CHENGDU, China, Dec. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Amid a concrete jungle of steel and glass office towers, hotels, and apartment buildings, people relax under the myriad spots of shade. Many park their public bicycles neatly in a row. They're starting a day of work at the Chengdu Tianfu Software Park, a joint venture established by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) -- an American semiconductor company -- and its Chinese partner. It is located in the eponymous Chengdu, the frenetic capital of China's southwestern Sichuan province.
Today, the Chengdu branch of AMD is currently busy at work developing a brand new type of chip. And according to experts, this kind of domestically produced chip will eventually replace counterparts from foreign manufacturers. It will enable Chinese super computers to operate with even more functions than previously imagined, introducing higher compatibility with more software and platforms.
Chengdu Tianfu Software Park is the fastest-growing professional software industry park in China today. It opened its doors in 2005 and has since attracted nearly 250 tenants that include major corporations, of which foreign-funded enterprises account for 40 per cent of the total. Companies that are now operating there include IBM, SAP, NEC, GE, NCSI, Huawei, Alibaba, Maersk, Siemens, Ericsson, Tencent, WIPRO, and DHL.
Chengdu is an advantageous location for these companies because it has for a long time been a hub for science and technology innovation. International med-tech giant Medtronic and automotive behemoth Volvo are also jumping on the bandwagon.
In October this year, Medtronic announced the decision to construct its Centers for Therapeutic Innovation in Chengdu -- which is the company's third major project there. Medtronic has built more centers in Chengdu than anywhere else in China. Swedish car-maker Volvo plans to set up a factory in Chengdu to manufacture Polestar, its new generation of electric vehicles.
Science and technology are changing the fabric of Chengdu -- the city is increasingly becoming a more central part of the Chinese economy. Chengdu's development follows the phenomenon of the so-called new economy, when economic transformation is driven by hi-tech industries under the backdrop of globalization.
Fresh data from the government show that Chengdu is home to 24,369 science and technology enterprises, 965 research and development facilities of all kinds, and 31 potential unicorn companies. Last year, Chengdu's new economy industries were on track to grow by more than 10 per cent, while the value of hi-tech industries reached RMB 844.6 billion -- making it the city's pillar industry.
Major leaders of Chengdu Municipal Party Committee believe that other than emphasizing growth through developing hi-tech industry and innovation, the new economy should also stress partnerships between the government, academia, and enterprises. The government especially wants collaborations between academia and enterprises in research and development, to thoroughly transform the advantage of human resources advantage into the advantage of human capital.
Chengdu is home to 56 institutions of higher education, more than 30 national-level scientific research institutes, and 318 military industry companies and organizations. It has a rich reserve of human resource that includes nearly 5 million scientific and technological innovation talents.
According to information from a relevant official at the Chengdu Science and Technology Bureau, Chengdu has already signed strategic cooperation agreements with 13 higher education institutions. The institutions are both within and outside Sichuan province -- such as Peking University in Beijing and Sichuan University -- in order to foster entrepreneurship, incubate new projects, and reach new key research achievements.
The government member said that capital investment from higher education institutions and private funding has reached more than RMB 875 million. The government member also said that the area for innovation and incubation spaces now exceeds 500,000 square meters, and over 1,000 scientific and technological achievements from higher education institutions have been either transferred or commercialized.
Since reforms in household registration policies for talents rolled out in July, Chengdu has attracted more than 87,000 master's degree or otherwise secondary degree holders. It is estimated that about 15 per cent of those degrees are from Ivy League schools in the United States.
According to the 2017 Returned Chinese Employment and Entrepreneurship Survey Report, Chengdu has climbed its way to the number three spot for the most preferred cities for employment and entrepreneurship among Chinese who study or work abroad and then return to the country. It comes just after Beijing and Shanghai.
The Chinese government's active steps in attracting funding -- continual assembling distinguished talents, and putting innovation and entrepreneurship first -- along with relatively lower land and labor costs compared with cities like Beijing and Shanghai, are all crucial factors that may propel Chengdu forward as China's most ideal city for cultivating the new economy.