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Sci-tech Innovation
Give Suggestions on Breaking Through Bottlenecks ...

By Zhang Jun


As one of the six key areas thatShanghaisuggested to construct in “22 Regulations for Science andTechnologyInnovationCenter”, Yangpu District is positioned as “an important bearing area for Shanghai Science andTechnologyInnovationCenter”. What’s the “core” for constructing this bearing area? How to bear the construction of this area? It is not practical to rely on old experiences. “The key is to make breakthrough on ideology, thoughts of development, measures, methods, systems and mechanism.” Yangpu District Party Committee organized a discussion for liberating thoughts among universities, research institutes, enterprises, industrial parks, sub-districts and towns of Yangpu District and the general public.


Recently, Yangpu District has compiled its “Opinions of Implementation” for constructing an important bearing area for Shanghai Science andTechnologyInnovationCenterat the initial stage. This document, including 15 policies covering 5 aspects, is compiled by collecting wisdom from various parties.


Construction for important bearing area is a reform


“All thoughts that are not in line with the principles of socialist market economy should be eliminated resolutely. All shortcomings in system and mechanism that restrict the development should be given up boldly. Fundamental changes should be made on all government administration methods that confine innovation and entrepreneurship.” In the “Opinions of Implementation” of Yangpu District, the first item of the overall requirements is to “adhere to liberation of thoughts and seek truth from facts”. This item ranks before “joint action by three districts” that Yangpu District always advocates and “creating environment and establishing mechanism” that the general public shows concern for. This ranking is a little bit unexpected, but is reasonable. From this ranking, we could clearly see that the construction for important bearing area is a reform for Yangpu District. The government will take a lead in breaking restrictions on various aspects.


“Liberation of thoughts is the precedent of reform,” said Zhuge Yujie, Yangpu District Party Chief. Currently, Yangpu District is in a critical period that dynamics for economic development, positioning of urban functions, space layout and framework and comprehensive infrastructure are becoming clearer. Yangpu is facing a precious opportunity for constructing a bearing area for science and technology innovation center. Without liberating thoughts, it is impossible to act voluntarily and grasp this opportunity.


Yangpu District began to make investigations since the latter half of the past year. Based on a problem-oriented principle, the district government knew about the bottlenecks and problems on systems and mechanism that government departments, universities, research institutes and industrial parks faced with. From a 37 pages report complied by the government, our reporter found out that 9 pages were dedicated to discuss problems after making a simple statement on the district’s advantages, e.g. concentration of universities and talents. For example, government administration and service failed to adapt to the requirements of popular innovation. Innovation talents failed to effectively support the enhancement of innovation functions. “One can solve a problem only after he has found out the bottleneck of the problem.” In early June, a discussion for liberating thoughts curtained up in Yangpu District based on the results of investigation. “We try to find out solutions together, so as to lay a solid foundation for Yangpu District to grasp opportunities and realize innovation-oriented development,” said Shi Wenqin, Vice Minister of Ministry of Publicity of Yangpu District Party Committee.


588 suggestions enriched the contents of the “Opinions”


During the process of constructing Shanghai Science andTechnologyInnovationCenter, Yangpu District shoulders the responsibility of constructing a “demonstration area for popular innovation”. What’s the relation between “demonstration area” and “bearing area”? This question is frequently raised by officials in the process of discussion.


Somebody said that these two issues are parallel. The “bearing area” should be high-end and the “demonstration area” is for grassroots. Somebody said that Yangpu District’s function of the “bearing area” for science and technology innovation center is “a demonstration area for popular innovation”. These two issues are connected to each other. Everyone gradually agreed with the later view: “The relation between bearing and demonstration is inclusive. Bearing is an overall concept. Yangpu District should consider the whole situation and meet the requirements for constructing Shanghai Science andTechnologyInnovationCenter. The demonstration area is the important connotation of the bearing area. While fully connecting to the construction for Shanghai Science andTechnologyInnovationCenter, Yangpu District should take a lead inShanghaiand inChinain terms of popular innovation, and become a global urban area for innovation and entrepreneurship.”


Everyone has clearer thoughts are making discussions. During the discussion lasted for more than one month, Yangpu District has collected 588 opinions and suggestions. “Yangpu District should construct a comprehensive and open innovation center. It is an important pivot in global innovation network and a core place of origin for scientific inventions in the world,” said Xiao Lin, Director of Development Research Center of Shanghai Municipal Government, who provides framework thoughts. “Construction for science and technology innovation center shouldn’t be overlapping of ‘quantity’, but creation for ‘quality’. Yangpu District should build large-scale platforms for university-industry-institute alliance and create innovative ‘soil’ and mechanism,” academician Chu Junhao also gave suggestions to Yangpu District.


Several opinions were absorbed in the modified version of “Opinions of Implementation”. This document has clarified “three strategic constructions” for Yangpu District: construction for a demonstration area for popular innovation, construction for a knowledge-based and technology-based area, and construction for a cluster area for technology transfer. It also confirmed a space layout of “core area in the West, enhancement area in the central and strategic area in the East”, and an industrial layout with three levels: “Internet +” technological service, knowledge-based modern service sector and smart manufacturing sector.


The schedule has been clear: By the end of 2016, Yangpu District would complete the basic layout for constructing an important bearing area for Shanghai Science andTechnologyInnovationCenter. To correspond to the construction for Shanghai Science andTechnologyInnovationCenter, Yangpu District would complete a framework for the important bearing area and construct an urban area for innovation and entrepreneurship with nationwide influence before 2020. The specific objectives include: encourage another 200 enterprises to be listed on the market, and introduce 30 multinational corporations with the function of head office, corporate head offices inAsiaand research institutes to settle in Yangpu District. In 2030, Yangpu District will become “an important area in global innovation network” and complete construction for an innovation and entrepreneurship urban area with global influence inShanghai.


“More specific and practical suggestions would be taken in detailed regulations and specific policies,” said Han Guobiao, Director of Policy Research Office of Yangpu District Party Committee.


Create environment with the thoughts of innovators and business starters


In this “Opinions of Implementation”, a policy about “capital guarantee” has attracted wide attention: “In the next three years, the government would allocate 1 billion yuan to establish various kinds of mother funds and stock participation funds, and stimulate transformation and industrialization of research findings of universities, research institutes and military units by attracting more social investment.”


“Construction for important bearing area for science and technology innovation center is a systematic engineering project. We should stimulate the vitality of various subjects and elements of innovation, and the government should create good environment for achieving this goal,” said Han Guobiao. But environment creation requires the assessment of innovation and entrepreneurship subjects. To newly-established small and medium-sized enterprises, they often have difficulties in financing, and it is difficult to give play to the role of supporting funds. On the one hand, in the past, the conditions set by the government made enterprises difficult to benefit from the policy; on the other hand, it is also inappropriate for the government to interfere in market behaviors too frequently.


Many people mentioned the issue of input of government funds in the discussion. “Investment at early stage is risky and has long term. For this reason, commercial institutions tend to make profits through short-term investment,” said Han Wei, Vice General Manager of Qidi Hi-tech Park Incubator. Looking at overall development and long-term effects, he hoped that the government would make greater investment and play a long-term role, but meanwhile, “complete allocation of resources through the market.”


After considering suggestions from various parties, Yangpu District has determined to “invest in 1 billion yuan within three years.” It is worthwhile to notice that the government’s investment will not be discounted with resources of venues, e.g. “rent”. All investment will be used as angel investment guidance funds. By doing so, the government hopes to raise the scale of social funds from 7.5 billion yuan to 10 billion yuan. “The difficulty lies in mechanism for exit. We hope to compile a method to enable transfer of original value to other shareholders of angel investment within five years, so as to stimulate the dynamics of social capital and give play to the lever enlarging effect of financial capital.”


After making the discussion, Yangpu District has more clearly realized that environment creation requires the thoughts of innovative business starters. Business starters need venues for entrepreneurship with low cost and complete elements. Yangpu District has abundant resources for creating “spaces for entrepreneurship”, such as idle old factory buildings and historical old communities. Yangpu District will make great efforts to build innovation and entrepreneurship zones in Knowledge& Innovation Community, onEast Guoding RoadandChangyang Road. Yangpu District will accelerate to transform government functions, simplify policies, release power and further clarify the relation between government and market for solving the problems of investment by enterprises, difficulty for people to start up business and difficulty of transferring research findings. “The government should focus on guiding market and strengthening service, and re-realize and make adjustment on its working procedures and service patterns.” 

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