Beijing's key industries ascend the global value chain

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In Beijing's efforts to build its "two zones," namely, a pilot free trade zone and a comprehensive demonstration zone for expanding opening-up of the service sector, key industries such as big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and intelligent manufacturing, have served as engines to drive the city's ascent up the global value chain.

Last December, Xia Haihong, 56, founded his own business in Zhongguancun Science City. His company is committed to developing medical particle accelerators so that China can reverse its reliance on foreign ones. It is estimated that in one or two years, the company will have completed its work on a medical particle accelerator prototype.

Since the beginning of this year, as many as 129 projects concerning the construction of the "two zones" have been signed in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Area. Liang Sheng, chairman of the area's administrative committee, said that many of the contracted projects are of national importance. They are expected to solve key technical problems in China, many of them the first of their kind.

As one of the cities with the highest concentration of scientific and technological innovation resources in the country, and the world, Beijing boasts half of the country's academicians, half of the top institutes among various disciplines, and one-third of the country's major scientific and technological infrastructure. To encourage innovation, Beijing has launched 15 new measures, including encouraging technology transfer among colleges and institutes, and the sharing of its large scientific installations around the world. 

Pan Feng, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Economy and Information Technology, said that Beijing strives to build a global benchmark city for the digital economy. To build a new digital economy ecosystem, Beijing plans to introduce more than 20 innovative leading capital-intensive or foreign-invested projects. Annual investment for these projects is estimated to eventually exceed 10 billion yuan.

Driven by the construction of the "two zones," Beijing is integrating into the global science and technology innovation network more proactively. Statistics show that from January to February this year, 224 foreign-funded enterprises have been established in Beijing, a year-on-year increase of 25.1%. Additionally, contractual foreign investment reached US$6.61 billion, a year-on-year increase of 150%. Meanwhile, the use of foreign capital in scientific research and technical service industries stood at US$1.14 billion, a year-on-year increase of 370%.

Such achievements all result from Beijing's continuous exploration and implementation of innovative opening-up policies. "This year marks the first year of the '14th Five-Year Plan' period, we will accelerate opening-up paces across the entire industry chain in sectors such as technological innovation, the digital economy, green finance, and biomedicine, etc. Hopefully, through systematic reforms, we can form several systematic institutional innovation arrangements," said Liu Meiying, full-time deputy director of the Leading Group Office of the "Two Zones" Development.

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