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Tech and biomedicine giants sign up in Huangpu

By Chen Hong| Source: China Daily | Updated : 2020-09-01

A group of newly-signed heavyweight investment projects will boost the burgeoning Huangpu district of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, in the fields of autonomous driving, network security and the research and production of high-end medical equipment.

Guangzhou Apollo Intelligent Transportation, a subsidiary of China Internet tech giant Baidu, signed an agreement with a subsidiary of the State-owned Sci Group in Huangpu to develop self-driving technology and smart transport.

The project, with an expected investment of nearly 460 million yuan ($67 million), was signed during the Guangzhou Annual Investment Conference on Friday, an important platform for global elites to share views on cutting-edge economic topics and discuss cooperation and industrial development.

Baidu's Apollo also signed with Huangpu-based Guangzhou Public Transport Group to put autonomous driving technologies into public transport in Guangzhou.

"We expect that self-driving taxis and buses will run on the city's roads sooner or later," said Robin Li, chairman and CEO of Baidu.

Li said Guangzhou has been a leader to China's scientific innovation for a long time, while Guangdong Development District, located in Huangpu, is the center of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

He noted that Baidu has cooperated with GDD to set a benchmark for the application of intelligent network connection and will explore a new model for urban transport operators.

Tao Ji, general manager of Baidu's self-driving division, said Huangpu boasts a sound business environment.


Baidu's self-driving Robotaxi will hopefully be seen on the roads in Guangzhou in the near future. [Photo/China Daily]

The local government has launched policies that are bold and pioneering in promoting the development of strategic new industries, he noted.

Meanwhile, its strong industrial base, especially the highly-developed auto sector and fast-growing artificial intelligence sector, provides a solid foundation for smart network connection companies including Baidu. "The excellent environment of Huangpu has attracted Baidu to invest and settle. We will help Guangzhou build smart connection and smart transport industries with global influence," said Tao.

Also on Friday, five strategic partners of Baidu in the self-driving industry signed agreements to set up their regional centers in Huangpu.

On the same day, 360 Enterprise Security Group, which is affiliated to China's leading Internet security company Qihu 360, would locate its security brain project for the Greater Bay Area in Huangpu. The project will provide an internet security guarantee to the government and corporate clients in terms of emergency management, urban management, community and power.

In a subforum of the conference held on Friday by Huangpu district to highlight the development of the biomedical industry after the outbreak of COVID-19, three significant projects were signed. They will pave way for the district to become a world-leading base for high-end medical equipment, said He Lulu, deputy director of the Huangpu district government.

Xie Xiaoliang, a foreign academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and an academician of US National Academy of Sciences, said the highly-sensitive surveillance system for COVID-19 will heavily depend on big data collection and analysis of virus gene testing, which poses big challenges and opportunities to the biomedicine industry and gene-sequencing sector.

In one of the three projects, with the participation of Xie, a new biotechnology company invested by GDD Financial Holdings Group will be established on Guangzhou International Bio Island in GDD.

The new company will research and produce a self-developed gene sequence with world-leading technologies, which is expected to finish clinical tests and apply for registration in 2022. Its annual income will surpass 1 billion yuan four years after its products enter the market, Xie estimated.

Wang Yingjun, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, has promoted the cooperation between GDD and South China University of Technology to build an innovation and production plant for high-end medical apparatus and instruments.

"China is quite strong in research in the field of high-end medical equipment with many world-leading achievements, but relating industry is still weak," Wang said. "It needs collaboration between research, industry, supervision and the government. I believe the industry could develop quickly."

Backed by Wang and her team, the project will focus on industrializing the domestic and foreign scientific achievements. It will build a worldleading base for high-end medical apparatus and instruments.

More than 100 representatives from biomedical companies, new materials and fund companies joined the subforum.

Roger Liu, vice president of Astra-Zeneca China, a world-leading biopharmaceutical company, said it has decided to accelerate the development of its southern headquarters on Bio Island of GDD. The new headquarters will focus on Chinese medicine and aspiration products. Meanwhile, it has set up innovation funds to develop projects in these two fields, Liu told reporters. More than 1,000 biomedicine companies have been set up in Huangpu, accounting for nearly 60 percent of Guangzhou's total, according to official figures.

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