Yangtze River Delta advances high-quality integrated development

By Wu Qiuyu, Li Xinping, People’s Daily

The Yangtze River Delta is one of the most economically vibrant, open and innovative regions in China. It encompasses four major economic engines – Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui.

Shanghai serves as a frontier of openness and a prime innovation hub. Jiangsu province features strong real economy. Zhejiang province boasts a developed private economy. Anhui province possesses a rather comprehensive industrial system and rich scientific and technological resources…

On Nov. 5, 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced at the opening ceremony of the first China International Import Expo that China would support integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region, and make it a national strategy.

Over the past five years, the region’s night light development index jumped 57.24 percent, and the number of cities with a GDP of over 1 trillion yuan ($141.29 billion) increased to eight, or around 1/3 of the total in China. The integrated development strategy has brought tremendous changes to the Yangtze River Delta, writing a new chapter on Chinese modernization.

“In the past, when we encountered technical difficulties, we had to find solutions and resources by ourselves. Now we can directly post requests on the platform,” said Yang Weizhong, executive chairman of Shanghai Different Advanced Material Co., Ltd. (Shanghai Different), referring to an open competition platform for selecting the best candidates to undertake research projects launched by Shanghai’s Pudong New Area earlier this year.

According to him, developing high-performance hybrid fiber materials had been a headache bothering the company for years. Immediately following the launch of the platform, Shanghai Different posted its technical requests, which were soon picked up and solved by Jiangsu Gem Advanced Fiber Materials.

“Integrated development truly brings innovation resources to one focal point, opening up new possibilities,” Yang noted.

Innovation possesses the core position in China’s modernization drive. In recent years, the synergetic innovation index in the Yangtze River Delta region has been growing at 9.47 percent annually on average, and the region has shared 23 major scientific research facilities and more than 40,000 large scientific instruments. High-caliber technological supplies are effectively bolstering the high-quality economic development of the region.

On May 28 this year, C919, China’s self-developed large passenger aircraft, completed its first commercial flight, which was a testimony to the manufacturing muscle of the Yangtze River Delta. About 10 percent of the aircraft’s parts, 50 percent of its aluminum materials, and 50 percent of composite structural components were manufactured in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province.

It marked a close collaboration and integration of industrial chain resources among Yangtze River Delta cities, including Shanghai, Hefei, Hangzhou, Suzhou and Zhenjiang, which realized the dream of the Chinese people to make a large passenger jet of their own.

Under the promotion by Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, C919’s main manufacturer, around 1,000 enterprises in the nine cities and districts along the G60 Science and Innovation Corridor have been incorporated into the aircraft manufacturing chain.

In Changzhou, a series of innovative industrial clusters have sprouted up around the new energy industry chain, with production value already surpassing 500 billion yuan.

In Jiaxing, the Yangtze Delta Region Institute of Tsinghua University, Zhejiang and the Zhejiang Institute of Advanced Technology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences are thriving; top-tier scientific innovation platforms – China Nanhu Academy of Electronics and Information Technology, Nanhu Laboratory, and Institute of Flexible Electronics Technology of Tsinghua University, Zhejiang – have also been launched.

In Hefei, Chinese new energy vehicle giant BYD has built a new manufacturing base, while establishing supporting facilities for key components like power batteries, battery materials, high-voltage devices and wire harnesses in Bengbu, Chuzhou and Fuyang, to form a comprehensive industry chain.

“These epitomize the modernized industrial landscape in the Yangtze River Delta, the unique strengths bred by integrated development,” remarked BYD chairman and president Wang Chuanfu.

The ever-strengthening innovation and industrial chains come from the continuous unleashing of the talent chain. As the Yangtze River Delta’s primary attraction for talents and highland for innovation, Shanghai welcomes both domestic and foreign talents, while also encouraging various talents to fully realize their potential in the region.

Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Anhui provinces have established incubators and empowerment centers in Shanghai to further tap the metropolitan’s advantages in talent attraction and innovation resources.

“Previously, for foreigners in China to work in the securities industry, they had to ‘follow local customs’ and sit China’s securities qualification exam – a tall task halting many international finance talents,” said Park Pu, Chairman of J.P. Morgan Securities (China).

“Now Pudong has set up an international finance qualification accreditation catalog system, creating favorable conditions to draw global experts,” Pu added.

Integrated development is not a simple equation of combining strengths, but rather realizing complementary advantages and building synergy to form new advantages of high-quality development.

As the strategy of integrated development moves ahead, the four major economic engines of the Yangtze River Delta will work together even more closely to propel high-quality development.