Multinationals and international talent key to Shanghai as a global innovation center

Zhu Shenshen
Shanghai is speeding up the construction of its global science and technology innovation center. Overseas investment and international talent are parts of Shanghai's strategy.
Zhu Shenshen

Shanghai is speeding up the construction of its global science and technology innovation center with supporting methods including finance, research, talent attraction and international cooperation, government officials said on Wednesday.

Overseas investment and international talent are key parts of Shanghai's long-term strategy, vice mayor Wu Qing told a conference broadcast online.

Besides Wu, top officials from the National Development and Reform and Commission, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Chinese Academy of Science also attended the Shanghai-themed conference, showing the country's support for the city's development and innovation-oriented transformation.

"Shanghai is speeding up global science and technology innovation center construction, with enhanced innovation resource concentration, science achievement influence, emerging industry leadership, innovation environment attractiveness, and its regional driving influence," said Lin Nianxiu, vice director of the development and reform commission.

According to the national strategy, Shanghai, along with Beijing and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, will become three global science and technology innovation centers. Shanghai's Zhangjiang, along with Huairou, Hefei, and the Greater Bay Area are four national innovation centers.

Research and innovation hub

Zhangjiang, in the Pudong New Area, is a shining star of city innovation. Since it was deemed a national hub of science technology development, it is now home to many innovation centers and platforms for strategic achievement. They include Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility (SSRF), China's largest synchrotron research center, often called "Shanghai's Light Source", and a lab that created a new drug for Alzheimer's disease.

Shanghai is now home to 45 national research labs and various industrial zones like Zhangjiang.

The city has attracted firms in artificial intelligence, chips, and bio-medicine, as three strategic industries, to build its own industry chain and innovation ecosystem. By 2025, the city will invest 4.5 percent of its GDP into research and innovation. The number of high-value invention patents per 10,000 people will reach about 30 by that time, said Wu.

Attraction for multinationals and international talent

Over the past eight years, Shanghai has always been the "most attractive city" nationwide among overseas talent.

The city will be home to about 560 multinational research centers by 2025, compared with 500 currently, Wu added.

Shanghai can relax more policies to attract overseas talent, especially those who will contribute to the city's global innovation center construction. They include relaxed conditions on work permit application and requirements on age and academic degrees, said the science and technology ministry.

Since its debut in 2020, Shanghai's international tech trade market has attracted 4,000 tech firms and 547 service organizations. They deal with 14 million innovation and patents with potential investment value of 16.9 billion yuan (US$2.64 billion), said Li Meng, vice minister of the science ministry.

Shanghai is organizing various events like the World Artificial Intelligence Conference and Pujiang Forum to boost international and regional tech cooperation, including cooperation and integration in the Yangtze Delta, officials said.

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