Xiangcheng a digital economy 'dark horse'

Li Xinran
One of the fastest growing districts of Suzhou makes development of the digital economy one of its top priorities in its ambitious plans for the next five years.
Li Xinran

Xiangcheng is becoming a “dark horse” in the development of the digital economy in the Yangtze River Delta region by taking advantage of its location which connects the country’s most developed areas.

One of Suzhou’s fastest growing districts, Xiangcheng has made the digital economy a top priority in its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) with the aim of accelerating the development of digital finance, intelligent vehicles, the industrial Internet, blockchain and digital culture.

The district is home to more than 1,500 enterprises involved in the digital economy. With an ambition to lead the country’s digital economy development, Xiangcheng is accelerating promotion of industrial digitization, digital industrialization and digital governance.

It plans to gather more than 5,000 enterprises in the digital economy sector by 2023, with a total output exceeding 220 billion yuan (US$33,500) by then.

In particular, Xiangcheng has taken the lead in the layout of digital finance in recent years. As early as 2017, the district began construction of the Xiangcheng Digital Financial Industrial Park, the Sunan base of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the China (Suzhou) Venture Capital Digital Research Base, the Digital Financial Service Center, the Digital Financial Planning Exhibition Center and the Yangtze River Delta Roadshow Center.

Xiangcheng a digital economy dark horse
Ti Gong

A bird’s-eye view of Xiangcheng District

In November 2018, the district signed a cooperation agreement with the central bank’s Digital Currency Research Institute to build three national platforms — the Yangtze River Delta Digital Currency Research Institute, the Yangtze River Delta Financial Technology Co Ltd and the Yangtze River Delta Digital Financial Data Center.

Xiangcheng has also made remarkable achievements in the digital yuan pilot project. At present, Xiangcheng has built more than 7,500 digital yuan pilot scenarios.

Last October, the Xiangcheng-based Digital Financial Data Center of the Yangtze River Delta region was completed and put into operation. It is understood it will be the main operation center of the national legal digital currency in the future, undertaking the production, issuance, operation and other functions of a digital yuan.

At the core of Xiangcheng, the Yangcheng International Ecological New Zone is focusing on fintech development. It’s building a system 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 to 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.

To become a fintech innovation demonstration area, the new zone will focus on the development of a digital currency, blockchain and 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 dozens of finch 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 an inclusive financial industry.

Xiangcheng a digital economy dark horse
Ti Gong

A batch of cooperation contracts have been signed during a recent investment promotion of the Yangcheng International Ecological New Zone.

Next to Suzhou North Railway Station — a future hub of next-generation railways — the new zone is working in coordination with the Hongqiao Transportation Hub to play a key role in regional integration.

In a recent investment promotion of the new zone, the Tongji Blockchain (Suzhou) Innovation Center was established. Its cooperation with Shanghai-based Tongji University will focus on personnel training, technology evaluation, industry incubation and matching investment and financial goals.

It will gather all kinds of blockchain projects and enterprises, establish blockchain application scenarios in government affairs, people’s livelihoods, supervision, finance and other fields.

Additionally, a Distributed Digital Identity Industry Alliance will be launched in the new zone, dedicated to exploring application scenarios in distributed digital identities, building a cooperation and exchange platform, organizing industry, university and research cooperation and providing demonstrations based on distributed digital identities.

Shanghai Blockchain Technology Association and Suzhou Blockchain Technology and Industry Association have signed a joint construction contract.

Based on their respective resource advantages and centering on the concept of “integrating technology and enabling industry,” the two sides will build an association alliance ecology, promote development of professional committees in various industry segments, and form a cross domain and cross industry membership structure.

Xiangcheng is also focusing on the intelligent connected vehicles industry, attracting a large number of leading enterprises and unicorn companies, covering more than 30 fields, deepening industry-university research cooperation, continuously accelerating key technology research and standard development, and focusing on building an “industrial brain” of domestic intelligent connected vehicles.

It has been approved to build the first Internet of vehicles pilot area in Jiangsu Province, completed the first phase of more than 60 kilometers of test roads, and implemented the reconstruction of a 300-kilometer intelligent network road in the district.

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