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Sci-tech Innovation
Yangpu District Attracts Young Entrepreneurs Grad...
By Yu Taoran and Intern Sun Jingtao

They are classmates graduated from Department of Electronic Engineering of Tsinghua University. 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. Recently, our reporter made an interview with these three graduates of Tsinghua: 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.

They determine to start up business in China for its huge market potential.

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, 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. Therefore, I determined to return to China for starting up business after graduation,” he said.

But in which city should he start up a new business? Gu Jing made careful consideration among three cities: Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. In his eyes, there are many renowned mobile phone screen manufacturers in Shanghai, and they could become his partners. Shanghai is also a city with abundant talent resources. There are so many engineers in the electronics sector. Now Gu Jing settled the head office of his Jingwei Electronic Technology Co., Ltd in Shanghai. The company also has branches in Beijing and Shenzhen.

As for why he chose to register a company in Yangpu District, Gu Jing has reasons: Yangpu District is in the vicinity of the downtown area of Shanghai. There are many universities here, and the atmosphere for innovation and business startups is good. Thanks 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. The supporting service of Yangpu District Innovation and Entrepreneurship Service Center for High-end Overseas Talents is also excellent. The Service Center often informs Gu Jing of the latest policies of the government. It also organizes various kinds of forums for young entrepreneurs, and assists Gu Jing to apply for medical service card.

Now several famous mobile phone manufacturers, e.g. Lenovo, ZTE, HTC and Sony, have become customers of Jingwei Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. The company provides low cost screen design programs and drive chips to mobile phone manufacturers. Gu Jing said that the company has applied for more than 20 patents covering Asia, the United States and Europe.
Practical policies for attracting makers to start up business in Shanghai

Wang Yi is inspired by his classmates’ success in business startups. After graduating from Princeton, Wang became an employee in the head office of Google. The salary is high, but he always wanted to return to China and start up his own business on Internet.

In April 2011, Wang Yi went to Shanghai and became an employee of Yi Media Company. In the company, he discovered the huge market potential of English learning on mobile Internet. “As far as I know, many white collars registered in English training class, but many people failed to attend the class regularly after registration. In the classroom, they only hear about foreign teachers talking jokes, but never speak English by themselves,” he said. On the “May 1” holiday in 2012, an APP named “Singing”, was popular among young people. The popularity of this APP inspired Wang Yi, “Suddenly 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 Yi soon started to take actions. He invited Lin Hui to resign from his position and start up a new business with him in Shanghai. He also invited Hu Zheren, a graduate of Jiaotong University, who works for Quantcast, a big data enterprise in U.S., to join them. “Gu Jing has done a good job in Yangpu District. The policies and services in Yangpu are practical.” On the telephone, Wang Yi persuaded Lin Hui to work for his company as a principal scientist. In May 2013, Shanghai Liulishuo Information Technology Ltd was registered in Fudan Hi-tech Park. Like Gu Jing, Wang Yi also succeeded in applying for a Class-A support from the “3310” Plan. As a father of two children, he moved in an apartment with three bedrooms and one living room. The monthly rent for the apartment is only 2,000 yuan.

The “Speak Fluent English” APP, which is developed by three Tsinghua graduates, takes the pattern of action games. Users practice spoken English by looking at the English sentences on mobile phone screen. The APP would give scores for users based on the precision of their pronunciation and tone. If the user has passed the exam, he/she could enter the next stage of learning. At the end of 2013, this APP 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. Recently, the company launched a “Fluent Academy” APP. It could give scores on users’ spoken Japanese and Korean.

Links: The upgraded version of the “3310” Talents Introduction Plan

The “3310” Plan of Yangpu District has three projects and three objectives:

1. Implement the “Millions and Ten Millions Talents” Project. By 2020, introduce 100 high-end talents at home and abroad, who have independent intellectual property rights and scientific research results, 1,000 outstanding talents at home and abroad from electronic information, environmental protection, energy saving and modern design sectors, and 10,000 international talents at various levels.
2. Implement talent environment project and achieve the goal of outstanding symbolized results.
3. Implement leading industrial cluster development project and fulfill the objective of clear representative industries. Support and incubate 20 hi-tech enterprises, knowledge-based, manufacture-based and service-oriented enterprises founded by high-end overseas talents. 

The “3310” Plan, which was implemented 5 years ago, only provides financial support to newly-started business at the beginning. Now the government is making an upgraded version for this plan, and plans to give more support to innovation-oriented enterprises that have passed the initial stage of establishment and are under rapid growth. The upgraded plan will also extend the scope of financial support. Not only talents returned from overseas, talents in China could also apply for financial support from the government.

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