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March 31, 2021

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Qingpu set to be Shanghai’s new software heart

A NEW software hub is taking shape in west Shanghai as the city strives to become an international powerhouse of the digital economy by 2022.

As a landmark project in the emerging software hub in Qingpu District, the Shanghai Caohejing Zhaoxiang Business Park has completed nearly 90 percent of its planned construction areas of 1 million square meters. The first batch of riverfront offices will be available for use in June this year, according to a latest official report from the district.

The business park, with a total investment of 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion), is a cooperation project between Shanghai Caohejing High-Tech Park and Qingpu District’s Zhaoxiang Town. The town has earmarked about 500 mu (33 hectares) for the construction of the park that focuses on the development of chips, new materials and smart robots.

About 130 enterprises have registered in the park, more than half of which are high-tech related to the digital economy.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the park’s revenue has grown continuously over the past three years since the beginning of its construction. Total taxes paid by the end of 2020 were 260 million yuan (US$40 million).

To the immediate south of the business park lies another high-profile software park in the making. The Shixi (west of the city) Software Park will eventually cover more than 5,000 mu, with a core area spanning 1.5 square kilometers. It will focus on the development of big data, cloud computing, industrial software, integrated circuits and smart chips, among other things.

The Shixi Software Park was launched in 2017 and is still under construction. It is expected to generate an operating income of 150 billion yuan by 2025. An official report released yesterday shows 53 enterprises had registered by the end of March.

These two adjacent business parks oriented towards software development are part of Qingpu’s “digital artery” that spans the G50 Highway. To the west of the two parks is Huawei’s R&D center in the making. To the east is the Hongqiao International Opening-up Hub to be completed by 2035, covering 7,000 square kilometers over parts of Shanghai and nearby regions.

Global digital hub

The “digital artery” also lies at the heart of a green and integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta Region. It passes through west Shanghai as well as parts of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces, where many booming manufacturing businesses are clustered. The software products developed in west Shanghai will go a long way to help upgrade those businesses with digital technology. Early in February, Shanghai announced that it will strive to build itself into an international hub of digital economy by 2022.

What is the digital economy? There seems to be no universal definition yet.

But one explanation is that the digital economy is the economic activity that results from everyday online connections among people, businesses, devices, data, and processes.

The backbone of the digital economy is hyperconnectivity that results from the Internet, mobile technology and the Internet of Things.

Zhangjiang in the Pudong New Area has been a pioneer of digital economy. Now, on the wings of the national strategies of further opening-up and integrated growth of the Yangtze River Delta, Qingpu is throwing its weight behind building a new software hub, hence the saying: “In the east there’s Zhangjiang; in the west, there’s Zhaoxiang.”


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