Suzhou Industrial Park Uses Education to Spur Business Park Growth

thinking about business parks in Suzhou

Thinking about business parks in Suzhou

Usually real estate news stories lead off with headlines on millions of renminbi invested or thousands of square metres leased, but a big property story is unfolding piece by piece in Suzhou, and it’s driven by names like Harvard, NUS and Berkeley, instead of by brands like Vanke, Fosun and SOHO.

Ultimately, this narrative about learning may help to create the most significant innovation centre in China’s push to move up the industrial value chain.

The headline driving this innovation story this week is a recent announcement about a cooperative education program backed by George Washington University from the US, and based in Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP). The story contains no information on multi-million dollar investments, and merely points out that the university will set up teaching and office space in the Suzhou Dushu Lake and Science Education Innovation District in SIP.

However, according to our unofficial count here at Mingtiandi, this cooperative program with George Washington University is the 10th international education program to be announced at SIP in the last 18 months. Here are some examples from the parade of foreign universities setting up research and teaching centres at SIP recently.

That’s a lot of education and research programs and it has the potential to add up to some real innovation in this eastern China city.

For those of you less familiar with Suzhou Industrial Park, it is one of China’s best-known and most developed special economic zones. While ten years ago many of the companies there were making circuit boards or stamping things from sheet metal, the development, which is jointly operated by the governments of China and Singapore has been transforming itself into a centre for service industries. Moving from factory space to business park offices.

So while there has been talk by numerous business park developers around China about setting up the next Silicon Valley, it seems like Suzhou Industrial Park is serious about supporting the education programs that help to build great high tech companies.

And that should be the surest way to fill some business park space.




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