The Future of China’s Global Innovation Center: An Interview with Zhao Gang, Director General

Interview with Laura Benold, Managing Editor, Smart Cities Connect

LB: Tell me about your work with the Global Innovation Center and what the organization hopes to do for smart cities.
ZG: The Global Innovation Center was officially established in September 2015, focusing on five major areas: technology transfer, business incubator, science and technology park, innovation and entrepreneurship training, and fund investment. At present, five research institutes have been set up: New Energy Research Institute, New Energy Automobile Research Institute, Smart City Research Institute, Taijian Health Research Institute, Intelligent Manufacturing Research Institute, and so on. Global Innovation Center integrates global science and technology innovation resources, providing technology, projects, talent, capital, etc. and selects some cities as pilot smart cities.

LB: Tell me about China’s role as a participant in the Global Innovation Center and how that relates to the work other countries are doing within the organization.
ZG: The Chinese government has always been very supportive of international scientific and technological cooperation; and at the same time, it is also very supportive of international scientific and technological cooperation. The Global Innovation Center has been supported by the Chinese government and local governments and city mayors. Each meeting of the Global Innovation Center has a local government or mayor of the city.
Other governments and organizations are also very supportive of the global innovation center business. There are 16 countries or regions that have a global innovation center branch.

LB: What do you hope to accomplish at the Global Innovation Center in 2018?
ZG: We hope to continue to expand the global innovation network for 30 countries and regions to establish branches, host the Global Innovation Summit, and host the Global Smart City Innovation Conference.

LB: Of which Global Innovation Center accomplishment from 2016-2017 are you most proud?
ZG: The Global Innovation Center in China completed construction on September 17, 2017 and held an opening ceremony. From China and internationally, 400 representatives attended the opening ceremony. We held the Global Innovation Summit Beijing Forum. This event marks the Global Innovation Center in China entering a new stage and the establishment of China’s headquarters.

LB: In your opinion, what does it mean to be a smart and innovative community; and why is that important?
ZG: Smart city and smart society are very important and can provide support for social governance, the development of industry, improvement to quality of life, and provide a high level of education.