The ambitious and innovative city of Chengdu comes to Silicon Valley this week to demonstrate it has much more to offer the world than just giant pandas and hot pot.
Following the signing of a sister-city relationship pact with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on Oct. 13, Chengdu Mayor Tang Liangzhi on Oct 14 talked to a packed auditorium of interested investors and talent on a wide range of topics, from the city’s preferential policies to the investment environment and geographical advantages the “land of abundance” has to offer in order to facilitate a more robust exchange in funding and technology with the United States.
A driving force for the economic development in West China, Chengdu holds an important position on the nation’s “12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) for West Development Plan” which was initiated in 2012 by the State Council. In October 2014, its Tianfu New Area was officially made a State-level hub open for high-tech, innovation and economic acceleration projects.
Chengdu will, in the future, shrug off its stereotypical image as a place only known for pandas, Tang said. “It’s a center of science and technology, businesses, trade and finance, the transportation and communication hub of western China, as well as the base of advanced manufacturing, high-tech innovation and agriculture products processing,” Tang explained.
Besides scenic spots, culinary attractions and a reasonable cost of living, Chengdu in recent years has continued to streamline administrative procedures and improve government efficiency and accountability.
“I’ve been to Silicon Valley about 10 times,” said Tang, “Each time, I learned something new about its spirit of innovation and the essence of entrepreneurship. As a city, we still lag far behind in both sectors and we need to speed up our pace,” he said.
Wang Junming, Counselor of Science and Technology with the Chinese consulate general in San Francisco, said the micro environment in China is in favor of investors and entrepreneurs. “China has started implementing the strategy of innovation-driven development and the entire society currently has fully realized the importance of science, technology and innovation,” he said.
There is also a tremendous demand for innovation and entrepreneurship in China, said Wang, adding the domestic market in the world’s second-largest economy is also an inviting factor for anyone who wants to come to China and start up his or her own company.