Science park looks to strengthen its international presence and support emerging industries

Zhongguancun Science Park is boosting its efforts to enhance its international presence and influence.

It envisions further cementing its

foothold in the international market and aims to be a global influential innovation hub.

The park, also known as Z-Park, was established in 1988. It was the first science park and first national innovation demonstration center in China.

With over two decades of development, Z-Park has expanded to cover an area of 488 square kilometers, including 16 subparks. Continuous achievements in innovation have built Z-Park into a dynamic center for innovation and entrepreneurship, and the birthplace for emerging industries in China.

In a bid to help local companies strengthen their international presence, the park has revealed its latest plan.

It aims to improve its international branding, administration and services, attract more foreign companies to the park and encourage more local companies to "go overseas".

In a bid to realize its ambitions, the park aims to attract more top international talent, and it will further improve and extend its services and tailor them to enterprises, including upgrading its management policies to support international projects.

More training aimed at boosting companies' international presence and broadening entrepreneurs' international horizons are also in the pipeline.

And the park's administrative committee will partner with more international organizations.

Last year, local companies applied for 3,356 international patents under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, a rise of 40.4 percent compared with 2014.

There were also a growing number of mergers and acquisitions in the park. In 2015, 492 M&As were completed, up from 218 in 2014. The total value of the companies involved was 183.4 billion yuan ($28.1 billion), up 40.7 percent from the previous year.

Among them, 36 were M&As involving overseas companies, 15 more than in 2014. The disclosed value was 52.55 billion yuan, up 45.4 percent.

Local companies merged with or acquired 12 UK companies, 10 US companies and eight companies from the Hong Kong special administrative region.

According to Luo Wei, head of the overseas development arm, Zhongguancun Development Group, a group owned by Z-Park that aids the development of local companies, a 6,900-square-meter innovation center for Z-Park will also be opened in Silicon Valley in the United States this year.

It will be a spearhead for local companies to find a foothold in the US and "go global".

"It will meet the diverse demands from enterprises in Zhongguancun and serve their overseas expansion," he said.

Since 2012, the overseas incubators, innovation and technology transfer centers operated by the group have been launched in the US, Canada, Finland and Israel.

The group has also joined hands with China-born scientist Zhang Shousheng at Stanford University to establish a startup investment fund of $912.5 million.

To date the fund has invested in 20 projects with a combined capital of $250 million.

International conference host

Last year, the 32nd Word Conference of International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovations was hosted by Z-Park, the third time it has hosted the event.

During the bidding in 2014, Milan was very competitive because the World Expo was held in the Italian city last year and local authorities said it had a strong competitive edge and hoped to host the expo and the IASP event concurrently.

However, Z-Park finally won the right to host the event; its "winning card" being the "top-notch services" it offers enterprises.

Zhou Guolin, deputy head of the administrative committee, reiterated during the last round of bidding, "Our strongest advantage and focus is offering services to global high-tech enterprises. If the IASP world conference could be held in the Z-Park in 2015, we could lead at least 500 leading Z-Park enterprises and bridge them with foreign science and technological parks."

The IASP's conference in Beijing last September lived up to expectations.

Luis Sanz, IASP director general, said he was impressed by the significant advancement of Z-Park and China. "The area represents the extraordinary change and growth that has taken place in China over the last 20 years," he said.

He further noted that led by Z-Park, China's science and technology parks not only attract multinationals, but also act as a bridge for "Innovated in China" products and Chinese enterprises to the world.

After taking part in the event and visiting the park, Ulf Borbos, Sweden-based CEO of the Movexum incubator, said that Z-Park, "China's Silicon Valley", represented the highest level of China's science sector, which is making its contribution to global innovation.

Yin Weidong, CEO of Nasdaq-listed Sinovac Biotech and president of the association of listed firms in Z-Park, said: "Z-Park has seen strong momentum in investment for listed companies. Supported by government funds and driven by the investment in listed companies there, the park's sound capital input is expected to provide an impetus for China's strategic emerging industries and China's industrial transformation."

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Logos of the Innovation Center of Zhongguancun Science Park in Silicon Valley, United States.

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The headquarters of Microsoft in Z-Park. A total of 99 Fortune 500 companies have a presence in the park.

Zhongguancun a key hub in global innovation network

The 32nd World Conference of the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovations was held in the Z-Park last September. Luis Sanz, IASP director general, hosted the event. photos provided to china daily

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Nobel prize winner George Fitzgerald Smoot pays a visit to InnoWay Street, a concentration of startup firms and incubators.

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The Zhongguancun International Startup Festival and Shengjing Global Innovation Awards was hosted in the autumn.

Zhongguancun a key hub in global innovation network

(China Daily 03/05/2016 page7)

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