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China Daily / 2021-06 / 24 / Page012

Chengdu's high-tech zone a hub for innovation

By YUAN SHENGGAO | China Daily | Updated: 2021-06-24 00:00

As part of the first group of national-level high-tech zones and the first national independent innovation demonstration zone in western China, the Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone is speeding up the implementation of scientific and technological breakthroughs. It is also aiming to become a world-class park for innovation and tech.

On June 15, the first group of six projects under the zone's Minshan action plan was launched.

The six projects are titled the Chengdu Minshan Hydrogen Energy and Carbon Neutral Technology Research Institute, the Chengdu Minshan Comprehensive Positioning Navigation Timing Technology Research Institute, the Chengdu Minshan Power Semiconductor Technology Research Institute, the Chengdu Minshan Microelectronics Advanced Packaging and Testing Technology Research Institute, the Chengdu Minshan Cell Engineering Technology Research Institute and the Chengdu Minshan West China Medical Surgical Robot Technology Research Institute.

The Chengdu high-tech zone will give about 450 million yuan ($69.4 million) in funding for the first six projects, with the highest among given to a single project reaching nearly 100 million yuan.

The list for the second batch of 12 new research and development institutions was also released. It covers broadband communication networks, flexible electronics, brain science, synthetic biology, digital twins and other emerging fields.

In January, the Chengdu high-tech zone launched the Minshan action plan and released the first group of 14 demand lists in such areas as power semiconductors, optoelectronic integration, terahertz, cell engineering and industrial internet. Together, the fields have attracted 92 application teams, including 18 teams led by academicians.

Focusing on technological advancement, the prospect of industrialization and the feasibility of implementation, the zone has signed agreements with a team led by Yang Hanshuo, director of the cell engineering research office of the State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy at Sichuan University, as well as a group led by Li Kang, director of the artificial intelligence and medical robotics laboratory at the West China Hospital at Sichuan University.

Yang's team has brought together 11 well-known experts from China and Japan, relying on platforms such as the State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy at Sichuan University, which ranks first in the country among the same type of national laboratories that develop stem cells, immune cells, organoids and similar tissues.

Research on advanced cell medicines, cutting-edge technologies and innovative treatment plans to improve clinical efficacy and reduce clinical treatment costs, have created an internationally advanced and domestic leading cell and gene therapy industry cluster.

Li said the research institute will focus on the technical direction of the medical robot industry and make breakthroughs in the registration and spatial mapping technology of medical robots.

The six outstanding projects were initiated by core leaders in the industry, supported by top innovation platforms, capable of making breakthroughs in key core technologies, and possessing good industrialization prospects, leaders in the zone said.

Optimizing the business environment

In recent years, the Chengdu high-tech zone has continued to optimize the environment for innovation and entrepreneurship, which has provided a solid foundation for cultivating high-growth enterprises represented by eagles, unicorns and gazelles.

Located in the Chengdu Tianfu International Biological City, West-Vac Biopharma has benefited from the strong innovation and entrepreneurial ecology of the zone, achieving nearly 200 times its asset leverage during the past 10 months.

WestVac Biopharma was registered and established in July 2020. It was founded by a team headed by academician Wei Yuquan, director of the State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy of West China Hospital of Sichuan University. It is committed to multiple products such as new coronavirus vaccines, influenza virus vaccines, tumor vaccines and cell therapy.

The Chengdu high-tech zone paid close attention to the vaccine research progress of Wei's team when the pandemic broke out last year.

It carried out the achievement transformation and business incubation work in advance, which directly promoted the establishment of WestVac Biopharma.

At the same time, the Chengdu high-tech zone has helped WestVac Biopharma to grow rapidly and promote the company to achieve a big leap to IPO.

On June 8, Olymvax Biopharmaceuticals Inc, an enterprise in the zone, was officially listed on the Science and Technology Innovation Board.

To date, the number of listed companies on the Science and Technology Innovation Board in the zone has reached five.

Olin Biotechnology was born in the Chengdu high-tech zone.

The company has benefited from the zone's strong business environment, innovation and entrepreneurship, policy support, professionals and refined services, according to the company.

Innovation ecology

Leading the construction of industrial functional zones with an industrial ecosystem is a major change in the urban economic organization, and it is also key support for entering a new stage to promote high-quality development and improve the level of modern governance.

The high-quality development of the regional economy is inseparable from strengthening the industrial chain and supplementing the chain around local transformation.

On June 9, the AI computing center project was launched in Chengdu. The first group of 15 eco-partners signed contracts and 15 electronic information industry ecosphere projects were signed in a concentrated manner.

The project is jointly constructed by Chinese technology giant Huawei and the Chengdu high-tech zone, which will create a world-leading new-generation AI computing platforms.

Deng Taihua, vice-president of Huawei, said, "The construction of the Chengdu Artificial Intelligence Computing Center project is an important measure for Chengdu to implement the AI development strategy and will become an important driving force for Chengdu's technological innovation and digital economy development."

During the event, the first batch of 15 ecological partners including Southwest Jiaotong University, Sichuan Changhong Electric Holding Group, CCIC, Jouav and Koala Uran signed contracts to settle in the center.

An official in charge of the Chengdu Artificial Intelligence Computing Center said the start of the project and the entry of ecological partners signify that Chengdu has entered a new and important stage in promoting the construction of a new-generation of AI innovation and a development experimental zone.

The first batch of eco-partners to settle in the zone includes various fields of industry, academia, and research, which are conducive to the rapid formation of an AI industry "innovation chain, talent chain, and value chain" in Chengdu, he said.


Representatives attend the signing ceremony of the 15 electronic information industry ecosphere projects in the Chengdu. CHINA DAILY



The list for the second batch of 12 new R&D institutions is released in the Chengdu high-tech zone. CHINA DAILY



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