Foreign opinion leaders visited JAC. [Photo by Han Jitao / China.org.cn]
The south central city of Hefei in Anhui Province is embracing its flagship policy of boosting “innovation" and “entrepreneurship" amid lackluster global economic growth, and aims to build itself into a high ground of innovation based on its scientific and educational strengths.
Home to almost a thousand research institutes and as the most popular technology and engineering base apart from Beijing, Hefei is seeking to become a world-leading innovation capital in the future, said Zhong Junjie, director of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Hefei Municipal Committee during his introduction to a group of foreign opinion leaders.
According to a recent news release on Hefei's economic performance in the first three quarters of 2016, "innovation, entrepreneurship and startups" are bringing tangible benefits to the city, which is known for its high technology, manufacturing and transportation.
In the first nine months of this year, Hefei maintained strong economic growth with a GDP growth rate of 9.6 percent year-on-year, which has outpaced all central provincial capital cities for six consecutive quarters.
The city also ranks third in terms of basic scientific research strength in China, following Beijing and Shanghai, according to an index compiled by the British science journal "Nature."
Innovation high ground
While watching the U.S. President Barack Obama's comments on an LED screen for iFLYTEK, a voice recognition giant based in Hefei, Anhui Province, a group of foreign opinion leaders were wowed by the machine's vivid imitation of the president's speech. It appeared as if Obama was really promoting this high-tech enterprise of China.
Dedicated to intelligent speech and language technologies, iFLYTEK has grown into a well-fledged industry leader and vows to take on Nuance and Siri, its biggest overseas competitors, in the near future.
Its products like iFLYTEK input and Lingxi Voice Assistant can make people's lives much easier by eliminating some of the repetitive tasks that we encounter in our daily lives, said Christopher Georgiou from the UK.
iFLYTEK is only one example of the 1,056 technology companies based in the city. Hefei has long boasted its gene for pioneering and innovation. It has invented the world's first DVD player and bionic washing machine, and China's first air conditioner, mini vehicle (mini-bus and mini-van), microcomputer as well as a pure-electric bus line.
John Kirton, co-director of the G20 Research Group, was especially impressed by Hefei's ongoing efforts in promoting the global health agenda as exemplified by Sinobioway, a private company owned by Peking University which is now making pioneering advances in treating cancer and cooperating with the rest of the world.
"With formidable capabilities and cooperative spirit, China is well positioned to lead the G20 in adding NCDs directly to its global health agenda at the Hamburg Summit hosted by Germany on July 7-8 next year," he commented.
George N. Tzogopoulos, a Greek columnist, said technological breakthroughs in Hefei benefit the local people as well as the whole country.
He hopes there will be more exchanges and cooperation between China and Europe, so that Europeans will know more about fascinating Hefei.
Michael Borchmann, a German international relations expert, said he can see that China is undergoing a transformation from "Made in China" to "Invented in China," after seeing so many places in Hefei.
He expects more exchanges and cooperation as correspondingly China is advancing "Made in China 2025," a similar initiative to Germany's "Industry 4.0."