Innovative Hangzhou Ranks Top Developed City in China

HANGZHOU, China, April 7, 2017 /Xinhua-AsiaNet/ — Hangzhou, a city in east China which successfully hosted the G20 summit in September 2016, was called a historical and cultural city full of innovation vigor. The city upheld its reputation in 2016 by achieving an economic output of 1.1 trillion yuan (160 billion U.S. dollars) in 2016, becoming a new member city of the “trillion yuan” club. Its GDP per capita reached the same level of rich countries and its index of residents happiness was the highest among Chinese cities.

Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba and an iconic figure of Hangzhou city, said that Hangzhou was in the past regarded as back garden of Shanghai due to its scenic beauty and comfort of living environment, but now it has become a model of the new type of social and economic development in China thanks to its ever-growing innovation vigor.

Over the past five years, the Hangzhou municipal government set it as the No. 1 project to develop information economy and promote intelligent application and achieved an average annual growth of 9 percent. In 2016, the added value of information economy reached 268.8 billion yuan (39 billion U.S. dollars), contributing over 50 percent of GDP growth.

Both Chinese and foreign economists believe that the success proves that China’s supply-side reform is paying off in this city. Cities like Hangzhou bring into play their comparative advantage and stick to the transition to information economy, which creates quality environment for young entrepreneurship.

The legendary story of Jack Ma is well known in the world. As a matter of fact, there are many more e-commerce companies like Alibaba in Hangzhou. The city is China’s first experiment zone of cross-border e-commerce and hosts more than one-third of China’s e-commerce enterprises. According to iResearch, a third-party data provider, 40 percent of China’s B2B trading platforms with annual sales over 10 million yuan are located in Hangzhou.

Hangzhou is also China’s national independent innovation demonstration zone. There is a Dream Town in the west of Hangzhou. People call it a fantasy island born with dreams. The start-up stories of combing internet entrepreneurship with capital are happening every day here. With an area of three square kilometers, the Dream Town attracts more than 7,000 entrepreneurs and 700 projects. A big share of those entrepreneurs are born after 1990.

Hangzhou has become a magnet for talent, capital, projects and other high-end elements of entrepreneurship. The latest figures show that in 2016 Hangzhou ranked first on the list of TOP20 Chinese cities which has net inflow of talents. LinkedIn said in its latest report that Hangzhou is among the Top Three cities in China which are most attractive in the eyes of foreigners. In the past three years, over 230,000 overseas talents chose to settle down in Hangzhou and 94 percent of them work in information software, bio-medicine, new energy, energy conservation, financial services, etc.

For example, in Ant Financial Services Group, officially founded in October 2014 and originated from Alipay which is the world’s leading third-party payment platform founded in 2004, there is a community of returnees from abroad. A majority of them have previously worked for some big names like Facebook, Google, Amazon, eBay, Microsoft.

They made a go of what the global financial institutions want to do but failed: providing inclusive financial services to small and micro enterprises and individual consumers and helping them enjoy the same financial services as easily as having a cup of drink, no matter whether they are rich or poor, and which country they came from.

Zhao Yide, the Chinese Communist Party chief of Hangzhou, said that the city has to break through all obstacles on its way to economic and innovative development and economic transformation.

“We have to speed up the creation of a center for innovation and entrepreneurship, which is based on ‘Internet Plus’ strategy and has global influence, so that Hangzhou can develop into a beautiful international city,” he said.

Source: Hangzhou Municipal Government

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