China wants to add about 50 high-tech zones by 2030, promising to continue to provide support and investment. The government credits these industrial development sites with fueling the country’s GDP and achieving “breakthroughs” in quantum computing and 5G communications.
Currently, there are 173 high-tech zones in the country, 84 of which were created in the last decade alone. The goal is to increase their number to 220 by the end of the government’s 14th Five-Year Plan in 2025, the Science and Technology Ministry said at a press conference. These sites will cover most prefectures in eastern China, as well as major prefectures in central and western China.
High-tech zones provided 13.4% of the country’s GDP in 2021, while using only 2.5% of the country’s building land, according to a report by China Daily released on Thursday. Construction projects generated 15.3 trillion yuan ($2.2 trillion) of GDP last year, up from 5.4 trillion yuan ($775.77 billion) in 2012.
Leading research centers and companies
They also host 78% of China’s national technology innovation centers and 84% of key government laboratories, including federally funded universities and research centers. The technology zones are home to over 4,400 research institutes employing over 5.63 million researchers.
Last year, more than 115,000 high-tech companies were located in these zones, compared to less than 20,000 in 2012. Total exports from these zones accounted for 24.4% of the country’s total exports last year, compared to just 3.2% in 2012.
In addition, 97 high-tech zones recorded 100 billion yuan ($14.37 billion) in revenue last year, up from 54 in 2012, said Li Yuping, deputy director of the Industrial Development Center. Technology.
He added that these sites collectively spent more than 1 trillion yuan ($143.66 billion) on research and development last year.
Breakthroughs in Quantum Computing and 5G
Li Yuping said that several breakthroughs have been made in the field of high technology, including quantum computing, satellite navigation and 5G communications. He noted that China’s first artificial intelligence (AI) chip, as well as the first quantum communication satellite, were developed by scientists and companies working in high-tech fields.
He added that more than 2,200 foreign research institutes have been established in the zones, 77% of which are implementing policies aimed at stimulating globalization.
“These areas will become the vanguard of high-quality development and further promote China’s transformation into a center of science and technology,” said Li Yuping.
Areas that resist
Wu Jiaxi, deputy director of regional research and innovation commercialization of the Ministry of Science and Technology, said high-tech zones remain risk-tolerant and able to achieve growth despite global market uncertainty in recent years.
Wu added that the government will continue to provide “political support” and increase investment in key areas, including digital technology, energy and biopharmaceuticals. For example, Changsha High-Tech Zone in Hunan province will invest 1 billion yuan ($143.66 million) over the next three years to develop local talent, he said.
He noted that tax breaks and product marketing assistance would also be offered to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Among the current 173 high-tech zones, there is the Chengdu High-tech Industrial Development Zone, which generated a gross regional product of 280.06 billion yuan ($40.23 billion) last year with an annual growth rate of 11.1%. Established in 1988, the site also includes the Singapore-Sichuan High-Tech Innovation Park, jointly developed by Singapore and Sichuan and focused on the development of 5G, artificial intelligence, big data and network security.