China's 53 high-tech parks will be connected through a broadband network by 2003 enabling the administrative departments in each of them to manage park affairs through the network and exchange information with each other and even with counterparts in the European Union.
The move, called "the Online Torch Plan," is a model project for the information industry and is an extension of the "Torch Plan," a state-level scientific and technological development program.
The Torch High Technology and Industry Development Center, an official organization in charge of the Torch Plan, has authorized Beijing-based Wingo Network Technology Co., Ltd. to build the nationwide network and will act as a liaison between the high-tech parks and Wingo.
According to the plan, the broadband network will cover the 53 high-tech parks, which will then launch their own websites introducing themselves and the companies in the parks. Finally a platform for online administration work, including taxation, investment, education and other services will be built.
Cooperation with experts from the European Union will be a major aspect of the program once it is completed in 2003. The cooperation will start through online information exchanges regarding high-tech industries and other related fields.
Feasibility research for the plan was conducted last October in the cities of Changsha, Xi'an, Xiamen, Wuxi, Zhengzhou, and Shenyang. The European Union will also provide network solutions and advice gained from their experience in information network building and operation.
"Our aim is to facilitate international cooperation and connect high-tech parks in China with others in the European Union and other parts of the world," said Philippe Loesch, an expert with the Sino-European high-tech cooperation program, during a seminar on the informatization of high-tech parks held in Beijing recently.
"Chinese and European experts will join hands in the planning of the parks, including the use of technology and the financing, rather than just giving advice and conducting feasibility research," he added.
The program, which started last year, is estimated to require a total investment of 7.6 billion yuan (US$919 million). Investment in the first phase of the project, which will be finished this year, will amount to 800 million to 1 billion yuan (US$96.7 to 120 million).
According to Xiao Lei, vice-president of Wingo, the program has aroused interest from many officials in China's high-tech parks, including the Beijing Zhongguancun High-tech Park.
He revealed that the high-tech park network in the six cities mentioned would be completed and start operation by the end of this year.
(People's Daily 05/30/2001)