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Clusters driving Changsha's push for global recognition

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BEIJING, Dec. 22, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A report from China Daily:

Leveraging its business-friendly environment, abundant resources and advanced manufacturing clusters, Changsha city in Central China’s Hunan province is ramping up efforts to build a global research and development center and create an ecosystem for shared development of sci-tech innovation and high-quality growth.


A panoramic view of Orange Island Park in Changsha, Hunan province.

Changsha encompasses six manufacturing industry clusters with an output value of more than 100 billion yuan ($13.93 billion), covering engineering machinery, automobiles and parts, new materials and electronic information. Other world-class research results of the city include super hybrid rice, supercomputers, the world’s largest all-terrain crane and several major national projects, including the Tianhe series of supercomputer, the world’s longest boom pump truck and the Jinghua shield tunneling machine.

Changsha is home to five of the world’s top 50 engineering machinery companies — Sany Heavy Industry, Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science and Technology, Sunward Intelligent Equipment Group, China Railway Construction Heavy Industry and Sinoboom — and its industrial scale has ranked first in the country for more than 10 consecutive years, with the variety of its engineering machinery products accounting for about 70 percent of China’s total.

With an industrial foundation that provides conditions for breaking through the core technologies and contributing to the construction of a global R&D base, Changsha boasts 323 core technologies — including 24 globally leading technologies or products and 40 independent controllable technologies or products in the industrial chain. As well, the city has 58 higher education institutions, including Central South University and Hunan University, 99 independent research institutes and more than 2,300 innovation platforms.

Fertile ground

Changsha has built an internationally leading algorithm innovation center, a national gathering area for the computing industry and an application demonstration base. As a major innovation platform strengthened by computing power, Xiangjiang Laboratory is based on the city’s rich computing resources and advanced computing infrastructure. As the fertile ground for innovation resources, the laboratory explores new development trends in cutting-edge technologies and advanced computing, as well as basic scientific theories of artificial intelligence.

The laboratory has established branches at National University of Defense Technology and six other universities, set up innovation centers in more than 40 entities such as Chinese search engine Baidu, and cooperated with enterprises such as Sugon and Wondershare to build R&D institutions.

"Up to now, Xiangjiang Laboratory has carried out innovative research in the fields of multimodal cognition, network fusion, intelligent robots, industrial operating systems and other related areas based on the cutting-edge theories and technologies of four computing elements: computing power, algorithms, data and networks," said Chen Xiaohong, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and director of Xiangjiang Laboratory. "It has implemented 58 scientific research projects and achieved a number of original and pioneering results."

To date, the laboratory has attracted the first group of 19 academician-led teams and launched 50 scientific research projects. Yuelu Mountain Laboratory, another key R&D institute in Changsha, has likewise achieved a number of major scientific and technological breakthroughs in leading the country and the world in sectors such as rice, rapeseed and pigs.

By 2025, Changsha will have an annual average growth rate of R&D investment of more than 13 percent, in addition to 2,600 innovation platforms, three national advanced manufacturing clusters and a total of 3.5 million talents.

Investment environment

Changsha’s actual use of foreign investment ranks first among Central China cities. It has attracted more than 180 Fortune Global 500 companies, while international companies like Continental AG, one of the world’s top five automotive parts suppliers, have established R&D centers. At the end of 2022, Continental AG’s first 5G digital super factory began operating in Changsha, and in April, the company’s intelligent manufacturing innovation center settled in the city.

"Changsha is a vibrant and energetic city, and its deep-rooted spirit of reform and innovation complements Continental AG. We hope to integrate into the global R&D innovation network with an open and innovative attitude in order to share more R&D resources and information in a broader scope," said Yang Chengzu, vice-president of Continental AG China.

With an improved business environment and industrial advantages, Changsha has attracted more and more young R&D talents. According to official data, Changsha saw China’s largest increase in permanent population in 2022, going up by 181,300 residents. Over the past decade, it has attracted a net inflow of 3.02 million people, 80 percent of whom are young.

Source : Clusters driving Changsha's push for global recognition

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