Shenzhen strives to become vanguard of technological innovation

The manufacturing hub of Shenzhen in Guangdong province is further exploring breakthroughs in research and technological innovation to cement its role as the “core engine” of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The city is formulating a 10-year action program for basic scientific research to position itself at the vanguard of technological innovation, said Xi Weizhong, an official of Shenzhen’s Technology Innovation Commission. Shenzhen now has 18,650 national high-tech enterprises, four times the number of five years ago, ranking second nationwide. The city’s innovation capabilities in artificial intelligence, gene sequencing, new energy vehicles and drones are already at the forefront globally. Although Shenzhen has strong technological innovation capabilities when it comes to applied science, it remains weak in original innovative ideas, said Shenzhen Party Secretary Wang Weizhong,

Efforts are underway to change that. Guangming Science City, covering 99 square kilometers on the west side of the city, is expected to become a world-class science center with global influence in the coming decades, according to the Shenzhen government. The layout of the facility is expected to be completed by the end of next year. Shenzhen Bay Laboratory, established in January 2019, has already said it will locate its operations in the science city and is committed to “full chain” research and development in the field of biomedicine – from basic scientific research to market applications. “Shenzhen’s innovative mechanism and abundant investment allow scientists to freely explore areas in basic scientific research,” said Hu Xiaojun, Party Secretary of the Shenzhen Bay Laboratory. Scientists who join the laboratory cannot only choose their own research direction, but also their own teams and equipment and attract enough research funds.

Since 2018, Shenzhen has invested at least 30% of its annual scientific and technologic R&D funds in basic scientific research and applied research. The city spent more than CNY4.99 billion on such research in 2020, which accounted for 42.7% of its R&D expenditure. Basic scientific research funding in China accounts for 6% of R&D funding on average. The average figure for developed countries is about 15%. There are six National Key Laboratories, four provincial laboratories, 12 basic research institutions and 2,700 innovative organizations in Shenzhen. In 2020, Shenzhen had filed 20,200 international patent applications, 1.5 times the number in 2015, ranking first among major Chinese cities for 17 consecutive years, the China Daily reports.