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New economy business becomes a growing driver of city development Release Time:2020-05-07

China Daily, Yuan Shenggao  2020-05-07 

A number of new economy companies are springing up in the city of Chengdu, helping to drive economic development in western China.

HitGen, a local biopharmaceutical company, was listed on the science and technology innovation board at the Shanghai Stock Exchange in mid-April, and is the first company in southwestern China to appear on the board.

The company, founded in 2012, provides research services for the early stages of drug discovery using its core DNA encoded compound library technology. It has established partnerships with multinational drug and biomedicine companies such as Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, MSD and Sanofi.

Li Jin, chairman and general manager of HitGen, said it will expand investment into DNA encoded compound library technology and business, to promote research and development of drugs.

After floating on the stock market, it plans to raise funds up to 498 million yuan($70.5 million) in DNA encoded compound library development and application, and 162 million yuan in a new drug R&D center.

"Chengdu has a rich pool of professionals and supportive policies. I learned that since I founded the company," Li said, adding that the biopharmaceutical industry, a part of new economy, is receiving support from the local government.

New economy-related companies have been springing up in the city since 2017 when it decided to promote transformation by developing the new economy and cultivating a new growth engine. The number of unicorns-startups valued at more than$1 billion-went from zero in 2017 to six as of now, with new economy companies growing from 180,000 to 360,000. The revenue of the new economy has surpassed 400 billion yuan in Chengdu.

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a significant challenge to traditional manufacturing and labor-intensive industries in Chengdu. However, the new economy-including digital, intelligent, green, creative, online traffic and shared economy-has shown strong growth potential. More locally made new economy products have been created, with traditional companies moving toward digitalization.

Chengdu-based company Maipu provides a free telephone conference service. The Chengdu branch of tech company Shishitongyun has helped restaurants adopt intelligent ordering, billing, delivery, finance, marketing and supply-chain systems to improve efficiency.

In late March, Chengdu staged its first release conference for the new economy this year. A total of 55 local new economy companies displayed some 100 new products, such as a nucleic acid testing kit that can give results within 90 minutes, a garbage sorting and recycling system, and 5G unmanned aerial vehicles.

At the event, Chengdu said that it will release 1,000 new products to stimulate market demand, provide more opportunities for companies and enrich people's lives in its bid to upgrade consumption.

The city also said it will promote companies with the city's public resources, to expand the application of innovative products and services.

On April 29, a second news conference on new economy was held to target a green, intelligent, healthy, fashionable and beautiful lifestyle. Local companies signed agreements with companies from home and abroad, with a total contract value of 5 billion yuan.

Companies and institutions from Japan, the United States, France and New Zealand will participate in cultural creativity, sports, landscape design and ecological restoration sectors in the city.

"More consensuses were reached and more professionals were attracted to the city to fuel the development of new economy in Chengdu, which has drawn attention from more aspects and become a name card for its high-quality development," said Huang Haosen, senior economist and assistant to the dean of the Chengdu Economic Development Research Institute.

Huang added since the Chinese market tends to welcome new infrastructure construction supported by policies, new economy companies will become the main force for Chengdu's economic growth.


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