IRG 2-3: Drivers of Nanotechnology Commercialization in China: Suzhou Industrial Park

(Parker, Appelbaum, Cao, Han, Gebbie, Stocking, Nightingale)

Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) – one of China’s showcase high-tech parks – is only fifty miles (and 30 minutes by high-speed train) west of Shanghai. SIP is jockeying to propel Jiangsu Province ahead of its neighbors to become the Silicon Valley of China.  One rapidly growing sector of SIP, dubbed Nanopolis (a play on Singapore’s successful Biopolis) is home to some of China’s rising nanotechnology startups.  Promising nanotech firms are provided support for business plan development, legal and incubation services, and significant rent subsidies, among other perks.  In parallel with China’s efforts to strengthen its research capacity through science parks such as SIP, the country is increasingly leveraging its large stores of overseas Chinese scientists and engineers to elevate the status of Chinese nanotechnology.  China’s plan is to establish itself as a knowledge economy through ties with its Diaspora community trained in the US, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere.  

During this reporting period we therefore focused on Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), seen as “China's Silicon Valley,” focusing on commercialization.  (We also conducted research in Shanghai.) The research this past year has primarily consisted of interviews, although we are beginning to work with Luciano to analyze publications and patents.  We conducted two field trips: April 16-26, 2012, to Shanghai and SIP (with Matt, Galen, Shirley, Cong, and Rachel); and September 9-12, 2012, to the SIP-Chinano Exhibition and Conference (with Shirley). Dozens of interviews conducted during each visit.