert) located in Lingang Songjiang Science and Technology City, the starting point of the G60 Corridor, is a comprehensive medical and health service online platform jointly launched by 75 academicians, including the country's famed doctors such as Zhong Nanshan, Fan Daiming and Zhang Boli.

The self-developed operation and maintenance system MedBrain constructs a new closed loop with the "Internet plus medical health" service model, helping to transform the clinical practice of doctors to people's daily self-health management in a digital approach.

At present, the platform has signed up 4,000 public medical institutions and 1.4 million doctors, committed to building a nationwide medical ecosystem.

Digital technology

Meanwhile, the Global 6G Development Conference was held in Songjiang recently, with the big names in the industry discussing the technology's future after 2030. The conference was co-launched by China's IMT-2030 (known as 6G today) Promotion Group and China Institute of Communications.

Shanghai was chosen as the host this year after the conference's first edition was held in Beijing last year. And the main venue was set in the G60 High-tech and Innovation Corridor.

Digital communications is one of the pillar industries the Corridor is incubating. It includes industrial Internet, artificial intelligence, satellite Internet, information innovation, and digital integration in emerging industries.

The G60 hub is home to more than 250 industrial Internet-based enterprises from 12 cities and provinces, providing services to over 300,000 companies across the country.

Noark Electric (Shanghai) is establishing its smart factory for high-end electrical appliances in Songjiang. "The overall production efficiency is improved by more than 60 percent, while the production and operation costs are reduced by more than 15 percent," said Liu Gaoqian, the project's leader from Noark Shanghai. "It'll help us to achieve the digital transformation of the whole industrial chain, including R&D design, production mode, quality control, logistics and warehousing."

Digital transformation in different manufacturing scenarios is an inevitable trend for any company to improve efficiency, lower cost, and what's more important, reduce the complexity and uncertainty in the production system, and hedge the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A bunch of Songjiang-based companies and institutions are joining the tide of digital transformation, such as household appliance provider Haier, Shanghai Spaceflight Precision Machinery Institute, Yanfeng Visteon Automotive Electronics, Shanghai Zhongke Education Equipment Group, and many more.

"It's estimated that by 2025, 80 percent of the industrial enterprises above designated size in Songjiang will finish their digital transformation," said Wu Qing, deputy director of the district's Science and Technology Commission.

In terms of AI, Tencent's Yangtze River Delta AI Supercomputing Center and Industrial Base in Songjiang is about to be put into operation. The entire industrial park, which covers an area of 236 acres, including 50,000 square meters of office buildings, will undertake various large-scale AI algorithm calculations, machine learning, image processing, and scientific and engineering computing tasks based on Tencent's AI capabilities, and provide cloud computing services to the whole of society with data processing and storage capabilities.

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