Guangdong’s Shenzhen is expected to stir up a new wave of technological innovation which will allow the city to play a bigger role in driving China’s high quality growth.
The city has accelerated the setup of R&D innovation organisations. Local government and Shenzhen-based Huawei teamed up on Monday to jointly establish a national industrial innovation centre, while Guangdong province last week announced it was establishing a new provincial-level laboratory for artificial intelligence and the digital economy in Shenzhen.
These centres and labs will focus on both new technology studies and the transformation of scientific research as they unite universities, companies and major technology equipment providers, such as the National Super computing Center in Shenzhen.
A plan released in August by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council said it is supporting the city in building a comprehensive State-level science centre, as well as innovation incubators in the fields of 5G, AI, internet science and technology, life information and biomedicine.
The city is already leading in technology innovation in terms of patent volumes. The number of World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) filings from Shenzhen-based companies reached 18,000 in 2018, ranking it first in China for the 15th straight years and putting it on a par with Germany in the number of filings.
Emerging industries have become the main battlefield in new technologies.
In terms of patent application filers, Shenzhen-based telecoms giant Huawei ranks first and ZTE stands fifth. The local government said the city’s 5G-related PCT ranks first among major innovation cities worldwide.
The city’s startups are also shining in the international market. Sales of Shenzhen-based startup Arashi Vision Co’s 360-degree camera have surged sharply.
“In the first half of 2019, our sales volume doubled and our Insta 360 panoramic camera accounted for about 85 percent of the global market,” said Liu Jingkang, the firm’s founder and chief executive officer.
He added the company has caught up with GoPro, one of the world’s most popular sports cameras, and climbed to the top of the professional panoramic camera market.
The firm’s products are sold in more than 3,500 stores in about 150 countries and regions and about 80 percent of its revenue comes from overseas, primarily the United States, Europe and Japan.
The high level of technological innovation and product quality helped the company win customers in the global market. About 10 percent of its revenue went into research and development last year.
The gross domestic product of the city in the first half recorded a year-on-year increase of 7.4 percent to 1.2 trillion yuan ($176 billion), data released from the Guangdong Provincial Statistics Bureau said.
The high-tech industry is one of the biggest contributors. In the first half of 2019, the output value of the city’s high-tech industry hit more than 1 trillion yuan, up by 11 percent over the same period of last year, and its added-value surged more than 12 percent, the data showed.
Exports reached 757.14 billion yuan in the first six months, up 5.1 percent from the same period of last year. Trade volume with Belt & Road Countries and regions rose 5.7 percent.
In the last 40 years, Shenzhen has transformed itself from a fishing village to an international innovation city, said Mao Yanhua, Deputy Director of Sun Yat-sen University’s Institute for Free Trade Zone Research. Its future tasks are high-quality development and to tackle rapidly changing trading environments, he noted.