The Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) claimed the
top ranking among the country's scores of industrial parks for the
fifteenth year in a row. However, as China's oldest industrial
development zone, TEDA did not finish first again by mere chance.
"Championship is more than just being the best right now, it's about
investing to be the best tomorrow as well," TEDA Director He Shushan
noted, adding that ever since its creation in 1984, the park has never
rested on its laurels.
"For example, TEDA has built itself into one of the most technologically
advanced pieces of real estate in the world, offering out-of-the-box
solutions and blueprints for the next generation of investors," Shushan
TEDA beat about 90 rivals to top the rankings, which were published in
December. Awarded the top mark in the all important indicator of
economic soundness, TEDA was also ranked first for all sub-indicators,
including gross productivity, total industrial value, fiscal income and
actual use of foreign direct investment. The rankings were based on five
pillar categories: economic soundness; mechanism innovation; tech
innovation; social development; and eco-environment. TEDA was also
ranked first for mechanism innovation and placed among the top 5 in the
other three categories.
Since 2000 TEDA has officially made technology investment a priority.
Subsidies amounting to five percent of the zone's revenues have been
reinvested in tech infrastructure, a move that has produced over 2,500
Meantime, TEDA has offered grants worth millions of renminbi to incubate
a wide range of companies, including startups, growing companies and
And all that investment will pay off. By 2015 TEDA expects the value of
its electronics information industry to reach about 250 billion renminbi.
TEDA's innovations on behalf of its tenants also extend to pioneering
funding options. Under a new pilot program TEDA supports and boosts new-
and high-technology companies to use their patents, trademarks,
authorship rights and other intellectual property as collateral to apply
for what might be elusive bank-funding. Occasionally TEDA offers
matching grants as well.
One such beneficiary is Bonna-Agela Technologies Inc., a company that
serves chemists and biochemists in the fields of drug discovery, food
analysis, pharmaceutical testing, environmental analysis and chemical
research. he company received a loan of 10 million renminbi from the
Dalian Bank in 2010 through a patent-as-collateral lending arrangement.
In the first 11 months of 2012 alone, TEDA's pilot funding program has
attracted hundreds of financial institutions as partners and 38
companies have directly benefited from loans amounting to more than 293
Binhai Cloud Computing Park, with 500,000-server capacity, is another
flagship incubator and accelerator behind the zone's tremendous
initiatives to develop the cloud computing sector.
"During China's 12th five-year-plan period, Binhai aims to invest five
billion renminbi into cloud computing services and infrastructure," said
Zou Fang, Deputy Director of the TEDA Investment Promotion Bureau.
"These investments include details like the 890,000-square-kilometer
park's ample and redundant fiber, reliable power to support the data
centers and other mission critical facility."
TEDA has also arranged for its could computing park partners to enjoy
negotiated discounted rates from China's telecom suppliers, a benefit
that allows even larger efficiencies of scale, she added.
The focus led innovative groups to call TEDA home, including a shining
portfolio of corporate, governmental and institutional tenants - such as
Tianjin International Joint Academy of Biotechnology and Medicine
(TJAB), the National Research Center of Nanotechnology and Engineering,
as well as Binhai Software and Service Outsourcing Alliance (BOSA).
Ranked the world's fastest supercomputer in 2010, TEDA's Tianhe-1A
Computer has developed a cloud computing platform that supports demands
for 3D animation, oil exploration, industrial machinery and
pharmaceutical R&D, simulative analytics, system forecasting, data
mining and financial risk modeling. Both Tianjin Meteorological Bureau
and the National Offshore Oil Corporation have started trials with the
Tianhe-1A supercomputer, which, according to a listing maintained by the
University of Tennessee, was 40% faster than the world's No.2
TEDA offers such a robust and high-tech eco-system that IBM partnered
with TEDA in 2003 to set up its SaaS and laaS data service joint venture
called I@T. Under the partnership TEDA frequently organizes symposiums
where its corporate clients, including IBM cloud computing experts, can
gather and exchange notes. And as Tianjin evolves into one of northern
China's financial service centers, I@T will be perfectly positioned to
service the banking industry, which requires above-average data security
and greater systems customization.
The partnership is a win-win, said Liu Yang, the joint-venture's head of
marketing. "We were able to be actively engaged in planning the
blueprint for cloud computing for the zone," he said. "So it's really
about two-way communication and service offerings that cater to
I@T is not alone. TEDA is also home to Tencent's first-ever cloud
computing center. The group operates the wildly popular
instant-messaging platform called Tencent QQ, as well as one of the
world's most active web portals, QQ.com. Tencent holds 29 patents
directly related to cloud computing, all of which are in use in TEDA.
In addition, Hewlett-Packard has based its global cloud computing hub in
TEDA, while Standard Chartered Bank has set up one of its three hubs
there, from which it can service its global clients.
"TEDA will continue to engage in innovation to create a better
investment environment for its partners - one that will move upward
along the value chain and fulfill our promise of excellence," Shushan
The stakes could not be higher. Parks like TEDA will only become more
important as China continues on its path away from low-cost
manufacturing to an economy based on greater levels of automation and
"Many countries have been suffering from the 'middle-income trap' since
World War II," noted Justin Yifu Lin, former chief economist and senior
vice president of the World Bank. He was invited to deliver a world
economic-outlook report at Peking University in October.
"Industrial upgrading including technological innovation has been the
key factor helping emerging economies in Asia such as South Korea get
around the middle-income trap and keep sustained economic growth," he
And as the cost of inputs rise and gradually erode China's low-cost
competitive advantage in the global economy, the necessity of having
innovative industrial parks like TEDA will only grow, said Trish
Saywell, a former reporter covering China at Dow Jones' Far Eastern
Economic Review and Asian Wall Street Journal. "Tech-innovation and
production-networked incubators are primed for growth now in China," she
noted. "This will give China an advantage even if foreign capital
migrates to lower cost centers."
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