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Integrated development propels Yazhou Bay sci-tech city

Print By Yuan Shenggao | China Daily | Updated: 2023-06-01

Fulfilling the vision of its administrators, Yazhou Bay Science and Technology City in western Sanya combines high-quality development with national-level innovation platforms to fuel a diverse range of scientific research initiatives and innovative entities.

Based on a global perspective and international standards, Yazhou Bay Science and Technology City is ramping up efforts to upgrade its seed and oceanic technology innovation centers, as well as other projects, while pledging more efforts in the construction of public research platforms and industrial clusters to serve national strategies and promote the expansion of the Hainan Free Trade Port, which will cover all of Hainan island when completed.

Since its establishment in 2019, the tech city has seen solid progress in the construction of support facilities that have boosted major scientific and technological innovations, integration and industrial cultivation in seed breeding, deep-sea sciences and biotechnologies.

Data from the tech city administration show that by the end of March, a total of 9,649 enterprises had established operations in the tech city — one of the key industrial parks of Hainan FTP — with about 1,300 of them involved in marine sciences, more than 1,100 in agriculture, 1,400 in the digital economy and 1,216 in high technologies. The mushrooming projects have effectively driven the transformation and upgrading of local industries in Sanya, at the southern tip of Hainan island.

The tech city has given top priority to the development of the "Nanfan Valley" sci-tech city and construction of an efficient, streamlined and bio-secure global entry and exit terminal for animal and plant germplasm resources. A global biological valley is also under development to operate as an innovative base for the integration of multiple industries such as germplasm research, life sciences and tropical agriculture, as well as an interdisciplinary international cooperation zone.

According to provincial authorities, off-season seed breeding or nanfan as it is known, started in tropical Hainan in the 1950s. Agricultural scientists regularly come to Sanya and other places in southern Hainan between November and May to conduct a variety of activities related to seed breeding. The warm climate shortens the breeding cycle by at least half, and more than 70 percent of China's seeds — over 20,000 new varieties — have been bred through cultivation at nanfan bases in Hainan, which has been dubbed "China's Silicon Valley of seed breeding".

Covering a planned area of 4 square kilometers, Nanfan Silicon Valley is positioned as a focal point of the country's seed innovation and entrepreneurship. It is home to a seed laboratory and eight centers, including the general technology center, the intellectual property and information service center, the international academic exchange and training center, the national seed import and export inspection and quarantine center, a data center and a center for international seed trading.

Tech city officials said Yazhou Bay Seed Laboratory, launched in May 2021 with 10 public scientific research platforms and supported by 7,200 pieces of research equipment, functions as the powerful engine that drives Nanfan Silicon Valley's high-level chain that links theoretical innovation with technology integration, seed-breeding design and industrial incubation while carrying out joint innovative research to tackle bottlenecks. An expert team provides comprehensive services such as seed quality supervision and customized quality control according to the needs of related enterprises, adding momentum to the constantly evolving development of China's seed industry.

The Yazhou Bay tech city has also made remarkable progress in building projects for innovative research on oceanic science and technology, as well as construction of a home base for public scientific research ships at nearby Nanshan Port.

With a projected area of 12 sq km, the oceanic tech city aims at boosting deep-sea scientific research, marine equipment development and construction of application platforms that will facilitate scientific and technological breakthroughs focusing on deep-sea entry, exploration and development.

It also plans to establish a comprehensive national oceanic testing ground and a national deep-sea technology innovation center that will support the cultivation of open and shared capabilities for scientific research and testing.

The tech city recently welcomed a new research institute with the launch of the Hainan branch of the Ocean Negative Carbon Emissions International Science Program, which promotes the research on ONCE technologies and provides a platform for relevant international exchange and cooperation.

Meanwhile, the tech park has accelerated integration of the industrial chains, the innovation chains and the institutional chains to enhance industrial optimization. The park has gathered a group of leading domestic and foreign enterprises including China National Seed Group, Longping High-Tech, China State Shipbuilding Corp and Dutch plant research company KeyGene, establishing an industrial cycle that ranges from basic scientific research and transformation of achievements to incubation of new enterprises.

Institutional innovations have also created impressive changes in the business environment at the tech city. The Sanya Intellectual Property Protection Center has been established with high standards to protect innovation. As well, a "green channel" has been opened for rapid patent review, confirmation and protection of intellectual rights in modern agriculture and deep-sea technology industries.

According to administration officials, the industrial park is also accelerating construction of a special intellectual property zone, a transfer service center for national agricultural science and technology achievements and efforts to explore and implement new mechanisms for intellectual property protection.

To facilitate foreign trade, a new investment and trade service window has been opened, providing enterprises and institutions with free customs declarations, inspection declarations and foreign trade consulting services.

The tech city is striving to become a magnet for talented professionals attracted by its especially favorable policies, incentives and upgraded business environment. By the end of 2022, there were more than 20,000 employees in the area. The tech city has so far attracted 1,656 high-level talents and has cashed in on 110 million yuan in talent awards.

A total of 35 academicians from major research institutions and universities across the country have gathered in Yazhou Bay to carry out scientific research, achievement transformation and new tech application demonstration programs.

A bird's-eye view of an under-construction section of the Yazhou Bay sci-tech city. CHINA DAILY

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