Yangpu set to become global innovation hub

Li Xinran
Yangpu plans to firmly grasp innovation as its primary driving force of development to achieve quality, efficiency, and to drive force changes.
Li Xinran

In May this year, a promotion conference held by Yangpu Binjiang attracted global attention. The conference clearly stated that the southern wing of the Binjiang riverside area should be built into a “hub for world innovation elements.”

China Communications Construction Co Ltd, Douyin, China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group, Yangpu Binjiang KIC Center, Meituan, Bilibili and other enterprises signed agreements to move in, leading the creation of new energy, carbon sink trading, Internet, cloud computing and other emerging industrial clusters.

At Wujiaochang, Shanghai’s new scientific and technological landmark — the Science and Technology Innovation Source project — has started construction.

Yangpu aims to create a “Big Creative Intelligence” future headquarters park for industrial community collaboration, introducing well-known domestic and foreign enterprise headquarters covering online new economy, cultural and creative design, digital health and “dual carbon” economy.

Emerging industries

After 20 years of innovative development, Yangpu’s economic development has undergone a significant transformation.

The intelligent intensive modern service industry and strategic emerging industries report an average annual growth rate of over 10 percent, increasingly strengthening their driving role in economic development.

The three 1-billion-yuan (US$137.7 million) level industrial clusters of the online new economy, modern design and intelligent manufacturing are accelerating their agglomeration.

Yangpu set to become global innovation hub

MNC headquarters on Dalian Road

In 2022, the GDP growth rate of Yangpu District ranked first in Shanghai. From January to May 2023, the revenue of the information technology service industry, with the online new economy being a key segment, increased by 40.1 percent year on year, ranking first in the city’s downtown districts.

Yangpu is the most concentrated area of universities in the city, with over 10 universities and 180,000 college students. This is the most valuable source of innovation in Yangpu.

To fully inspire innovation, Yangpu continues to increase its R&D investment, with an annual R&D investment density of 5.01 percent, ranking fourth in the city and second in the downtown area.

It promotes the construction of a number of research technology facilities and functional platforms, including the construction of state key laboratories such as China’s ASIC and systems, research and development support platforms and transformation platform for brain-like chips and SOC (system-on-chip), and functional platforms such as the National Technology Transfer East Center.

The original innovation achievements have already been demonstrated. Last year, the authorized number of invention patents in Yangpu was 4,155, and the number of valid invention patents was 18,273, both ranking third in the city.

Multiple breakthroughs have been made in key core technologies. Tongji, for instance, has conquered major construction technologies such as seismic absorption structures and underground crossing projects.

The Industrial Science and Technology Park of the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology has made multiple “import substitution” achievements such as “innovative” suture needles and “upgraded” high-frequency surgical electric knives.

Yangpu set to become global innovation hub

The KIC innovation business hub, situated right next to the Jiangwan Stadium with no barriers in between, seamlessly integrates with the local community.

MemVerge, an enterprise in the KIC park, is building the Aoteng ecosystem and continuously breaking through core technological challenges in the field of “large memory computing” that are constrained by humans.

‘Fudan/Tongji — Yangpu’ model

On this basis, Yangpu hopes to smoothly connect the entire process of innovation, allowing the source of innovation to continuously flow to the entire chain, and allowing successful models such as the “Stanford — Silicon Valley” to evolve locally into the “Fudan/Tongji — Yangpu” model.

To this end, Yangpu has established a multi-level system including entrepreneurship competitions, incubators and accelerators. As of the end of last year, Yangpu had added 17,876 square meters of space for innovative companies and startups, and 750 “entrepreneurial stars” were selected from over 6,200 entrepreneurship competition projects, giving birth to a group of innovative enterprises such as Raise3D.

The Shanghai Technology Exchange was also launched in Yangpu in 2020, where the fundamental research of universities has been evaluated and protected, making it easier to enter the market for trading.

With the credibility and financial tools of the Shanghai Technology Exchange, enterprises are also more willing to commercialize scientific research achievements and accelerate industrial innovation.

‘Coordination and integration’

Since its opening, the cumulative trading volume of the technology exchange has reached 18.7 billion yuan. Last year, the technology exchange completed 29 high-tech achievement transformation projects and 1,984 technology contracts, with a contract transaction amount of 8.1 billion yuan, making the technology trading market increasingly active.

Yangpu was the first in the country to initiate the concept of coordination among universities, science and technology parks, and communities, as well as the integration of knowledge, industry and innovation.

More than 80 percent of small and medium-sized sci-tech enterprises in various science and technology parks in Yangpu have university backgrounds and strong independent innovation capabilities.

The “coordination and integration” strategy provides a large number of high-quality application scenarios.

It can effectively enhance the brand influence of university science and technology parks, and further construct an innovation network system for the Yangtze River Delta region.

As of the end of last year, there were 20 university science and technology parks across the district, including seven national-level parks, accounting for half of the city’s total.

The numbers of national-level high-tech enterprises and national-level specialized, refined and new Little Giant enterprises both rank first in the downtown area. The district has incubated 1,223 high-tech enterprises and 122 Little Giant enterprises at the city level, and 343 Little Giant enterprises at the district level.

Many enterprises gathering in the same parks or even buildings are along the same industrial chain. The Yunhai Building on Daxue Road, for example, has gathered dozens of cloud-computing enterprises.

Leading cloud computing enterprise UCloud said that whether it is looking for customers or suppliers, it only needs to go up or down the stairs.

In the Pan-Tongji Knowledge Economy Zone, a group of large-scale design enterprises and approximately 18,000 small and medium-sized design firms have gathered to accelerate the formation of a modern design industry cluster with a scale of 100 billion yuan.

Significant achievements in both incubator service innovation and professional technical service platforms have also been made.

By the end of last year, there were 10 municipal technology enterprise incubators in the district, with an incubation area of 160,000 square meters. Two national A-level entrepreneurship incubation demonstration bases had been established.

Over 90 percent of incubators were rated as excellent or above in the yearly review, and their comprehensive service capabilities and effectiveness ranked second in the city.

Yangpu has also gathered 26 professional technical service platforms, which have done a great job for the research and development of core technologies.

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