Yangpu's hub of innovation and enterprise

Yangpu District in the city's northeast is Shanghai's biggest downtown district with largest number of residents and the longest Huangpu River waterfront.

Yangpu District in the city’s northeast is Shanghai’s biggest downtown district with largest number of residents and the longest Huangpu River waterfront, featuring over a century of industrial heritage.

The district is now rebuilding itself to a pioneer in China’s national strategy and has been listed as the city’s first national demonstration zone for public innovation and business startups.

As part of the first China International Import Expo, the Yangpu Entrepreneurship and Innovation Development Forum is being held today at the National Exhibition and Convention Center. The world’s leading experts and scholars will explore the best urban renewal methods for the nation’s modern industry cradle from the aspects of scientific innovation.

Smart waterfront

The forum focuses on the construction of a smart Huangpu River waterfront with involvement of intelligent and technological elements such as 5G network, cloud computing and Internet of Things, according to the forum organizer, the Yangpu District government.

Rimes Mortimer, general manager with applied innovation of Microsoft Digital, will make a keynote speech today about the smart city construction for Yangpu’s waterfront under globalization. Other speakers include Wu Zhiqiang, vice president of Tongji University and academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and David Andrew Jones, president of SPD Silicon Valley Bank.

The 15.5-kilometer riverside area in Yangpu is being developed into an important part of the city government’s ambition to become an “excellent global city” by 2035.

As the east part of Yangpu’s blueprint, the Binjiang international innovation belt will become a future waterfront in the post-industrial era with public cultural and sports facilities as well as an area for creative immersion.

Yangpu is now home to over 7,600 small and medium-sized tech firms on Internet Plus and other new businesses. Among them, a series of “unicorn” startup firms have been nurtured.

Liulishuo, for example, has an app that allows users to speak excellent English via artificial intelligence technology. Aihuishou, a Chinese phrase meaning “love of recycling,” is an online second-hand consumer electronics’ trading platform directly connecting electronics’ consumers with recyclers in China.

Ninety-seven startup firms based in Yangpu have been listed on the capital market, while the number of innovative parks, incubators and entrepreneurship space has increased to 5,468 in 2017 from 3,000 in 2016.

Yangpu Bridge

Prestigious education institutions

The district is also home to over a dozen higher education institutes, including Fudan University, Tongji University and Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, along with over 100 scientific research institutes.

Yangpu authorities are cooperating with 11 universities within the district and around the city to build a number of key platforms. They have also paired up with many local research institutes and enterprises to promote high-tech projects in fields such as the Internet of Things and the application of China’s Beidou Navigation Satellite System.

Meanwhile, the district government has been offering supportive policies, services and funds specifically for young entrepreneurs to develop the district into an “international innovation and entrepreneurship talent base.”

Changyang Campus

Streamlined paperwork

Authorities have simplified the administrative application process and rolled out a series of policies to support startups, attract professionals from both home and abroad, and enhance resource-sharing between officials, universities and enterprises.

Yangpu has attracted 65 boffins from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, along with 398 overseas professionals under the nation and city’s “Recruitment Program of Global Experts.” They are operating around 600 startup firms in the city.

The district is also recruiting hi-tech professionals from Silicon Valley and Seattle in the United States. Over 500 foreign entrepreneurs and Chinese students studying abroad attended two recruiting events led by the district’s leaders at Stanford University and Global Innovation Exchange in Seattle early this year.

Yangpu has developed over 2.3 million square meters of scientific and innovation parks. The district now features 20 high-tech parks, 91 innovation spaces and a series of projects that renovated old industrial sites.

The Changyang Campus, formerly Donghua Textile Factory, is now a campus with 150 leading startups and small and medium-sized tech firms.

During an inspection visit in April, Premier Li Keqiang asked to develop the Changyang Campus into an international innovation hub.

The B-link innovation park, another hub in Yangpu developed from a former steel plant, served as the main site for the 2018 National Mass Innovation and Entrepreneurship Week Shanghai in October.

Global startup competitions, such as the Asia Hardware Battle and 2018 Entrepreneurship Festival, were launched during the week to further encourage public involvement as well as lure global professionals.

The B-link park was once the largest industrial site in downtown owned by Baosteel Group. The site featuring many steel factory houses was built in 1942 and shut down in 2010. The Yangpu government and the Baosteel Group spent two years developing the industrial site.

Elsewhere in Yangpu, the Knowledge & Innovation Community has become a magnet for people to share knowledge, communicate, seek cooperative opportunities and have fun.

The 800-meter-long Daxue Road features restaurants, outdoor cafes and teahouses where investors, artists and scientists exchange ideas and search for opportunities. The street air smells not only of coffee but it is a hub of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Steps away from the road, seven incubators and the China (Shanghai) Public Practicing Base for Entrepreneurs has been established on Guoding Road E., which turned the street into a fenceless innovation space.

It offers a low-cost and convenient supply as well as enough space and training courses for entrepreneurship and innovation.

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