Nantong, a coastal city in Jiangsu province, is transforming into an
innovation center to better serve the partial transfer of Shanghai's
industry to adjacent regions.
Nantong first set the goal to "build itself into an influential
hub city for innovation" as one of the four strategies for its future
development back in September 2016. The move was announced at a
city-level government conference.
In November 2017, the city organized a conference to guide the
construction of an innovation hub city, which promoted the project to a
The Nantong innovation zone has since become a major part of the
city's layout. The zone is located where the city's Chongchuan district,
Tongzhou district and Nantong development zone converge, covering an
area of 17 square kilometers.
Surrounding the Nantong innovation zone are the central business
district, Nantong development zone and Nantong University, giving it a
"golden location advantage".
"Now is the right time for the construction of Nantong innovation
zone," said Wu Zhiqiang, an academician from the China Engineering
Academy, adding that the zone will improve Nantong's status and become
the most active zone in the city.
Today, to collaborate with Shanghai's industrial plans, Nantong
is paving the way for the project dubbed "Three Ports, Three Districts
and Three Bases". The Nantong innovation zone aims to become the
backbone supporting the transfer of Shanghai's innovation-driven
industry to the city.
The zone's attractiveness is reflected in the arrival of internet and healthcare entrepreneurs from Shanghai.
The core value of innovation is the gathering of talent,
according to local officials. In the zone, a group of apartment
complexes with total floor space of 1 million square meters will be
offered to professionals from various fields for free use. The first
phase of the apartment building construction has been completed.
A talent fund worth 10 billion yuan ($1.54 billion) has been established to attract high-end professionals.
"Nantong should be admired for its sincerity and courage in
launching such successful policies," said Lu Jianghua, an academician
from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
In the coming years, the zone will introduce five educational
centers for postgraduate students from first-tier universities and will
gather more researchers and professionals from all levels.
At the same time, the zone is improving its infrastructure for
cultural exchange, education, healthcare, exhibitions, business and
A group of key projects initiated by national-level research
institutions and renowned companies, such as the Chinese Academy of
Sciences and internet giant Tencent, have been started in the zone, as
the result of seven official agreements and three framework agreements.
The key competitiveness of a region is innovation; and those who
can grasp the heart of innovation will become leaders of development,
according to Lu Zhipeng, Party chief of Nantong.
"Nantong has entered a stage in which it has no other option but
to innovate, and at a rapid pace. We must put innovation at the core of
our overall development layout, and accelerate the pace of building up
the innovation center," Lu said.
Strong foundation in terms of its talent pool, assets and
technology as an industrial base, as well as a rich innovation tradition
and culture, Lu said.