[photopress:zones_ZGC.jpg,full,alignright]Zhongguancun is an early industrial zone which is in the northwest part of Beijing and could be thought of, in a sense, as China’s ‘Silicon Valley.’
This is not a zone that has been designed from scratch. It has evolved rather than followed a strict plan.
Since the mid-1980’s it has been transformed from a quiet suburb designated for scientific research and higher education a major hub of high-tech business and research and development (R & D) labs. The following snapshots show the region’s startling transformation in a matter of years.
If you look at early pictures of the place in, say, the early 1980 you see it is a peaceful backwater with
each institute having a residential compound.
By 2005, the area hosted over 17,000 certified new technology enterprises; nearly 60% were in information communication technology or related sectors which is why you can think of it as China’s Silicon Valley. Most of the companies were spin-offs from universities and the nearby Academy of Sciences.
Compared to regions in other developing countries it has unique features. All Chinese technological commercial firms had to be created – from scratch – in the post-reform era that began in the 1980’s.
Further, ZGC does not feature multinational corporations (MNCs) as dominant players though MNCs have been welcomed as an integral part of the mix.
Technological progress in ZGC has been driven primarily by domestic demand rather than export needs.
Over 85% of ZGC’s revenue has come from domestic sales of products and services.
Many of China’s well-known ICT companies are found in ZGC: Lenovo, the world third largest personal computer manufacturer; Baidu, China’s leading Internet search engine company; UFIDA, China’s largest privately owned software company; Founder, China’s largest digital media company; Datang, one of China’s largest telecommunication solution companies; Aigo, China’s leading portable storage and digital entertainment product maker, and Sina.com and Sohu.com, two of China’s most popular Internet portals.
The advance of firms in ZGC is driven by the ability to create and implementadvanced technologies for the Chinese market.
This article is a very condensed part of a a chapter in The Inside Story of China’s High-Tech Industry: Making Silicon Valley in Beijing by Yu Zhou who is associate professor of Earth Science and Geography, Vassar College. Click on Source to read the rest of the chapter.
Source: Japan Focus