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Shanghai on fast track toward global digital hub

Zhu Shenshen
Shanghai is on a fast track to build itself into a global digital hub by 2035, with major information technology upgrades for a range of industries.
Zhu Shenshen

Shanghai is on a fast track to build itself into a global digital hub by 2035, with major information technology upgrades for a range of industries.

Three strategic industries the city is focusing on are integrated circuits, biomedicine and artificial intelligence. Several local industrial zones are playing an important role in the development of the hub, according to the Shanghai Commission of Economy and Informatization, the city's top industry regulator.

"The digital city upgrade is a national strategy to strengthen China's abilities in manufacturing and the Internet. It also offers tools for us to better serve people and their daily lives," said Wu Jincheng, director of the commission.

Wu spoke after the recently concluded sixth plenary session of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, a high-profile meeting held in Beijing.

In Shanghai, city government officials including Wu have drafted a digital city blueprint, covering targets to be met by 2025, such as the construction of 200 intelligent factories and 50 digitalized hospitals.

Shanghai has already kicked off various digital services covering the economy, daily life and urban management, many of which are leading services among cities nationwide.

They include the fastest 5G and fiber networks in China; a mobile nuclear acid test bus, which debuted at the China International Import Expo; a bus arrival forecast system with an accuracy rate of over 97 percent; a single-click taxi-hailing service in communities for the elderly; various electronic payment systems, including e-yuan; and a color-coded system for COVID-19 prevention, to protect the city.

Industrial zones to boost innovation

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

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. 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.

Zhangjiang is home to integrated circuit firms covering the whole industry, including smartphone and automotive chip designers and manufacturers. Nine chip firms headquartered in Zhangjiang are listed in the Shanghai's STAR Market, a bourse for firms with core technologies and innovations.

Lingang, also in the Pudong New Area, is an industrial base for chip and artificial intelligence firms.

Last Friday, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) and its partners announced that they will build a new wafer plant in Shanghai's Lingang area, with a total investment of US$8.9 billion The investment will help meet booming chip demand, according to SMIC, the largest chip maker on the Chinese mainland.

The West Bund zone in Xuhui District has become a base for media, art and AI firms, covering latest applications like electronic art trading, blockchain and new media creation.

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