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Thursday, March 01, 2001, updated at 19:03(GMT+8)

High-Tech Industrial Businesses Mushroom in Pearl River Delta

South China's Pearl River Delta, formerly famed for traditional processing industries for daily-use industrial goods, textiles and garments, is now dotted by fast growing high-tech industrial businesses.

Key players of this high-tech delta are Shenzhen, Dongguan, Zhuhai, Nanhai and Shunde cities, with different focuses, according to Chen Shanru, director of the Guangdong Provincial Economic and Trade Commission.

Shenzhen, which faces Hong Kong across a river and is one of the country's five special economic zones, is the leader in high-tech industrial development in the delta.

Ranking first among major Chinese cities in terms of export volume for eight years running, Shenzhen exported US$34.5 billion worth of commodities last year, with the export of high-tech products up by 39.4 percent from the previous year.

Shenzhen has become China's most important window for transactions of high-tech achievements and international exchanges since 1999, when the first Shenzhen High-Tech Fair was held.

Shenzhen struck 189 deals at the second high-tech fair last October, 150 of which involved high-tech projects calling for a total investment of US$1.899 billion, accounting for 78.39 percent of the total investment for the 189 deals.

The arrival of famous international venture investment companies at the high-tech fair also enormously advanced the commercialization of high-tech achievements in Shenzhen.

While a group of Shenzhen's high-tech companies that produce commodities with their own intellectual property rights are busy launching processing businesses overseas, a processing zone to boost high-tech export is under construction in Shenzhen with the approval of the central government.

Dongguan City is now best known for processing of computer components in the world. There are now more than 2,800 businesses making computer components in the city, 60 percent of which are high-graded products sold around the world.

In the early years of China's reform and opening-up, businesses in Dongguan were companies that moved from Hong Kong engaging in traditional industries such as textiles, plastics and garment making.

While attracting internationally known high-tech companies from overseas, Dongguan has turned to overseas talent to develop high-tech industries.

As a result, export of high-tech products now account for 60 percent of Dongguan's total exports.

Zhuhai, which is the nearest mainland city to Macao and also one of the country's five special economic zones, has experienced fast growth in software business.

Starting from 1999, Zhuhai has been practicing preferential policies to attract universities and research institutions to extend campus or set up software development businesses in this southern Chinese city.

Zhuhai high-tech development zone, for instance, where businesses engaged in electronics, bio-engineering, photoelectric integration, new materials and new energy are distributed, is another popular destination for high-tech investors.

Currently, about 4,000 technical workers are engaged in professional software development in the city, and 240 businesses are engaged in software development, production, marketing and related services. The city reaped one billion yuan (about US$121 million) in the output value of software products last year.

Nanhai and Shunde cities have also become well-known bases for processing and export of high-tech commodities.

Though the Pearl River Delta has reached the middle stage of industrialization, efforts are needed for further adjustment and upgrading of industrial structure, said Director Chen Shanru of Guangdong Provincial Economic and Trade Commission.

Resources- and labor-intensive businesses should be moved out of the delta to make way for capital- and technology-intensive ventures, said Chen.

Tang Bingquan, vice-governor of Guangdong, said he hoped the province would earn 30 billion U.S. dollars from the export of high-tech products by the year of 2005, which will account for over 30 percent of the province's total export volume.

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South China's Pearl River Delta, formerly famed for traditional processing industries for daily-use industrial goods, textiles and garments, is now dotted by fast growing high-tech industrial businesses.

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