Technology Oct 25

Shanghai spending big to build the new ‘Silicon Valley’

New Lingang Area, which aims to be a global innovation district, houses Tesla factories that will build electric vehicles and the world's biggest planetarium; it will be an industrial base for production of integrated circuits and semiconductors, officials say

Shanghai spending big to build new ‘Silicon Valley’
The Shanghai Planetarium, which covers 38,000 square metres and will be the world's largest planetarium when it opens in 2021, is seen in Lingang New City in Shanghai's Pudong New Area district with Dishui Lake in the background. Photo taken on 4 October 2019 by Zhong Jianfeng / Imaginechina via AFP.

(ATF) Officials in Shanghai have announced they are investing billions of yuan into building a 'new Silicon Valley' set-up, full of companies in emerging industries.

"Over the past year, more than half of 78 policy tasks have been completed; high-end resource elements have accelerated the grouping of Lingang New Area, involving a total investment of more than 270 billion yuan (over US$40.4 billion)," the deputy secretary-general of Shanghai Municipal Government and secretary of the Party Working Committee of Lingang New Area, said.

Known as the Shanghai Lingang New Area, this will be a national rival to similar areas in Beijing and Shenzhen, as well as global innovation centers. Emerging industries have already migrated to the area, while institutional innovations have also set up shop. According to ce.cn this will be a new business district like Lujiazui. Lujiazui is the area of skyscrapers that make up the famous Shanghai skyline.

The Shanghai Lingang New Area is next to the Dishui Lake – an ancient scenic area in the neighbouring city of Suzhou, which is slowly becoming part of the large growing Shanghai metropolis. The area is famous for being the home of ancient scholars. Suzhou is essentially becoming a suburb of Shanghai, only a few minutes away by high-speed train.

This photo from mid-July 2020 shows work continuing on buildings in phase 2 of the Tesla Gigafactory 3, where Elon Musk's electric vehicles will be constructed in Lingang New Area, on the fringe of Shanghai. Photo: Zheng Xintao / Imaginechina via AFP.

Zhu Zhisong, executive deputy director of the management committee, said in an interview with ce.cn: "We have two small goals: one is to invest 200 billion yuan in frontier science and technology industries by the end of this year. The other is to build meeting the needs of modern urban functioning construction.

"We strive to achieve 200 billion yuan in projects started by the end of the year, and make greater contributions to the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta.

"Our production line is very sensitive to vibration (from traffic), so the requirements for the production environment are very high, so as to ensure continuous operation of the equipment," Zhu added.

Tech-mad: Chinese citizens try out the new iPhone 12 mobile phones at an Apple store in Shanghai on October 23, 2020. (AFP).

Visitors carefully observe various kinds of chips exhibited at different booths by semiconductor companies at the 18th China International Semiconductor Expo in Shanghai on 14 October 2020. Long Wei / Imaginechina via AFP.

Semiconductor production line 

Shanghai Jita Semiconductor Co Ltd will be based in the new area. CEO Yin Buhua told reporters that according to the plan, the first phase of project plans is to build a 0.11μm/0.13μm/0.18μm (micron)-process production lines with a monthly capacity of 60,000 8-inch wafers. All kinds of production lines will achieve full mass production this year. It plans to expand the 12-inch special-process production line to a monthly production capacity of 50,000 pieces. 

"Our chips are used in automotive electronics, rail transit, smart grid and other fields. After full production, it will become a leading domestic automotive-grade semiconductor production line," Yin Buhua said.

Wu Qunfeng, director of the Risk Prevention Division, said that the Lingang New Area has signed contracts and plans to implement integrated-circuit projects in the near future with a total investment of nearly 160 billion yuan ($24 billion).

It will build a national integrated-circuit industrial base, with a full supply chain. He said it will be known as the ‘Eastern Core Port,’ and will include aircraft facilities.

Stacks of containers and cars are seen in Lingang New Area in August 2019. China's State Council, or cabinet, issued an overall plan for this area in Shanghai's Pilot Free Trade Zone, for the new area to be set up south of Dazhi River, east of Jinhui port, and south of Xiaoyangshan Island and Pudong International Airport. The district launched first covers an area of 119.5 square kilometres. The new section aims to match the most competitive free-trade zones worldwide and implement opening-up policies and systems with strong global market competitiveness. Dong Fang / Imaginechina, AFP.

A Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet is seen at the Aircraft Theme Park in Shanghai in March 2018. This plane was due to be moved for construction of one of the biggest parks in downtown Pudong. The big Aircraft Park, covering more than 40,000 square metres at the former World Expo 2010 site, opened in 2013. More than 500 aircraft, tanks and ships were displayed in its exhibition hall. Photo: Shen Chunchen/ Imaginechina, AFP.

Aircraft Park

One portion of the area will be known as the ‘Big Aircraft Park’ to promote the convergence of aviation manufacturing and aviation services, develop final assembly delivery, key facilities, production support, technology research and development, aviation culture and tourism and other industrial fields, and cultivate a world-class aviation industry cluster.

In August this year, the "Lingang New Area Innovative Industry Plan" was released. The industrial development of the new area must not only improve the "quantity", but also achieve a breakthrough in the "quality" of such zones, officials announced.

On September 7 this year, the commercial entity registration confirmation system was officially implemented in the Lingang New Area Industry-City Integration Zone. It has a range of approximately 386 square kilometres. 

As early as last year, this policy was written into the overall plan of the Lingang New Area; in March this year, after the inauguration of the Lingang New Area Market Supervision and Administration Bureau, it was clearly proposed that the reform of the registration confirmation system for commercial entities would be promoted in a coordinated manner. 

Now that the policy has been implemented, many entrepreneurs have begun setting up shop.

"Lingang is becoming more and more like a complete city," the general manager of Shanghai CRRC Essendi Marine Equipment Co Ltd said.

The world's most famous and creative high-tech hub is Silicon Valley, in the southern San Francisco Bay Area of California, which has been the home of many start-ups and global technology companies, such as Apple, Facebook and Google. Whether Lingang New Area can match this in any way, only time will tell. But local officials certainly appear to share that ambition.

ALSO SEE: Huawei inks deal in Shanghai to create its own microchips

As floods head to Shanghai, China frets on cost of climate change

Shanghai Lingang New Area 'Silicon city' High-tech industry semiconductors Tesla computer chips