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Sci-tech Innovation
 
 
 
The “Third Opportunity” for Yangpu: Science and T...
By Yu Kai


Yangpu District started to transform from an old industrial base to a knowledge-based district since 2003. In 2010, Yangpu District stepped on the road of innovation-driven transformation and development. Now in the document, “22 Items for Constructing Science and Technology Innovation Center with Global Influence” promulgated by Shanghai Municipal Government, Yangpu District is positioned as “an important bearing area for Shanghai Science and Technology Innovation Center and a demonstration district of popular innovation with influence at home and abroad”, and faces its third important opportunity for development.


Zhuge Yujie, Yangpu District Party Chief, accepted the reporter’s interview of Oriental Daily and said that “Shanghai is constructing a science and technology innovation center with global influence. Yangpu District is close to the downtown area of Shanghai, and it is a district with practical foundation. It is our responsibility to contribute our efforts.”


57 academicians of Two Institutes live and work in Yangpu District.


Oriental Daily: What kind of resources and basic conditions does Yangpu District have while Shanghai is constructing for a science and technology innovation center with global influence?


Zhuge Yujie: Yangpu District has abundant resources for science, technology and innovation. There are 10 universities in Yangpu District. The proportion of undergraduate students and postgraduate students in Yangpu accounts for 20% and 30% respectively in Shanghai. They are the most precious human resources for Yangpu District. There are 22 state-level engineering technology centers and labs in Yangpu District, accounting for 11% in Shanghai; there are 33 state-level and municipal-level engineering labs in Yangpu District, accounting for 22% in Shanghai. In other words, among all municipal-level and state-level labs in Shanghai, one-fifth of them are located in Yangpu District. 57 academicians of “Two Institutes” live and work in Yangpu District. Among all academicians of “Two Institutes” in Shanghai, one-third of them are in Yangpu District, and Yangpu District has attracted 11% of academicians nationwide to live and work here. That is to say, in China, in every one hundred academicians of “Two Institutes”, 4 live and work in Yangpu District. This proportion is high. Yangpu District has 135 talents under the “One Thousand Talents” Plan of China. Among all talents under this plan, one-fifth of them live and work in Yangpu District. There are 20 university science and technology parks in Yangpu District, and 7 are state-level. Among all state-level university science and technology parks in Shanghai, 50% are in Yangpu District. Yangpu District also has large area for undertaking innovation and entrepreneurship, with nearly 2 million square meters.


Important bearing area for science and technology innovation center


Oriental Daily: What roles will Yangpu District play for constructing Shanghai Science and Technology Innovation Center?


Zhuge Yujie: Shanghai Municipal Party Committee and Shanghai Municipal Government have made clear positioning for Yangpu District: build an important bearing area for science and technology innovation center and become a demonstration area of popular innovation with domestic and global influence. Yangpu people feel excited when they face such an important opportunity. Yangpu District seems to be distant to the four old centers of Shanghai (economic, financial, trade and shipping centers), but the district has practical foundation for constructing a science and technology innovation center with global influence. We should shoulder this responsibility and contribute our efforts to it. Yangpu District Party Committee has made five objectives in this year: Take opportunities for constructing science and technology innovation center. Implement the No.1 Subject of Shanghai Municipal Government. Strengthen the efforts of infrastructure construction. Describe a blueprint for the “Thirteenth Five-Year-Plan”. Govern the Party with strict rules. 


Tightly grasp the third opportunity for Yangpu District


Oriental Daily: Shanghai is constructing for a science and technology innovation center with global influence, what does it mean to Yangpu District?


Zhuge Yujie: Yangpu District used to be an old industrial base of Shanghai. Since Shanghai started to make transformation for the city and readjust its industrial structure, in 2003, Shanghai Municipal Government gave an important positioning to Yangpu District: a district for knowledge and innovation. Since then, Yangpu District started to transform from an industrial base to a knowledge-based district. Yangpu District faced its second important opportunity in 2010. Ministry of Science and Technology named Yangpu District as a national innovation-oriented pilot urban area. At that time, there were only 20 innovation-oriented areas in China, and only one of them was located in Shanghai. In 2003, our local fiscal revenue was only 1.1 billion yuan, in 2010, this figure was 5 billion yuan, and at the end of 2014, this figure increased to 8.5 billion yuan. We have achieved a rapid economic growth. These two transformations played an important role in our economic growth. Now Shanghai is constructing a science and technology innovation center with global influence. Yangpu District should grasp this precious third opportunity tightly like it has grasped two opportunities previously.


Recently I’m considering that we should grasp three issues tightly for constructing a science and technology innovation center. First, we should grasp its essence and ideology. Innovation is not merely the result of good management, but also the result of opening up. Opening-up provides dynamics and support. We should adhere to the principles of “liberation of thoughts and seek truths from facts”. Second, grasp the core for the important bearing area of science and technology innovation center. This core is to create environment and establish mechanism. Third, grasp the positioning of Yangpu District determined by Shanghai Municipal Government and Shanghai Municipal Party Committee: demonstration area of popular innovation, and build an important bearing area for Shanghai Science and Technology Innovation Center.


Attract high-end talents with the “3310 Plan”


Oriental Daily: In the “22 Items”, it suggests to construct and initiate a popular entrepreneurship pattern for college students and create atmosphere for “popular innovation and entrepreneurship”. What specific measures has Yangpu District made to encourage college students and teachers to start up business, attract innovation talents at home and abroad and accelerate transformation of scientific research findings?


Zhuge Yujie: We have constructed an innovation and entrepreneurship service chain with the structure of “before entrepreneurship-entrepreneurship nursery-incubator-accelerator” to provide business starters with free consultation services by experts on many aspects, e.g. zero-cost entrepreneurship, low cost entrepreneurship, capital guidance, connection and all-round assistance to entrepreneurship. 


Yangpu District has also make exploration on talents. We have compiled a “3310” Plan for returned overseas talents. Our overall objective is to construct a state-level innovation and entrepreneurship base for returned high-end overseas talents. In other words, we will implement a “Thousands and Millions of Talents” Project, a talents environment project and a project for developing pillar industries clusters, realize three objectives and promulgate ten policies to support these objectives.


Yangpu District would give substantial amount of subsidy to business starters based on the results of evaluation for their business startups projects. The place where an enterprise registered would provide the business starter with office buildings covering 50~200 square meters and subsidies on rents. If an enterprise has insufficient funds during the process of industrialization and manufacturing for hi-tech products, the government would provide the enterprise with a credit loan of 2 million yuan to the maximum for two years after making assessment on the enterprise. Enterprises conforming to development direction of industries and have potential for growth would get interests subsidy of 5 million yuan to the maximum within two years. If a start up business obtaining focused support from the government failed to achieve success, the owner of this entrepreneurship project, who has contributed 30% of the total business startups funds in cash, would get a subsidy of entrepreneurship risks with 1 million yuan to the maximum. If a business starter has purchased house in Yangpu District, he could get 500,000 yuan to the maximum as house-purchasing subsidies based on the results of evaluation on his business startup project, or get 100,000 yuan from the government as subsidies for rents for three years. Talents under the “One Thousand Talents” Plan by the Central Government could get 2 million yuan to the utmost as subsidies for purchasing house. Though Yangpu District does not have powerful financial power, the district government is willing to provide financial support to business starters.


Zhuge Yujie: “In 2003, Shanghai Municipal Party Committee and Shanghai Municipal Government positioned Yangpu District as a district for knowledge innovation. Since then, Yangpu District started to transform from an industrial base to a knowledge-based district. In 2010, Ministry of Science and Technology named Yangpu District as a national innovation-oriented pilot urban area in China. At this time, Shanghai is constructing a science and technology innovation center with global influence, and Yangpu District should tightly grasp this third precious opportunity for development.”


The “3310” Plan attracts three outstanding graduates of Tsinghua University to start up business in Yangpu District.


Gu Jing, who is selected to “The Thousand Talents Plan” by the Central Government, and Wang Yi, Lin Hui, who are co-founders of the “Speak Fluent English” App, are classmates graduated from Department of Electronic Engineering of Tsinghua University in 1999. They went to the United States for further study at the same time, and got PhD degrees from renowned universities in U.S. Now they choose to start up business in Yangpu District, Shanghai, and are known as three outstanding graduates of Tsinghua University.


In 1999, Gu Jing, Wang Yi and Lin Hui became students in Department of Electronic Engineering, Tsinghua University, and Gu Jing and Wang Yi are classmates. After getting a bachelor degree and master degree in six years, Gu Jing chose to study abroad and enrolled in School of Applied Science in Harvard University. Wang Yi became a student in Department of Computer Science in Princeton University, and Lin Hui went to Department of Electronics of Washington University for getting a doctoral degree.


While studying for a doctoral degree in U.S, Gu Jing focused on studying ultra-high resolution signal and developed a color dispersion matrix technology. This technology could significantly enhance the resolution and contrast ratio of images and maintain color saturation without altering the minimum size of sub-pixels. Gu Jing thought that if he could industrialize his research results, this technology could be applied on several kinds of screens, including mobile phone screen. The market for mobile phone is huge in China, and he determined to return to China for starting up business after graduation.


As for why he chose to register his company in Yangpu District, Gu Jing has reasons: Yangpu District is close to the downtown area of Shanghai and there are many renowned universities here, creating good environment for innovation and entrepreneurship. According to the government’s “3310” Plan for supporting high-end overseas talents to make innovation and entrepreneurship, Gu Jing got 1 million yuan as the starting fund for entrepreneurship, and moved in an 80-square-meter’s apartment. The monthly rent for the apartment is only 400-odd yuan.


Wang Yi is inspired by his classmates’ success in business startups. He returned to Shanghai in April 2011 and joined Yi Media Co. In Yi Media, Wang Yi discovered the huge market potential for English learning on mobile Internet. “I came up with an idea. People are willing to sing on mobile phone. It’s also possible that they would like to practice spoken English on mobile phone.” Wang contacted to Lin Hui, his classmate in Tsinghua University, who develops speech recognition technology for Google, and confirmed from him that it is possible to give scores for spoken English on mobile terminal. Wang took actions immediately.


“Gu Jing does a good job in Yangpu District. The policies and services there are practical.” In May 2013, Shanghai Liulishuo Information Technology Co., Ltd was registered in Fudan Science Park in Yangpu District. At the end of 2013, “Speak Fluent English”, an APP developed by the entrepreneurship team, was awarded by Apple as an “App Store Essence” in China, and was installed on all sample mobile phones in Apple stores. In June 2014, the company received A-round financing worthy of ten millions dollars. 


Like Gu Jing, Wang Yi also succeeded in applying for a Class-A support from the “3310” Plan in Yangpu District.

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