GUANGZHOU - Yesterday, a delegation of 14 different IAB (Intelligent Manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence, and BioTech) startups from various top US universities visited Huangpu District, Guangzhou Development District (GDD) in Guangzhou to meet with district officials, investors, and potential corporate partners from the area. Serving as the last leg of a startup roadshow of six different major Chinese cities, this event, called "Focus on IAB @ Huangpu", was co-hosted by IBM & MIT-CHIEF (MIT China Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum), the organizer of the startup roadshow. The day consisted of a series of pitches by the startups, presentations on policies and services offered by the GDD, Q&A sessions, and targeted networking sessions between the startups, officials, investors, and corporate partners. By the end, of the 14 different IAB startups, 8 different teams had established initial interest in connecting with specific organizations in Guangzhou, making Guangzhou the most successful stop of the entire startup roadshow.
Huangpu District, GDD - An Open Door for Innovation
As Mr. Yawei Zhou, Party Secretary for the district, expressed during the opening address of the event, Huangpu District, GDD is a unique place for innovators looking to grow and expand their business, and many have already done so; as of 2016, over 5,000 overseas students have registered over 1,000 new companies in the district.
Several key factors contribute to Huangpu's appeal as an innovation hotbed:
Growth in strategic areas
Huangpu District, GDD is based heavily on IAB, with these industries accounting for 50% of the district's output as of 2018. By 2022, the IAB output of Huangpu is expected to surpass ¥800 billion RMB ($120 billion USD), and account for around 80% of the city's total IAB output. Investment companies have taken note and have established many funds for the district as well.
The government of Huangpu is one of the most open, direct, and responsive in all of China. As of 2018, all commitments made by the government towards individuals and corporations within the district must be honored within 34 business days, with an average deal completion time of only 10.5 business days. The fastest deal ever took only 8.5 hours to complete.
As Wenting Xing, core team member with Sensii, noted:
"Here in Guangzhou, we have received the most direct and fastest government response, as well as the best opportunity to directly interface with relevant companies".
AeroSpec CEO, Luhang Li also noted that it was rare for a government to arrange dedicated liaisons for each startup team, and the government's enthusiastic response and open-mindedness made a big impression on the startup teams.
One-Stop Shop Service Support
A state owned enterprise called the Guangzhou High-Level Talent Management Co. exists solely for the purpose of addressing any needs that innovators, their teams, and other high-level personnel may have throughout the process of moving to Guangzhou. Serving as a one-stop shop service window, the company helps individuals file necessary paperwork, arrange for comfortable living arrangements, and help their families settle down in Guangzhou, among other services.
Unparalleled IP Protection
Currently, Huangpu District, GDD has been designated the only intellectual property rights reform pilot zone in the entire country, having established a series of new reforms that are designed to protect the IP of companies that ultimately decide to move or start up there. This makes Huangpu District, GDD the area with the strongest IP protection in all of China.
In the end, several of the startups and organizations in Guangzhou achieved initial mutual interest:
- BlinkAI expressed interest with several financial firms
- Panacea-Lab expressed interest with the LiBai Group (立白集团), and will be sending someone to Guangzhou in the near future to continue discussions
- ConquerX expressed interest with Meditrina (保瑞医疗)
- Sensii expressed interest with several large consumer products firms
- Guangzhou Citizens Investment (广民投) expressed mutual interest with four other startups and their technology
MIT-CHIEF signed an MOU agreement with the Chamber of Commerce of Guangzhou Industrial Parks, an association representing the various innovation and industrial parks in Guangzhou, seeking to establish more North America-Guangzhou connection platforms.
Overall, the event was a success for parties on both ends, with both the startups and the partners on the Guangzhou side being very satisfied with the results.
We look forward to future collaborations and exchanges in the future.