Welcome!

News Feed Item

Repositioning Beijing: A Tale of Two Cities

New York and New Jersey, San Francisco and Oakland – just some of the cities that have sprung up alongside one another all over the world, with one often fulfilling functions that the other cannot.

The most obvious such example in China is perhaps Shenzhen, which rapidly grew into a sprawling agglomeration of 7 million people to serve as a manufacturing and services hub for nearby Hong Kong.

Now something similar might be about to happen further north. In late February 2014, China’s President Xi Jinping said it was time for a new approach to “positioning Beijing”.

Although Beijing is attractive because it is the capital, Mr. Xi said some of its functions would be better off located in nearby Tianjin, a much less expensive city with a slightly smaller population that can be reached in about half an hour by high-speed train.

Mr. Xi said Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province – which together have a total population of 100 million people – should be considered as one big cluster for planning purposes instead of silo-ed against each other. The Chinese leader added that a shared regional culture and social norms as well as family ties would support such integration.

“China's regions are enormous markets in and of themselves. Tastes and regulatory environments vary significantly between different regions, making it important to recognise their specific characteristics,” said Duncan Innes-Ker, China economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit. “History has also resulted in very different economic profiles among regions. Building on these characteristics has been key to successfully developing local comparative advantages.”

Tianjin is already doing its best to serve as an alternative to Beijing. Its Yujiapu district is aiming to become a headquarters hub for China’s national-level State Owned Enterprises, while the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA), which is consistently ranked as China’s top development zone since two decades ago, is bent on hi-tech innovation as well.

That means investment in facilities for hi-tech companies that may not be available in the capital.

China’s version of Silicon Valley, dubbed ‘Silicon Hutong’ is located in Beijing’s Zhongguancun district, near the country’s elite universities.

But it’s not an easy place to be for startup firms, many of which must grow without significant outside investment and find a way to cover their costs. Beijing rents alone are as much as three times higher than in Tianjin.

“Many high-tech companies come [to TEDA] from Beijing, and Beijing and Tianjin form a mega-city,” said Zou Fang, Deputy Director of TEDA’s Investment Promotion Bureau.

“The technology achievements and capital mostly come from Beijing. But Tianjin has something special to offer to complement Beijing – that is low costs, development space, government support, and a service mechanism. Many Beijing firms are start-ups that need such a growth environment.”

To this end, TEDA has developed the Tianjin-Beijing Interconnected Entrepreneurship Promotion Center, with Zhongguancun as a key collaborator. It was visited by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang last December.

Such inter-regional initiatives are moving China into the same league as the US when it comes to supporting entrepreneurs. “Innovation is not a zero-sum activity. Different regions have different strengths, not just domestically, but internationally,” said Dr. Olaf J. Groth, Managing Director of advisory firm Emergent Frontiers Group LLC; Professor of Global Innovation, Strategy, Organization & Economics at HULT International Business School; Co-author of the “The Bay Area Innovation System – How the Bay Area Became the World’s Leading Innovation Hub and What Will Be Necessary to Secure Its Future” published by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.

“In the US, much of the cleantech innovation originates in California, but is highly dependent on partners in other regions, such as the mid-west and south-east of the US, Germany, France, Japan or Korea, where many automobile manufacturers are located,” said Groth. “As more and more domains converge, it makes no sense to tether a venture to one certain location, but rather to let it source its inputs and even to move where it is best supported in a given stage of its growth.”

As a part of the support program to high-tech start-ups, TEDA administrator also purchases products and services from the big Chinese IT service provider Teamsun, such as cloud services, server capacity and technical training, which are then given to tenants free-of-charge.

Although this accounts for just 6 to 7 percent of Teamsun's overall operation, General Manager of Teamsun Zhou Peiyong said it has become strategically important to their business, as down the line the firms that benefit often approach Teamsun directly and become clients.

“We have found that this cooperation pattern has secured its own viable business model, which is win-win for all: to the tenants, to our company as a service provider, and to the whole region,” said Zhou. “In fact, TEDA is the first industrial park ever to have piloted this model in China. And now Zhongguancun is following suit,” he added.

TEDA also offers a wealth of financing options for growing companies. Its status as a development area means there is less red tape to wade through and it is now home to China’s first wholly foreign-invested venture capital firm and China’s first industry-focused private equity firm. There are also nine microfinance firms, creating a robust growth-environment for SMEs.

In late February, TEDA announced the creation of an Internet-based financial services cluster, further working on the convergence among the region’s top-notch IT industry and financial innovation.

“Tianjin has a very solid bricks-and-mortar industry base, including the port economy and trade, etc. That is extremely important critical mass for internet business to thrive because after all the click is there to serve the brick,” said Luo Mingxiong, executive director of China’s Internet Finance Lab and vice-president of Beijing Software & Information Services Exchange.

Luo said more than two-thirds of commercial factoring firm licenses and more than half of financial leasing firm licenses in China are held in Tianjin.

“Tianjin and TEDA have done great work in piloting innovation in the financial service sector. All this is encouraging Tianjin-based enterprises to embrace the innovation economy and create a unique economic landscape.

“On top of this, it’s inevitable that many Beijing-based companies will relocate, driven by factors such as high housing-cost. This is a great opportunity for Tianjin and so it’s imperative that the city works hard to synchronize its planning and overall vision with Beijing,” said Luo.

While Beijing and Tianjin share a cultural identity, some observers argue that different perspectives are also invaluable for stimulating new ideas.

“One of the exceptional attributes that China and the US share is heterogeneity and diversity,” said Sara Sandford, an attorney with the law firm Garvey Schubert Barer.

“The related diversity of perspectives and ideas have often been touted as the foundation of innovation in the US. China has the same unique opportunity to use heterogeneity to the benefit of its efforts to innovate and develop new technology and business...[For regional collaboration to work,] they also need to create an infrastructure that allows for greater sharing of ideas,” she added.

More Stories By Business Wire

Copyright © 2009 Business Wire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Business Wire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Business Wire. Business Wire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu, a leading provider of cloud hosting solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to foc...
See storage differently! Storage performance problems have only gotten worse and harder to solve as applications have become largely virtualized and moved to a cloud-based infrastructure. Storage performance in a virtualized environment is not just about IOPS, it is about how well that potential performance is guaranteed to individual VMs for these apps as the number of VMs keep going up real time. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, in product and marketing at Tintri, will discu...
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
Internap Corporation has expanded its OpenStack-based bare-metal Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering, AgileSERVER 2.0, to its data centers in Amsterdam, Dallas and Santa Clara, Calif. Launched in 2015 out of Internap’s New York Metro data center in Secaucus, N.J., AgileSERVER 2.0 is now available in four locations globally, enabling enterprises and devops teams running mission-critical applications and big data workloads to build scale-out infrastructure environments that are higher performing ...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, will show how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningfu...