Suzhou's Xiangcheng has eyes on the future

Li Xinran
The district is eliminating outdated production and making better use of land to provide space for the development of  intelligent driving, advanced materials and fintech. 
Li Xinran

Suzhou’s Xiangcheng District is eliminating outdated production capacity and making better use of land resources to provide space for the development of “future industries” that include intelligent driving, advanced materials and fintech.

On October 22, China Mobile inaugurated 5G-plus BeiDou high-precision positioning technology in Xiangcheng to assist the automatic driving industry.

Xiangcheng is also focusing on building an “industrial brain” of the intelligent Internet of Vehicles, with 71 Internet of Vehicles enterprises, covering more than 30 fields in the industrial chain, and gathering more than 1,300 high-level professionals in the business, according to Gu Haidong, Party secretary of Xiangcheng.

At present, Xiangcheng has gathered a cluster of high-end industrial resources in the whole chain, built high-level network infrastructure, implemented high-standard demonstration application scenarios and optimized the industrial ecology in multiple fields, Gu said.

Xiangcheng is the test ground for the verification and application of China’s first 5G Internet of Vehicles and vehicle-road integration in the Yangtze River Delta region.

At the same time, an unmanned Robo-Bus based on 5G technology is in operation in Suzhou High-speed Railway New Town in Xiangcheng.

Xiangcheng is home to more than 1,100 enterprises in the fields of big data (blockchain), industrial Internet, intelligent Internet of Vehicles, fintech, advanced materials and biomedicine.

“Xiangcheng is the geographical center of Suzhou, and also links the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Metropolitan Region, Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and Yangtze River Economic Belt,” said Gu.

“From Xiangcheng to the ‘three circles and one belt,’ the distance is always the shortest, the cost is the lowest and the efficiency is the highest. Therefore, there are many foreign-funded enterprises settling here,” he said.

Suzhou reported 1.92 trillion yuan (US$287 billion) in gross domestic product last year. In the same period, Xiangcheng’s GDP was 89.01 billion yuan, with a nominal growth rate of 15.44 percent, the highest in the city.

“The construction of the Suzhou-Jiaxing-Ningbo High-speed Railway will start within the year. It is estimated that the maximum daily visits of Suzhou North High-speed Railway Station will exceed 1 million,” said Gu. “On the other hand, we also plan to build an intercity special line running through Xiangcheng, Hongqiao and Pudong. In the future, the time from Suzhou North Station to Hongqiao Railway Station will be shortened to 15 minutes from current 23 minutes, and that to Pudong International Airport will be shortened to 35 minutes.”

Suzhous Xiangcheng has eyes on the future

City view of Xiangcheng District

From January to September this year, enterprises reached agreements on 474 industrial projects with Xiangcheng involving a total investment of 166 billion yuan. A number of industrial leaders are to launch their businesses or regional headquarters in the district.

Earlier, a Sino-Japan (Suzhou) Local Development Cooperation Demonstration Zone was officially unveiled in Xiangcheng. Both sides have reached agreements on 35 Japanese-funded projects with a planned investment of US$2.93 billion.

Meanwhile, Yangcheng International Ecological New Zone is working in coordination with Hongqiao Transportation Hub to play a key role in regional integration. The new zone will target fintech development with the concept of “industry + finance + science and technology + talent.”

A cluster of equity investment funds, a fintech innovation demonstration area and a model zone of modern financial services will create a new business model and a whole-industry-chain approach for financial technology, according to Yang Hongwei, director of the new zone’s administrative committee.

In the next three years, the zone is expected to attract more than 80 fund management companies and over 400 fund managers. More than 220 funds with a total scale of 200 billion yuan will be based there, Yang said.

To become a fintech innovation demonstration area, the new zone will focus on the development of digital currency, blockchain and financial technology to build a research and development cluster of financial technology and an application and service demonstration zone of financial technology.

Taking advantage of the establishment of the Yangtze River Delta Digital Currency Research Institute and help from the Yangtze River Delta Financial Technology Co, the new zone has gathered 30 financial technology enterprises and is building the Yangtze River Delta Digital Financial Data Center to develop relevant technologies and business models to improve the efficiency of financial services to the real economy, and help the development of the inclusive financial industry.

Suzhous Xiangcheng has eyes on the future
Xu Haibin

Jiyang Lake area in Zhangjiagang

At the same time, Zhangjiagang in Suzhou published a five-year action plan of “Innovation Zhangjiagang” to upgrade its urban-rural integration.

Zhangjiagang, a pioneer in county innovation, was included in a list of national innovative counties in 2018. It ranked fourth among the top 100 counties for science and technology innovation in China for two consecutive years, and the proportion of social research and development expenditure of gross domestic product increased to 3.29 percent last year.

Focusing on the innovation ability of enterprises, Zhangjiagang has customized policies for local enterprises and  established provincial incubators in its eight towns.

All the large and medium-sized township enterprises in Zhangjiagang and tech firms with an annual income exceeding 20 million yuan have their own R&D facilities.

Lu Chongmin, vice director of Zhangjiagang, said that in line with the five-year plan, it will implement the urban-rural integration innovation, carry out the innovative township cultivation plan and give full play to the leading role of a science and technology demonstration village, guide and support local towns and villages to accelerate development of high-tech industries, so as to enhance industrial innovation ability and regional comprehensive competitiveness, and to create a national model of county innovation and urban-rural integration.

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