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A new powerhouse to be reckoned with

By He Wei in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2019-05-07 09:57

Employees work at Shanghai Shouchuan Internet of Things Co, a startup in Zhangjiang Science City. [Photo by Gao Erqiang/China Daily]

Local advantages

LAIX, an app that uses algorithms to help improve a user's pronunciation of English words, is one of the beneficiaries of Shanghai's quest to become a leading tech hub.

"The local authorities are very practical and are clearing administrative hurdles every step of the way," said LAIX CEO Wang Yi, who used to work at Google.

Citing perks such as subsidies for hiring locals and housing benefits, Wang pointed out that Shanghai's international appeal and inclusive culture makes it attractive for talent around the world.

The strides made on the tech front are compelling on major domestic players to join in the action. Since the second half of 2018, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent have been scrambling to ink strategic partnerships with the municipal government, hoping to capitalize on the city's vast talent pool, policy incentives and access to international resources.

Business executives have also singled out Shanghai's industrial strength as a key element in its pursuit of tech innovations.

Chen Yujun, head of the strategy department at Shanghai Huahong Integrated Circuit Co Ltd, said that the city's rich industry resources have enabled it to become one of the world's most comprehensive chip clusters.

"We've seen the mushrooming of 239 chip design companies, nine wafer fabrication foundries and a number of world-leading integrated circuit packaging firms in Shanghai's Zhangjiang Science City," he said.

The science city is a special zone dedicated to developing strategic emerging industries.

During his keynote speech at the inaugural World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai in September, Tencent Chairman Pony Ma echoed this sentiment, saying: "The mature industrial chain of smart chips and software and hardware services have equipped Shanghai with an exceptional advantage in AI development."

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