Qinhuangdao: Parks and Innovation

This is the fourth post in a series about a business trip I took to northeast Hebei province

Tangshan had heavy industries. Luanzhou had tourism. Qinhuangdao, the next city on our tour, had hi-tech parks.

Our government guides took us to two companies in Qinhuangdao’s Economy and Technology Development Park: Contec Medical Systems and Tianye Tolian Heavy Industry.

Contec is a medical equipment designer and manufacturer. From touch screen heart monitors and advanced ultrasound scanners to handheld ECG devices, Contec boasts a hi-tech arsenal of equipment for hospitals and clinics.

The company, founded in 1992, is one of many hi-tech enterprises enjoying preferential policies and a surge in sales as the city focuses on attracting private companies from home and abroad to boost the area’s profile as a center for hi-tech.

Inside Contec’s facilities, our group watched long production lines of people assemble medial equipment. There was a strong stench in the air, of plastics and paint and other things that probably aren’t good for your health (but don’t take my word, I’m not a doctor).

Aside from Contec, 103 hi-tech enterprises call the development park “home”. Multinationals, GE among them, from the United States, Japan and Korea have production facilities or R&D centers in the park.

Tianye Tolian Heavy Industry is also enjoying the perks of the development park. Tolian, which specializes in a special line of construction vehicles and machinery, has been the dominant player in bridge building in China, especially as the country enjoys a massive infrastructure construction boom.

Hi-tech parks like this are springing up all over China as the country gears itself toward domestic innovation. The country wants to rely less on foreign nations, which are already hesitant or unwilling to share their tech with China, and produce advanced products on their own to boost China’s image and credibility in the international community. Knocking off foreign products, China finally seems to be realizing, make not a world power with cultural and soft power influence.

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