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Ren Hao: Exploring Innovation in Industrial Land Use to Promote High-quality Development of Industry-City Integration

Thu, Jan 11, 2024

On September 5, the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Planning and Natural Resources, the Pudong New Area and the Shanghai Office for the Promotion of Science and Technology Innovation Center jointly introduced the Opinions on Promoting the Pilot Management of Planned Land for the Scientific and Technological Innovation and Industrial Integration in Zhangjiang Science City (hereinafter referred to as the Opinions), which, by creating comprehensive industrial land M0, explores the innovative integration of industrial land and provides support for accelerating the efforts to build a modern industrial system supported by the real economy as well as opening up new space for high-quality industrial development. Since the introduction of the Opinions, 24 key projects, involving exemplary enterprises in biomedicine, integrated circuits and AI, have been newly contracted in Zhangjiang Science City.

Professor Ren Hao from the Department of Organizational Management (under preparation), Tongji SEM and distinguished researcher Zhang Jianbo from the Institute for Industry Research of Shanghai Jiao Tong University have recently been interviewed by the 632 Observation column of the Oriental Financial Pudong Channel, in which they shared their opinions about Zhangjiang Science City’s exploration of innovation in industrial land use and promotion of industry-city integration. The interview footage and a sample of its material are provided below.

Q1: The initiative is related to land resources. What does creating comprehensive industrial land M0 in the policy mean?

Ren Hao: China has a classification of urban industrial land, called Class M, which is divided into M1, M2 and M3 industrial lands. What are the differences between these three? They are divided according to the disturbance, pollution and safety hazards to human dwelling and public environment. The urban industrial land with the minimal impact is called M1 industrial land, such as R&D land, which basically has no pollution or disturbance to human life, while M3 is the land that produces pollutants, including the land for the chemical industry. Now, the policy adds M0 land before M1, which is also called industrial land with relatively zero pollution and zero disturbance. This type of industrial land can be used in a mixed manner: it can be used as R&D land or industrial pilot test land or be equipped with living and commercial supporting facilities.

Q2: In which aspect is Zhangjiang’s “creation” of comprehensive industrial land reflected?

Ren Hao: Regarding creation, M0 was actually proposed in places like Shenzhen in 2013. The M0 land proposed in the past was mostly for new land and could be used for comprehensive purposes. But the M0 land to be piloted in Zhangjiang Science City according to the Opinions of the government departments is not only for new land but also for stock land. For example, the industrial land previously approved can be reallocated or the land structure can be adjusted.

Q3: AI Island in the center of Zhangjiang Science City has evolved into an area with high integration between industry, academia and research after more than 30 years of development. In such an area, why was the land resource utilization initiative introduced?

Ren Hao: The emerging industries in Zhangjiang Science City, involving AI, biomedicine, etc., have higher requirements for industry-academia-research integration and industry-city integration. In the past, the government allocated some social functions of the city in a large space from a macro perspective.

However, from a micro perspective, some enterprises with much industrial land and large scale have some demands for supporting social functions and require a balance in the land allocated for production, R&D and life, and with the development of enterprises, the demand for diversity of industrial land is growing. For example, H-Grace or other biopharmaceutical enterprises originally demanded land only for R&D and production, but now, due to work demands, some R&D employees often need to work overtime, and most of them reside far away from the company. This causes problems with transportation and daily living, and may have a detrimental effect on the industrial upgrading and R&D innovation of enterprises. According to observations and statistics, the ratio of employees working and living in a park (talent apartments) has a great impact on the efficiency of industry, academia and research innovation: the higher the ratio, the greater the benefit. Not only should this policy be put into effect in Zhangjiang Science City, but I hope it can also be promoted and replicated in other parks as soon as possible.

Q4: The adjacent multiple pieces of industrial land of the same subject can be centrally equipped with life supporting facilities according to needs. What does this mean?

Ren Hao: The so-called same subject refers to the same developing enterprise which may own three or four pieces of land in adjacent areas. These pieces of land were originally all industrial land, like M1, M2 and M3. But now, the policy permits the same developer to adjust the structure of these adjacent pieces of industrial land, such as a piece of land for life supporting facilities and the other for commercial supporting facilities. For enterprises with high land use demands, adjustments can be made according to the policy.

Q5: Zhangjiang signed contracts for 24 key projects on the day the policy was released. Will the new policy bring benefits to enterprises?

Ren Hao: Yes. The first benefit is the potential rise in the resource utilization rate of stock land. According to previous policies, it was very difficult for enterprises that originally acquired land to change the land’s attribute, and if they plan to expand, they could have to develop in other places. Now this new policy can greatly unlock the utilization efficiency of stock land and boost the value creation of existing industrial land.

The second benefit is its radiating influence on future investment promotion. When enterprises acquire land and establish themselves, the policy can meet their composite demands and attract more quality enterprises to Zhangjiang.

Q6: The three major industries covered by this policy are AI, biomedicine and integrated circuits. Does the policy match and integrate with their development and characteristics?

Ren Hao: All these industries are new strategic leading industries, with relatively high R&D proportions. They have the talent-intensive characteristic in addition to the capital-intensive characteristic. In the long run, it will seem inconvenient for the employees if, after finishing their work at night, they have to go exhausted back to Puxi or another distant location in Pudong to rest. These high-tech workers will be more motivated and productive at work if their residential and commercial spaces are located close by, and if life-supporting facilities are improved. This will also better align with the growth of the three industries.

Q7: Whether it is revitalizing the stock land resources or increasing them, what are your suggestions and opinions regarding future development space?

Ren Hao: I agree with the other guest’s suggestion to expedite the restructuring of low-efficiency stock industrial land and further enhance the floor area ratio of industrial land.

I’d like to add the following suggestion: Regarding future development, the current industry-city integration primarily aims to change the single industrial nature in the industrial parks. For example, as I mentioned earlier, adding social functions related to life, commerce, culture, and other aspects on the basis of industrial functions in the park, which I call the “subject supplementing” stage. What should be the higher stage of integration? It is the integration between these subjects, namely, the realization of full exchange and integration between various enterprises and employees within the park, and only this kind of integration can truly drive high-quality development, which I call the “strong correlation” stage. The Netherlands has a High Tech Campus Eindhoven, where there are about 150 enterprises and 10,000 people per square kilometer and they create an average of four patents per day, with the annual patent output accounting for 40% of the entire Netherlands. How is that possible? The campus management organization organizes 500 social activities every year, in order to provide top-notch social activities for high-caliber people. In my view, the atmosphere of interaction and interchange between enterprises and employees at the campus is of great help to the stimulation of innovation capacity in sci-tech personnel and has reference value.


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