China maintains close science and technological cooperation with the world’s major innovation powerhouses, such as countries in Europe and the Middle East, despite the complicated international environment, according to an official.
Yang Song, deputy director of the International Cooperation Department of Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission and Zhongguancun Administrative Committee, told CGTN that Beijing has been actively promoting sci-tech cooperation with other countries through establishing inter-governmental cooperation platforms.
China now has various cooperation mechanisms with many key innovative countries, she said, adding that the cooperation momentum between China and the world’s majority countries and regions has not been affected by the U.S.’s tech cold war against China.
For example, the Beijing-Tel Aviv Innovation Conference, a major platform for cooperation and exchanges between Chinese and Israeli innovative companies, has been successfully held for eight years, and has facilitated a number of Israeli tech companies to start businesses in Beijing, according to Yang.
The capital city currently has 189 foreign-funded enterprises with research and development (R&D) functions, she said.
Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharmaceutical company that takes up about 70 percent of the global market share of diabetes care, set up its Chinese R&D center in Beijing’s Zhongguancun in 1997, becoming the first multinational pharmaceutical company to do so.
“In recent years, as China has gradually become one of the world’s biotechnology powerhouses, we have truly felt the vitality of local innovative enterprises,” said Han Dan, President of Novo Nordisk’s Chinese R&D Center.
In March 2019, the company set up the INNOVO open innovation platform, hoping to expand R&D cooperation in China. Through the platform, the company’s Chinese R&D Center can join hands with Chinese universities, biotech companies, hospitals and research institutions to jointly promote early stage development of innovative drugs and share research findings, Han said.
Collaborations through the platform can cover a wide range of areas, including therapeutic areas such as the treatment of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, as well as innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence and gene therapy to help solve key issues in drug development, she elaborated.
So far, Novo Nordisk has evaluated over 80 innovative projects, and reached cooperation intentions with more than 30 of them, Han added.
Zhongguancun Development Group, a company established in 2010 to serve Beijing’s innovation-driven development, has been proactively integrating into the global innovation network, said Lu Jiang, general manager of ZGC International Holding Limited.
So far, the company has set up innovation centers in the Silicon Valley in the U.S., Heidelberg in Germany and Tel Aviv in Israel, as well as corporate service offices in Canada’s Toronto, Finland’s Helsinki and Japan’s Tokyo, so as to link global innovation resources.
It has also signed strategic cooperation agreements with European institutions and companies such as France’s Photonics and Microwave Competitiveness Cluster known as Alpha-RLH and UK company 8 Hours Ahead, to jointly promote cross-border services for tech firms.
In international cooperation, China, as the world’s largest single market, has its unique advantage, Lu said.
As the country is undergoing manufacturing upgrading, it has great demand for innovative applications, which makes it extremely attractive to global tech companies, he added.