Jiangsu city charts hi-tech future

08:22, February 24, 2010      

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Wuxi, one of China's top 10 cities as ranked by GDP in 2009, hopes to transition from a manufacturing hub to a hi-tech city by expanding cooperation with domestic and overseas businesses.

As a major city in the Yangtze River Delta, Wuxi, Jiangsu province, landed 12 new projects last month including those in electronic information, biopharmaceutics, new energy and materials and outsourcing, totaling 715.7 million yuan.

Wuxi's development district has already inked an agreement with consumer electronics maker Beijing Huaqi Information Digital Technology Co Ltd, to invest 30 million yuan in a hi-tech manufacturing base.

Beijing Huaqi, maker of Aigo branded electronics, plans to locate its MP6 wireless technology unit in Wuxi.

"Wuxi is one of China's bases for the 'Internet of Things' industry. This is one of the major reasons we chose to locate here," said Frank Zhou, general manager of Beijing Huaqi's MP6 business unit.

The "Internet of Things" is a network of web-enabled objects linked together with online services that interact with these objects. Underlying the Internet of Things are technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID), sensors and smart phones.

The Internet fridge is probably the most often-quoted example of what the Internet of Things will enable.

Zhou said Beijing Huaqi hopes to leverage Internet of Things technologies in association with its closely related MP6 business.

Beijing Huaqi expects its MP6 business - focused on the firm's Internet music player - to generate revenue of 2 billion yuan over the next three years. Zhou said the company is eying both Hong Kong and New York as possible future locations for an initial public offering.

Just last year, Wuxi formed new alliances with telecom carriers China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, to cooperate in research and development, project incubation and other commercial applications.

Meanwhile, one Wuxi company has reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding with France's Accor Services to set up a joint venture in the city focused on its prepaid services business, which provide employee benefits and outsourcing services.

Accor Services is one of two business units of the French parent company, Accor Group. The company plans to explore markets outside major cities.

"Wuxi is not the same as Shanghai or Beijing, so by localizing our business here we can learn the proper way to establish ourselves in similar markets," said Johann Suchon, deputy general manager of Accor Services China, adding that the company may also benefit from the city's support for the outsourcing industry.

According to the local government, Wuxi intends to increase service outsourcing industry revenue from $30 billion to $40 billion by 2020, and employ over 1 million people.

To achieve its goal, Wuxi launched a series of measures to develop its talent pool.

The government is offering outsourcing companies a one-time rebate of 4,000 yuan for each graduate hired, while program graduates will each receive 1,000 yuan as a subsidy.

Source: China Daily
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