The CHInano Conference & Expo 2013 opened in Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) on the morning of September 25. Among the attendees were representatives from 12 countries, including the United States, Finland, Switzerland, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, as well as hundreds of experts and scholars from multiple disciplines, including production, education and research.
SIP was the first industrial park in China to see the opportunity of nanotechnology as an emerging strategic sector that could lead the transformation and upgrading of China's industries. SIP is now China's only state-level nanotech industrialization and innovation base. The establishment of nanotech as its "No.1" project for technology innovation by the park demonstrates its firm determination. The decision to focus on nanotech has proven to be a good one, as evidenced by the excellent results, further driving continued development.
SIP has received eight state-level titles, including "China International Nanotech Innovation Cluster," "Suzhou Nanotechnology National University Science Park," and "Suzhou National Hi-Tech Industrialization Base for Nanotech." There are nearly twenty nanotech-related facilities based in the park, including the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics, SUN-WIN Joint Research Institute for Nanotechnology founded by Soochow University and the University of Waterloo, and USTC-UC Berkeley Joint Nano-Science and Technology Institute, collectively gathering around 200 of the top talents in the nanotech field and spawning 200 nanotech-related companies. During the first eight months of this year, total output from the sector increased by 50% year-on-year to RMB 8 billion. SIP is focusing its resources, policies and efforts on driving the development of the sector, with the aim of becoming the "Portal to China" for international nanotech communities.
Gaining global fame through international cooperation
During the event, the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic and SIP signed an MOU on building the Czech Technology China Center, marking the kickoff of technology exchange and trade cooperation between the two countries in such fields as nanotechnology and biology. This is also the third international cooperation platform after the China-Finland Nano Innovation Center and the Holland Hi-Tech China Center, both of which are located in the park.
As a result of the previous three sessions of CHInano, SIP has developed diversified relationships with nanotech-related organizations from over 20 countries and regions including the U.S., Finland, Germany, Singapore, Japan, and the U.K., integrating and utilizing international resources on an ongoing basis. Using the cooperation with Finland as an example, from joining in the China-Finland Nanotech Strategic Cooperation Program and locating the China-Finland Nano Innovation Center at Nanopolis Suzhou, to the launch of the first four cooperation projects, the partnership has expanded from purely just nanotechnology to related areas including nanomaterials and pharmaceuticals.
In addition, through its partnerships with the world's most prestigious universities and colleges in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France and Australia, SIP has created an international, diversified system for nanotech talent development, under which, to date over 2,000 students have received bachelor's, master's, or doctor's degrees in nanotechnology.
The nanotech sector at SIP enjoys an increasingly international reputation.
Creating a leading sector by industrial clusters
SIP recently released a diagram illustrating the relationship of around 200 nanotech-related companies within the park in terms of their place within the nanotech industry chain. From upstream nanomaterial, dispersion technology, and device packaging businesses, to middle-stream companies focused on core components, and downstream applications, as well as companies dedicated to nano processes, they collectively drive the development of the sector. Recognizing this, SIP has set industrial alignment as the primary objective of the four sessions of CHInano and, as part of this strategy, has been promoting cooperation among the companies within the park.
Suzhou Delphi Laser Co., Ltd. is dedicated to nano touch control. Its products have been widely used in precision processing, such as special laser processing, LED and touch screens. One month ago, the company became one of the first members of the Suzhou Nano Touch Control Industrial Alliance, and its upstream and downstream partners, Mutto and O-Film, also joined the alliance. They have expressed full confidence in this united competitiveness.
SIP has already taken a leading position in a dozen upstream sub-sectors - micro-nano manufacturing, printed electronics, micro-nano flexible manufacturing, nano-carbon materials, third-generation semiconductor materials, small nucleic acid-based drugs, Li-ion batteries, water processing, and PV - with its industrial clusters preliminarily established in optoelectronic display, new nanomaterials, nanocomposites, and micro-nano manufacturing, all having access to internationally-advanced, domestically-leading key technologies. More than 1,500 nanotech-related patent applications have been approved over the years, including over 300 authorized invention patents.
Building an "ecosystem" to integrate innovation resources
On August 28, 2013, a milestone day for nanotech applications in the park, Suzhou Nano Tech Co-Innovation Center's design for creating a nanotech innovation system - a system that has already been included in China's 2011 Plan, was unveiled, along with the founding of Suzhou Nanotech Application Association, with the intent of bringing nanotech achievements and products to the market through applications.
Both the innovation system and the association are based on the innovative model of a "nanotech ecosystem." As there is no well-established model to follow for developing the nanotech sector, SIP is exploring its own way of building an "ecosystem" for the sector, which emphasizes government guidance, state financial assistance, market orientation, and industrial interaction, based on the requirements for national strategic emerging industries. The strategy behind the ecosystem drives the integration of nanotech-related cutting-edge technologies, innovative products, high-end talents, industrial capital, support platforms and entrepreneurial vehicles and involves government agencies, traditional businesses, nanotech companies, universities and colleges, research institutes, venture capital firms, financial institutions, intermediaries, and SOEs in the development of the sector.
The most apt description of the "ecosystem" is a food-chain-like industrial ecological chain of upstream, middle, and downstream enterprises as a result of their input-output relationship in industrial clusters, which goes beyond the traditional demand-supply relationship between upstream and downstream and includes all key resources and elements for the development of the sector in terms of industrialization, innovation, investment, service, and people. This high-quality "ecosystem" is promoting the solid and rapid growth of the entire nanotech sector in SIP.
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