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'Intelligent communities' rise in tech zone

Updated : 2015-03-23

By Hao Nan ( China Daily )

After years of development, the Harbin Economic and Technological Development Zone has become a powerful engine driving economic growth in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province.

The province's largest industrial cluster, it is home to three pillar industries - advanced equipment manufacturing, organic food processing and next-generation electronic and information technology - that planners ay will each become 100 billion yuan ($16 billion) sectors.

Also, it has China's first logistics center delivering e-commerce parcels to Russia, as well as the province's largest aerospace and automobile industrial base.

In a survey by the Ministry of Commerce, the zone was found to be one of China's industrial development zones with the most investment value.

In recent years, the zone's major economic index has shown continuous growth. Its foreign-funded companies now account for 25 percent of the provincial total and50 percent of the listed companies in the province.

It is now home to 28 Fortune Global 500 companies including John Deere, Ting Hsin International and CNH Co.

South Harbin Industrial City, a part of the zone, is considered a new attraction for investors.

It covers a total area of over 460 square kilometers, including a 75 sq km core development area.

More than 8,000 companies have moved to the area since it was built in 2010 covering fields such as new materials, electronic information and robots.

Authorities of the Harbin Economic and Technological Development Zone said they consider innovation the core for economic transformation and industrial upgrade and promoting healthy growth in strategic emerging sectors.

Two State-level technology research centers, a national R&D base and six postdoctoral workstations are now operational in the zone, with nearly 1,000 experts and scholars.

The zone also focuses on the development of the creative industry through a provincial-level animation industry center, a digital library, and publishing and advertising industry parks. The zone has more than 300 creative-related companies with combined annual sales of 20 billion yuan.

Smart community

The burgeoning information technology industry not only boosts local industries but also brings benefits to daily life.

Using locally developed information technologies, communities are going smart.

In Pingfang district, which is now a part of the South Harbin Industrial City, before people needed at least a month to get approval for a small loan by repeatedly visiting the district government and street offices to deliver related documents.

But now the process has been shortened to less than a week due to local government efforts to build intelligent communities.

Building on its former experience in offering one-stop, comprehensive services, the local government last year initiated the intelligent community program that aims to further improve administrative efficiency through the use of new information technologies.

It chose six communities as the pilot of the program.

The communities' public service systems are linked with the systems of all governmental departments in the district, making it possible for local residents and businesses to access to government services in their neighborhood or even at home.

"With their ID cards, people only need to find one staff member in their community to deliver all the documents for them (to apply for administrative services)," said a local government official.

The district has also developed a 24-hour online administrative approval system.

As well, the district government developed two smartphone apps. One is used to receive public complaints and comments on issues relating to environmental protection and infrastructure, and the other provides social services information.

Volunteer Hu Jiwu once photographed the rubbish on grassland on side of Songhua Road, then uploaded the photo and information to the app. Six minutes later, he got a response that the city management and monitoring center accepted the request. Sixteen minutes later, a cleaner arrived at the site.

"Responding to public demands with efficient solutions is the most direct way to show the effectiveness of government work," said Yu Dezhi, head of the district government.

The district government also offered a special mobile phone service for the elderly. They can ask the community service center for help by pressing one button.