Changping: The keystone of innovation and sustainability in Beijing's northwest frontier #rwanda #RwOT


This district, covering an area of 1,343.5 square kilometers and home to a population of 2.269 million, stands as a testament to Beijing's strategic evolution from its historical roots to a beacon of modernity.

Historical significance and strategic position

Located in the northwest of Beijing, bordered by the Taihang Mountains to the west and the Yanshan Mountains to the north, Changping has always been pivotal in the capital's defense and administration.

Known historically as the "place of strategic importance in the capital," its role has evolved significantly. Today, Changping is not just about strategic location; it is about strategic development, transitioning into a vibrant, open, and inclusive city with a rich blend of cultural heritage and modern lifestyle.

The model of Future Science City inside an exhibition hall in Changping District.

Catalyst of scientific innovation and technology

At the heart of Changping's transformation is its emergence as a leading science city. The district boasts 56 national, provincial, and ministerial key laboratories, alongside 210 engineering technology centers, creating a robust environment for research and development.

This scientific prowess is underscored by the presence of 37 listed enterprises and more than 2,000 high-tech companies, including 464 enterprises focusing on special and sophisticated technologies that produce novel products. Among these, 26 are recognized as unicorn and potential unicorn enterprises.

Changping's role in global science is further cemented by the establishment of the first national laboratory in life sciences and a pioneering national laboratory in energy research.

The district has achieved notable scientific feats such as the development of cell scorching techniques and the creation of 4500-volt insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) chips.

As part of the Beijing International Science and Technology Innovation Center, the Future Science City in Changping, with a planned area of 170.6 square kilometers, exemplifies an innovative 'two valleys and one park' model consisting of Life Valley, Energy Valley, and Shahe Higher Education Park.

This strategic layout not only boosts Changping's scientific credentials but also facilitates its vision to become a modernized urban area.

The entrance of Future Science City exhibition hall in Changping District.

Academic excellence and educational hub

Changping's commitment to education is evident in its status as a thriving university town. The district is home to 41 universities, including some of China's top institutions such as Peking University and Tsinghua University, which collectively enroll about 148,000 students.

With 38 academicians and over 200 overseas high-level talents, along with more than 48,000 research personnel, the academic atmosphere in Changping is vibrant and dynamic.

A significant 44.4% of the district's population holds a university degree, mirroring the education levels of developed countries. Recent initiatives, such as the three-year action plan integrating schools with the city, underscore the strategic emphasis on education in urban development. This integration has seen the establishment of the Tsinghua University State Key Laboratories Nankou Base and the Peking University Production, Teaching, and Research Integration Innovation Center, further enhancing the district's educational landscape.

Championing eco-friendly development

As an eco-city, Changping demonstrates a commitment to sustainability. The district's terrain, 60% mountainous with a 49% forest coverage rate, forms a significant ecological barrier to the northwest of Beijing. It is the birthplace of the Wenyu Riverâ€"Beijing's mother riverâ€"which significantly contributes to the city's top air quality rankings.

Furthermore, Changping is unique in intersecting Beijing's three cultural belts and is home to three world cultural heritages, including the Ming Tombs, Juyongguan Great Wall, and the Grand Canal, enhancing both its ecological and cultural value.

Economic growth and industrial innovation

Economically, Changping has seen substantial growth, following a modern industrial system development strategy known as '3+2+1' (continuous and connected cycle of strategy).

This strategy includes leading industries such as medicine and health, advanced energy, and advanced manufacturing, each contributing to a GDP that collectively exceeds 130 billion yuan (over US$18 billion).

The medical and health industry, in particular, has grown rapidly, focusing on cutting-edge technologies like CGT and AI+R&D, and establishing a comprehensive industrial chain that spans basic research to terminal medical care. In 2022, this sector alone generated nearly 80 billion yuan (over US$11 billion), representing a significant portion of the district's economic output.

Creating a business-friendly environment

Changping's innovative and inclusive policies have made it a hotspot for investment and development.

The district leverages the advantages of the 'four zones' policies, which include the China (Beijing) Pilot Free Trade Zone and the Capital High-level Talent Highland Core Zone, among others.

This strategic policy framework, combined with a distinctive '1+1+N' industrial policy system, has cultivated a top-tier business environment that is attractive to both domestic and international enterprises.

The recent policy initiatives aimed at promoting sectors such as the beauty and health industry and the energy internet sector are poised to further boost economic development and enterprise growth.

Speaking to foreign journalists recently; Liu Qiang, the deputy mayor of Changping District outlined significant plans for the district's economic and cultural development.

Key initiatives include advancing synthetic biology manufacturing and enhancing the energy sector, notably through the development of the energy internet and new technologies like hydrogen energy and carbon capture.

The district expects to see substantial growth in advanced manufacturing, with a target output value surpassing 130 billion yuan in 2024, and aiming for 240 billion yuan by the end of the "Fourteenth Five-Year Plan" through new industrialization efforts.

Additionally, Changping is committed to creating an internationally friendly environment, demonstrated by innovative cultural events and improved public and government services aimed at attracting and supporting international talents and enterprises.

Liu Qiang, the deputy mayor of Changping District speaking to foreign journalists on Friday, 12th April 2024.

Théophile Niyitegeka

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