Home > Biz Express

Zhuhai takes lead in push for innovation, high-level economic growth


Zhuhai, a major coastal city in South China's Guangdong province, which has long been at the forefront of China's opening-up and reform, has vowed to develop its capacity to innovate to achieve a high-quality economic growth, said a senior city official.

"Zhuhai will undertake its responsibility in regional growth by implementing an innovation-driven development strategy and speeding up the construction of an innovative industry cluster to create a 'new Zhuhai' with new economic drivers and a better living environment," said Guo Yonghang, Party chief of Zhuhai, at a welcome speech for the fourth China-Israel Investment Summit on Monday.

The city hosted the summit on Monday and Tuesday to strengthen cooperation and communication between Chinese and Israeli businesses. The event, which has been held in Zhuhai for the past two years, plays a vital role in demonstrating the city's atmosphere for innovation and ability to attract premium innovative projects, according to government officials.

According to the event's organizers, more than 2,000 businesses, including more than 300 from Israel, participated in the 2018 summit. More than 5,000 guests including government officials, leading business representatives and academics also attended the event.

Representatives from leading Chinese companies such as home appliances manufacturer Gree and e-commerce platform Alibaba, and clinical information systems provider MetaVision from Israel, delivered presentations at the event.

"The China-Israel Investment Summit has become an important platform to promote the Belt and Road Initiative and strengthen China-Israel communication in technological, economic and trade sectors," Guo said.

New innovation hub

Zhuhai has set itself the goal of becoming an innovation hub in China's Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which consists of 11 cities, and an innovation-driven city by 2020, according to a three-year action plan for high-quality economic development released in early June.

The overall research and development input in Zhuhai will account for 4 percent of its GDP by 2020, increasing from 2.9 percent in 2017, according to the plan, which adds that by that time the city should be home to more than 1,800 high-tech companies. In order to achieve its goals the Zhuhai government has decided to implement a series of measures. Those include providing more support to technology-driven businesses, developing emerging industries, such as the next generation of information technology and high-end equipment manufacturing, deepening reform and implementing better talent policies to support the region and Guangdong's long-term economic growth, according to the local newspaper Nanfang Daily. Zhuhai, which neighbors Hong Kong and Macao, was approved by the central government to launch one of the first special economic zones in China in 1980.

An environment that spurs innovation continued to improve progressively over the following decades.

After 38 years' efforts, Zhuhai has successfully integrated all the supporting elements necessary for innovation under one roof, for instance, a convenient transportation and logistics network, fast-growing modern industries, an excellent residential environment and various trade facilitating platforms such as bonded zones and free trade zones.

When the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge opens to traffic, Zhuhai will be the only city on the Chinese mainland that is connected by a bridge with Hong Kong and Macao, Guo said.

"By then, the city will have a more prosperous future and huge development potential," he added.

With a well-established infrastructure, excellent geographical location and premium government services, Zhuhai is becoming more attractive as a place to settle and do business for innovative companies. Israel businesses such as MetaVision, Infinity Group and LR Group have already launched operations in Zhuhai.

"Zhuhai is close to Hong Kong and international ports," said Eran Miller, vice-president of business development at Israel's LR Group. "The weather is subtropical in Guangdong, and most importantly we have a great partner here." LR Group partnered with Zhuhai Agricultural Holding Group to develop a project named the China-Israel International Agricultural Technology Park.

Official figures show that Zhuhai was home to 1,478 national-level high-tech companies by the end of 2017, an increase of 87.8 percent year-on-year.

New innovation supports add to city's dynamism

Zhuhai is seeing more innovation support facilities being added to the map - additions that will strongly support the port city's industrial and upgrade plans.

The China-Israel Technology Innovation Intellectual Property Exchange Platform and Zhuhai's China-Israel Innovation-Driven Enterprises Alliance were launched in Zhuhai on Monday, during the 4th China-Israel Investment Summit.

The initiative, which was developed and is being operated in the city by Hengqin International Intellectual Property Exchange Center Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Huafa Group, focuses on promoting IP asset deals and technology transfers.

The company runs an international IP rights exchange housed in a building located in Hengqin Free Trade Zone in Zhuhai, only a short distance away from Hong Kong and Macao. Opened in 2016, it became a groundbreaking national trading platform for IP exchanges. Hengqin's trading platform serves as a global 'bazaar,' where patent owners find suitable buyers and companies can buy the right patents to help with their development.

"We want to develop a comprehensive service platform (in Zhuhai) that can provide a wide range of services such as legal services," said Xia Dexin, chairman of Hengqin International Intellectual Property Exchange Center.

Xia said the center will also help foreign businesses to better protect their IP rights.

The second new initiative - the Zhuhai's China-Israel Innovation-Driven Enterprises Alliance - was formed by 35 companies in Zhuhai, including leading home appliance developer and producer Gree Electric Appliances of Zhuhai. The alliance was established to promote high-quality economic development in the city, according to local media.

In addition to the commitment, a business accelerator project, named the China-Israel Accelerator, jointly invested in by China's Huafa Group and Israel's Infinity Group, celebrated its inauguration on July 1 in Zhuhai. The project, which covers 74,000 square meters, will involve a total investment of around 2 billion yuan ($30 million).