West Beijing's Zhongguancun area, known as China's "Silicon Valley," has reported steady growth, bucking the trend among the world's slump-ridden high-tech businesses.
Liao Guohua, a senior developer at the park, yesterday said: "We have plenty of reasons to believe that our high-tech enterprises are marching forward with vigorous ingenuity, laying a solid foundation for the further expansion and upgrading of our parks."
According to Liao, the contribution made by high-tech industries to the city's general economy has not declined.
Liao is in charge of the Shangdi Information Industry Park, the most established in the Zhongguancun area. By the end of last year, 500 of the 546 enterprises that had set up in Shangdi had started operating. The industrial gross output in Shangdi for 2001 was 29 billion yuan (US$3.5 billion), up 32 percent over that of the previous year.
"We are confident of maintaining our miraculous 300 million yuan (US$36.2 million) worth of output value per hectare per year, if not more," said Liao.
Zhang Xueyuan, an official with the Beijing Municipal Statistics Bureau, confirmed that a large proportion of the city's increase in gross domestic product still comes from high-tech industries, most of which are located in Zhongguancun. Zhang said the contribution in 2001 was "no less than that of the year 2000."
Some major companies, such as Sina Corporate, the leading Chinese-language Internet portal, are reportedly going to move out of Zhongguancun and resettle in eastern Beijing because of the allegedly poor infrastructure facilities at Zhongguancun. But Liao said every company should act according to its own interests.
He said: "It is not bad to see more companies grow up in Zhongguancun and become ready to leave for bigger challenges and greater benefits. A nest designed to nurture the nestling bird might not be suitable for the fully grown adult."
Of the 7,000-odd information-technology industries in Zhongguancun, 95 percent are small and medium-sized. They need support and preferential policies from local government more than advanced infrastructures if the existent hardware conditions are already good enough, said Liao.
"Although we promise that Zhongguancun will become more comfortable and convenient for research and production, people should not expect us to be comparable in luxuries and infrastructure to areas designated for some other function, such as finance and commerce," said the official.
(China Daily January 23, 2002)