China, Israel working together on innovation
China and Israel are stepping up collaboration on scientific innovation with the announcement this month of a series of new ventures.
The China-Israel Innovation Hub (Shanghai) was launched at the Taopu Smart City in Putuo District in a ceremony at Hero World on Sunday, the renovated former site of the Shanghai Hero Pen Factory.
Hero is one of China’s time-honored brands.
The Shanghai Innovation Center (Haifa), China-Israel (Shanghai) Innovation Park Company and the China-Israel (Shanghai) Innovation Investment Fund were also unveiled.
The first batch of well-known enterprises and institutions, including Israeli incubators Trendlines and StartupEast as well as China’s National Eastern Tech-Transfer Center and PricewaterhouseCoopers, signed contracts to set up bases in the innovation park, targeted to serve the Yangtze River Delta area and radiate across China.
A boost for Taopu
The center is also expected to drive the Taopu International Innovation City in Putuo to be par with the Zhangjiang Technology City in Pudong as a key hub in western downtown for the development of Shanghai as a technology and innovation center.
Over 200 government and company officials from both countries witnessed the launch of the key research, incubation, transformation and exhibition platform.
They included China’s Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang, Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong and Israeli Ambassador to China Zvi Heifetz.
Zhou Minhao, director of Putuo, and Isreal’s Consul General in Shanghai Dr Eyal Propper outlined the cooperation between Shanghai and Israel as well as the construction of the innovation park.
The opening of the innovation park is a major step in Shanghai’s implementation of the national strategy to promote Chinese and Israeli scientific and technological innovations.
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan signed the China-Israel Innovation Cooperation Action Plan (2018-2021) during his recent visit to Israel in October 2018.
Mayor Ying also noted during his visit to Israel that Shanghai is willing to further develop the China-Israel Innovation Center and build the Sino-Israel innovation park on the basis of respecting and protecting intellectual property rights.
The innovation park will be developed in three phases.
It will mainly be based at the Taopu Smart City and surrounding areas, such as the projects at Hero World and Top Plaza, both redeveloped from the city’s early industrial center dating back to the 1950s.
Sino-Israeli joint research centers, institutes, incubators and accelerators will be built along with various investment funds.
A group of specialized and diversified technology transfer institutions will be set up at the park within five years along with technological innovation entities.
An innovative system will be formed in the park that is in line with international standards and is conducive to the transformation of scientific and technological achievements.
A batch of research findings will be transformed into commercial products. A series of influential brands will be created by the China-Israel innovation exchange.
Israel’s high- and new-technology industries have been developing rapidly, especially in electronics, intercommunications, computer software, medical devices and biotechnology.
Against the backdrop of the US$1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative, China has maintained in-depth cooperation and exchanges with Israel.
Nearly 100 scientific innovation cooperation projects have been conducted between universities and research institutes in Shanghai and Israel.
Putuo has been striving to create a cooperative and innovative business environment for Israeli enterprises.
In December 2018, Putuo hosted the China-Israel Innovation and Entrepreneurship Contest covering life sciences, smart manufacturing and information and communication technology.
About 300 Israeli enterprises registered for the competition and 28 made it into the finals, including nine participating in the final of smart manufacturing in Putuo.
The district aims to create a “special industry cluster on artificial intelligence” and an “international smart city.”
The smart city covering about 7.9 square kilometers will feature 2.08 million square meters of commercial and office facilities, 760,000 square meters of scientific research centers along with 1.1 million square meters of high-end residential areas.
The first phase of the China-Israel Innovation Hub will be based at the Hero World industrial heritage site.
It offers 1,500 square meters of exhibition space and 5,000 square meters of office space.
The second phase will be expanded to the Top Plaza by 2021. It will feature about 50,000 square meters of offices and over 10,000 square meters of apartments to accommodate professionals.
The park can be further expanded to other sites at the smart city based on demand, the Putuo government said.
To further support the companies based in the innovation hub, Putuo will accelerate infrastructure construction around the hub to improve the environment, along with up-market commercial, talent apartments, education and medical services, ecological construction and community centers.
Putuo will also drive the in-depth cooperation with the East China Normal University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Weizmann research center, the University of Haifa and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on talent training, joint laboratories and industry research institutes.
A one-stop service station will help Israeli startup projects set up base in the city and to lure quality professionals.
A China-Israel intellectual property rights service platform will offer legal consulting and strategic planning.
Innovation weeks will be held regularly in both countries along with startup competitions and roadshows.
A Shanghai-Israel Innovation Foundation has been planned with initial phase of 1 billion yuan (US$145 million) to support startup firms in their early development stages and help incubate their research findings into applications in Shanghai.
To benefit the first batch of enterprises and institutes in the hub, the innovation hub offers three-year, tax-free policies along with rental subsidies. Talent apartments and cultural facilities are also open to cooperative enterprises.
Meanwhile, Sino-Israel Putuo Science & Technology (Shanghai) Venture Capital Co was approved by the Putuo government to promote the investment and financing of the innovation park.
The wholly state-owned Sino-Israel project investment company was established in March, focusing on the investment in strategic key industries in Putuo, such as intelligent manufacturing, artificial intelligence, medical health and life sciences and life information technology and security.