SenseTime, a Chinese tech unicorn, showcases its smart car technology during the World Artificial Intelligence Conference held in Shanghai in September. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Already known for finance and shipping, Shanghai carves a name for itself as a global tech hub

Editor’s note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China and the liberation of Shanghai. China Daily Global Weekly is running a special series of stories to commemorate the liberation of Shanghai on May 27, 1949, and revisit the feats accomplished by the city since that fateful day.

When Shanghai Vice-Mayor Wu Qing made the world’s first 5G video call during a ceremony on March 30, he was turning the”high resolution, low latency” tech rhetoric into reality.

The deployment of the superfast mobile network will redefine life in Shanghai. With this new technology, residents will be able to watch live broadcasts of town hall meetings and enjoy lightning-quick downloads of high-resolution movies in public areas in the city.

On the larger scale, this accomplishment has affirmed Shanghai’s reputation as a major technology hub and an attractive place for coders, algorithm engineers and startup firms.

But Shanghai was not always viewed as a tech powerhouse in China.

For years, there was an unspoken sense of disappointment in the city’s technology circles about not being home to any of the companies within the coveted tech trinity — Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.

Rather than just trying to lure big names, however, the municipality crafted industry plans that played to its strengths “with both discretion and foresight”, according to industry experts.

“Shanghai is not lagging behind but sticking to its own pace,” said Hsiao-Wuen Hon, vice-president of Microsoft and managing director of Microsoft Research Asia.

“In fact, government officials here were engaged in discussions of developing artificial intelligence at a time when nobody really took it too seriously.”

Shanghai’s efforts to become a global tech hub started gaining steam in 2016 when it officially announced its ambition to transform itself into a science and technology center of core functions with global influence by 2030. Four major tasks, including establishing a comprehensive national science center and implementing basic projects and strategic programs, were identified as being crucial to the achievement of this goal.

The city then stepped on the gas pedal by unveiling a string of measures such as improved talent policies, preferential taxation, the identification of more high-tech enterprises, and the enhancement of tech-related infrastructure.

This science and tech ambition then came into full swing when Shanghai’s Party Chief Li Qiang introduced the concept of promoting the city’s “four brands” in late 2017. Through this initiative, Shanghai would encourage the incubation of core technologies and uphold”Shanghai manufacturing” as a core pillar in its development.

Representatives pose for photos at a ceremony celebrating the 60th anniversary of the campaign of democratic reform in Tibet is held in Lhasa on March 28, 2019. [Photo/VCG]

BEIJING — The central government has arranged 189 projects worth 657.6 billion yuan (around $97.8 billion) in Tibet autonomous region since 2016 when the State Council issued a document on supporting the region’s economic and social development.

The projects were arranged in a coordinated manner to ensure people’s livelihoods, build ecological security barriers, complete the infrastructure system, and solidify the foundation for social stability.

The State Council document has provided a strong guarantee for making remarkable progress in the development of Tibet, promoting its long-term peace and stability, and building a moderately prosperous society in all respects in the region.

Thursday marks the 60th anniversary of democratic reform in Tibet that abolished ruthless theocracy and serfdom and established a socialist system that has seen booming economic, political, religious, cultural and social development on the plateau.

The 144-hour visa-free policy will further cement Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport’s status as an international aviation hub. [Photo by Zheng Caixiong/chinadaily.com.cn]

Guangdong province in South China will allow overseas travelers from 53 nations and regions to enjoy a 144-hour visa-free visit starting in May, with an aim to further promote the province’s tourism industry.

Lin Weixiong, deputy director general of the Guangdong Department of Public Security, said foreign passengers can visit all of Guangdong’s 21 prefecture-level cities when they have entered the province.

“In addition to the international airports, foreigners can enter and leave Guangdong through the four railways, the eight land and 15 water ports in the province,” Lin said at a press conference in the Guangdong provincial capital of Guangzhou on Tuesday.

“The new visa-free policy will play a very active role in promoting regional economic construction in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and advancing cooperation between Guangdong and the neighboring Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions in the following years,” Lin said.

The entry and exit and customs departments have now established special channels in airports, rail, land and water ports and are preparing to help foreign travelers through the procedures for 144-hour visa-free stays in Guangdong, he added.

[Photo/IC]

BEIJING – China’s extended May Day holiday this year will see another “tourism craze” with an estimated total of 160 million trips, the country’s biggest online travel agency Ctrip said Thursday.

The figure is about 50 percent higher than that of the Tomb-sweeping holiday which was from April 5 to 7, according to Ctrip’s prediction.

About 147 million trips were made during the three-day May Day holiday last year, up 9.3 percent year on year.

Ctrip had made an earlier forecast of 150 million trips after authorities’ decision to extend the vacation boosted online searches and orders for trips.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, announced last month that this year’s May Day holiday would be extended to four days, from May 1 to 4.

Ctrip data showed some 49 percent of users opted for journeys lasting four to six days thanks to the extension, and its services will take tourists to 90 countries and regions.

Long-range fire-extinguishing guns help fight a fire in Qinyuan county, Shanxi province, on Monday. The guns use shells containing a fire-suppressing powder. [Photo provided To China Daily]

Fire departments across China are on high alert each spring, when forests are prone to erupt in flames.

At least eight forest fires have occurred since the start of this year, with the deadliest killing 30 people who were fighting it.

In an attempt to improve the efficiency of firefighting operations and reduce safety risks, fire departments have begun to adopt machines such as specially modified artillery guns and tanks.

According to China North Industries Group Corp, commonly known as Norinco, eight long-range fire-extinguishing guns designed and built by the company arrived in Guojiaping village in Changzhi, Shanxi province, on Sunday at the request of provincial authorities to help quench the fire that had raged on a nearby mountain for several days.

The guns were used on Monday to launch shells containing fire-extinguishing agents onto the hill. With their assistance, firefighters were able to put out the blaze by afternoon, the State-owned defense conglomerate said on Wednesday.

Information from Norinco says the gun has a firing range of 8 kilometers, and each of its shells can scatter dry extinguishing agents over about 20 square meters. The gun features high mobility and accuracy, and is suitable for suppressing big fires, it said.

This is not the first time Norinco, the country’s largest arms producer for land weapons, has entered the realm of firefighting. Before the gun, the company had developed and sold a series of firefighting tanks.

With the chassis and armor of a combat tank, the vehicles can protect crew members from fire, explosions and building collapses, and can cross half-meter-high obstacles or 2-meter-wide trenches. They have automatic spray devices and fireproof coatings that can keep scorching heat out of the vehicles’ interiors.

The tanks can get closer to the scene than a fire engine for search-and-rescue missions, Norinco said.

Using 520-horsepower diesel engines and equipped with hydraulic devices, the tanks can clear away obstacles weighing up to 15 metric tons. Their metal tracks allow them to operate on slopes, in rocky terrain and in the debris of collapsed buildings.

The water cannon on the vehicles can spray water up to 65 meters.

Experts said that injuries to firefighters are mainly caused by close contact with flames or explosions, or by buildings collapsing as they enter a scene that fire engines have difficulty accessing.

Russia and Germany have also transformed old tanks into firefighting vehicles.

Heavy rainfall hits Dongguan, South China’s Guangdong province, waterlogging the city, on Aug 30, 2018. [Photo/IC]

BEIJING – China’s National Meteorological Center (NMC) Saturday issued alerts for extreme convection weather with heavy rainstorms, wind and hail in some southern parts of the country.

In the coming day, heavy rains will sweep over most parts of Guangdong, Fujian and Guizhou provinces as well as Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in southern China, the NMC said.

Rainstorms and downpour are forecast to pelt southern Guangdong and eastern Guangxi, and these areas will also see short-term thunderstorm, gale and hails, according to the NMC.

The observatory calls on the government and relevant departments to be well-prepared to cope with any emergencies caused by the rainstorm and suggests that the public suspend outdoor activities.

Local authorities in Shenzhen city, Guangdong province, confirmed on Saturday that 11 people were killed in floods triggered by a sudden rainstorm in the city on Thursday.

The Kah Kee architecture at the Jimei School in Xiamen is seen in this photo. [Photo/provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. As a journalist covering the Magnificent Seventy Years, Struggling for a New Era report, I was very happy to travel to the beautiful coastal city of Xiamen, Fujian province. Having once visited Xiamen as a tourist, I wanted to learn more about city and record its beauty in my videos. So, one person, one camera, I set off.

Jimei District in Xiamen city is the hometown of the famed overseas patriot Tan Kah Kee. The Jimei School and Xiamen University, which he founded, have been sets for many movies filmed with their unique Kah Kee architecture as a backdrop, while the Kah Kee spirit alive in the buildings reflects the cultural heritage of Xiamen and the beauty of humanity.

Tech company Meitu, based in Xiamen Software Park, has created the “beauty camera, “Meitu Xiuxiu”, and other software popular with young people love, their technology promoting an aesthetic of beauty.

China Daily reporter Yang Yi. [Photo/provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

What impressed me most on my trip was the fusion of different worlds: Xiamen, a former coastal line of defense in times of confrontation, has now become a shared home of integrative development. On the day I went to the Taiwan Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Base in Xiamen North Station, I caught up with a “flash” event held by the general labor union of Xiamen. Representatives of cross-Straits workers and entrepreneurs sang “Me and My Country” to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

After the event, base co-founder Liu Boxuan told me, “This activity is really good. It will allow more young people and workers on both sides of the Straits to have more contact and exchanges. It will also make the young people who come to the mainland to start a business become more grounded.”

Lai Shuzhen, a girl from Taiwan at the base, has been in Xiamen for more than two years. She said, “I think the young people on the mainland are much more brilliant than I thought. The logical thinking I learned from them is very useful for me.”

Along with the young people who came to Xiamen to start businesses, I also interviewed businessman from Taiwan who came to Xiamen for investment. Zhan Shufen came in 2006 and took over a steel factory founded by his father. After more than 10 years in Xiamen, she said she can’t get used to the life in Taiwan when she goes back, because Alipay and WeChat pay cannot be easily used. Now Zhan’s sister and her children also live in Xiamen, which makes me feel that “the two sides of the Taiwan Straits are one family” is not just a slogan, but a way of life.

After the 10-day trip from April 10-19, I think that Xiamen is not only a high-value city with ecological gardens, but also a high-quality city with innovation and entrepreneurship. This city, known for its beauty, has a bright future.

[Photo/VCG]

The Qinghai-Tibet railway is welcoming its first batch of female drivers since the railway’s opening in 2006, according to railway authorities on Wednesday.

A total of 78 female railway workers signed up for the position, 22 of whom saw their names on the primary list after two interviews, according to the Qinghai-Tibet Group of China Railway.

The candidates will go through health checkups and participate in a three-month training. After passing the test for the assistant driver position they will start their job, the company said.

With a total length of 1,956 kilometers, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway extends from Xining, capital of Qinghai province to Lhasa, capital of the Tibet autonomous region. Some 960 kilometers of its tracks are located 4,000 meters above sea level and the highest point is 5,072 meters. The harsh environment and record-setting altitude has been a long-standing concern for female drivers for a long time.

“It’s the first time for our company to elect female drivers on the rail line,” said Liu Jun, head of the locomotive maintenance department.

Trains on the Qinghai-Tibet railway are now equipped with microwave ovens, refrigerators and separate restrooms, which provide a more comfortable and convenient working environment for the staff, Liu said, adding rotating schedules has greatly eased their work intensity. This is helpful for the selection and training of female drivers, he added.

A Pu, a cartoon image of a young male panda who loves playing table tennis, has become the official global representative of China’s giant pandas.

The image of A Pu won the China Giant Panda Global Image Design Competition, selected from more than 2,023 works recruited globally from 22 countries, the competition’s organizers announced on Wednesday in Beijing.

The image of A Pu will be widely promoted as the official icon of China’s giant pandas through cooperation with entertainment and sports companies and will be a bridge connecting China with the rest of the world, they said.

Cartoons depict A Pu, emblem of giant pandas. [Photo/Provided to China Daily]

On Wednesday, the China Intercontinental Communication Center, one of the organizers of the competition, announced that they will produce animated films based on the image of A Pu and develop other related productions based on the image.

UPanda art exchange activities will take place and concerts by Chinese artists, including pianist Wu Muye, will introduce music combining traditional Chinese and Western elements to people worldwide.

Jointly organized by the communication center and the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Panda, the competition launched in February attracted designers from around the world.

The image of A Pu, created by a Beijing-based team with lead designer Wang Tianshi, was the ultimate winner.

Wang gave A Pu the identity of a young male panda who will soon be a freshman in college and loves playing table tennis. A Pu wears a red T-shirt on which an image of his favorite food-bamboo shoot-can be seen. The eyes of A Pu are heart-shaped, suggesting sentiments of love and caring.

“We were inspired while talking with some young and passionate people who have devoted themselves to the protection of giant pandas in Gansu province for years,” Wang said.

“We made the image as a vigorous young panda with a positive life attitude, always daring to face challenges in an uncertain future,” he said.

The name A Pu is similar to the pronunciation of “up”, as the theme of the competition is “UPanda, signifying the vitality of the young generation”.

“I strongly feel that the design reflects the new China which is modern and strong,” said Anthony Christov, a former Pixar Animation Studios artistic director and now the overseas consultant of Wang’s design team.

“I love the final result of the product because it conveys the openness of China to the world,” he said.

Ling Li, an official from the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said giant pandas are an important cultural ambassador of China.

“The image of A Pu, with wisdom, vitality and optimism, is a reflection of China’s young generation in the new era. It will play a positive role in the communication between China and the world,” he said.