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Sunday, March 12, 2000, updated at 11:08(GMT+8)


Xinhua: China's "Silicon Valley" - A Long Way to Go

Zhongguancun Science Park in western Beijing, renowned as China's "Silicon Valley", is expected to be turned into a world-class hi-tech development zone in accordance with a 10-year blueprint mapped out by Beijing Municipality.

Nevertheless, some people said the park still has a long, long way to go to achieve the goal, and one of them is Duan Yongji, general manager of the Zhongguancun Science & Technology Development Co. Ltd., who is a member of the Ninth National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), currently attending its third Session.

"The Silicon Valley of the United States boasts the most sophisticated technologies and hi-tech firms in the world, and contributes tremendously to transregional economy. The emergence of American booming economy is attributable largely to the valley, " Duan said.

In contrast, however, Zhongguancun is playing a much less role in local economy, and still less in national economy, Duan said. But he is convinced that the park will certainly be built into China's technological innovation and translation center in the new century.

"The park's greatest value rests, in this regard, on boosting national economy through technical innovation and translation of research findings into production, or to make fortunes out of knowledge-based economy and technology," he said.

Duan, ex-president of the famous privately-owned Stone Company and a tycoon in China's IT sector, has been hired to assume the existing post. In June of 1999, the State Council, China's cabinet, approved a proposal by the Beijing Municipal Government to speed up the park's development, expecting it to become the country's flagship in the sector of high technologies.

A saying that "China will look to Zhongguancun in the 21st century as it did to the south China open city of Shenzhen in the 1980s and Shanghai's new Pudong area in the 1990s" has become very popular and is on lips of most residents across the country.

Duan, known far and wide as "village head" of the park, now concerns himself greatly with matters pertaining to personnel, capital and culture business. "We have a force of 500,000 talents in the park, more qualified personnel than in the Silicon Valley. But why don't we make as many accomplishments?" he queried

Noting that "the crux of the matter concerns mainly policies," he said that "to fill and imbue the qualified personal with new vitality for creations, the most important thing is to enable them to take control of their of returns that have been earned from his innovations and pioneering work."

Hi-tech development is based on powerful economic strength. " The park's total output value is expected to exceed 600 billion yuan (72.3 billion US dollars) in 10 years' time. It means that the same amount of money should be injected into accordingly to breakdowns made by economists," he said, "But where does so much money come from?"

Duan suggested that special tax should be initiated and collected and relevant fund-pooling policies be adopted to attract private investment, in addition to the establishment of a risk investment system.

"It is also very important to have a pioneering culture in the course of developing the park into a worthy silicon valley," he acknowledged.

Duan submitted a proposal to the CPPCC session, calling for beefed up, joint efforts to turn the Chinese capital of Beijing into a center of innovations, and Shanghai into a center for translation of research findings into the relevant products, whereas Hong Kong is to serve as a center of banking business.

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