Shanghai aims to be science and tech hub

BEIJING • Shanghai is looking to be the primary global destination for science and technology efforts, after burnishing its credentials as a hub for finance and shipping.

To achieve that goal, Shanghai will build a national science centre and develop several key industries including integrated circuits, biomedicine and artificial intelligence, the city's authorities said at a recent news briefing on Shanghai's high-quality growth.

Shanghai in 2016 identified four major tasks, including establishing a comprehensive national science centre and implementing basic projects and strategic programmes.

Mr Chen Yujun, head of the strategy department of Shanghai Huahong Integrated Circuit Co, said the city's rich industrial resources have helped make it one of the world's most comprehensive chip clusters.

"We have seen the mushrooming of 239 chip design companies, nine wafer fabrication foundries and a number of world-leading integrated circuit packaging firms in Shanghai's Zhangjiang Science City," he said.

By the end of 2018, 441 foreign-invested companies have established research and development centres in Shanghai, including a series of open-innovation initiatives like Johnson & Johnson's JLABS.

Also taking advantage of the "economies of scale" is the artificial intelligence sector. Shanghai has dedicated a zone called AIsland, where 66,000 sq m of working space hosts a slew of AI-research firms. Microsoft is on course to open an AI and Internet of Things lab on the "island" next month. This will be its third and largest such facility worldwide, through which some 300 local clients each year stand to benefit from turning prototyping into products, said Dr Hsiao-Wuen Hon, vice-president of Microsoft and the managing director of Microsoft Research Asia.


Official data shows R&D spending in Shanghai last year accounted for 4 per cent of its 3.27 trillion yuan (S$661 billion) total economic output. The number of patents held by every 10,000 residents consequently surged to 47.5 from 13.3 in 2011.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2019, with the headline 'Shanghai aims to be science and tech hub'. Print Edition | Subscribe