Guangdong’s hi-tech hub is seeing a rise in investment in higher education

News Highlights: Guangdong’s hi-tech hub is seeing a rise in investment in higher education

Guangdong’s hi-tech hub is seeing a rise in investment in higher education

Pray to rival Silicon Valley with homegrown talent

Shoppers attempt to pick up cosmetic products from wholesalers in Mingtong Digital City Market in Shenzhen’s Huaqiangbei Area, Guangdong Province, on Nov.5, 2020. (photo from Reuters)

An investment boom in higher education institutions is taking place in Guangdong Province, one of China’s largest manufacturing hubs and the emerging high-tech region with great ambitions to rival Silicon Valley in the United States.

Guangdong is opening 11 new universities this year, with more to follow in the coming years. In the city of Shenzhen, the local government announced that it would invest 150 billion yuan (670 billion baht) by 2025 to build 20 new universities and colleges, with the aim of increasing the number of full-time students on campus in the city to 250,000 from now about 103,800.

Government-backed grants and funding have been washed away to support the blueprint for higher education. Three universities in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) – a megapolis with nine cities in mainland China, including Shenzhen, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau – received a combined annual budget of about 29 billion yuan in 2020.

In China’s quest to be self-sufficient in technology, access to top talent is an urgent requirement. While China has attracted some foreign talent to the mainland, its higher education plans indicate that it hopes to cultivate talent in its own way.

Several Hong Kong universities are also flocking to set up activities in the GBA.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong opened a campus in Shenzhen in 2014, which was quickly regarded as Shenzhen’s top university, with independence in teaching, teacher recruitment and curriculum.

The construction of a 30.7 billion yuan Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus in Foshan city was included in Guangdong’s 2020 development plan.

At least two other universities in Hong Kong are expanding in Guangdong – City University in Dongguan and Open University in Zhaoqing.

Central and provincial governments are very aggressive in supporting the expansion of higher education in the GBA, said Simon Zhao, associate dean of the Humanities and Social Sciences division of BNU-HKBU United International College.

“Based on China’s science and technology strategy and the current investment scale, the gap between higher education institutions in the GBA and the top universities in Hong Kong and the West will quickly close,” he said. “This, of course, also depends on China’s continued opening up and success in easing technical decoupling with the US.”

Beijing’s plan is to transform this southern region of 71.2 million people into a high-tech powerhouse that can rival California’s Silicon Valley by 2035.

In addition, Shenzhen, home to many of China’s Fortune 500 companies, especially tech sector companies such as Huawei Technologies, ZTE, DJI and Mindray, already has a rich ecosystem of start-ups, business incubators and accelerators in technology, biotechnology. , health technology and innovation.

“More than 10 years ago, when I chose to work at Shenzhen University, I didn’t think that Shenzhen’s economy, technology sector or local higher education could move forward so quickly,” said a professor who received his PhD and to many in the US worked for years until the end of the 2000s, making them unidentifiable. “Shenzhen’s funding for higher education is very substantial, especially for research and development in the basic disciplines of science and engineering.

“The [US-China] trade war is a good thing for us as it makes China see the hidden dangers and risks to its technical security. Without sanctions against Huawei and semiconductors, China’s technology industries would have no idea how the West sees them.

“The trade war is actually a huge boost to the Chinese government’s strategy of investing huge sums of money in original research, recognizing that neither technology-related mergers and acquisitions nor copycat [production], can ensure the rise of China. “

At the same time, Guangdong’s higher education is lagging far behind Beijing’s ambitions to be more competitive in science and technology.

In the QS World University Rankings 2020, Hong Kong had five universities in the top 100, while the mainland had six – mainly in Shanghai and Beijing. No Guangdong-based university has cracked the top 300.

And Guangdong’s gross enrollment rate – the percentage of youth entering higher education – was 46% in 2019, below the national average of 51.6%, according to government data.

However, Guangdong’s 2019 figure represented a significant growth of only 28% in 2010.

Via: www.bangkokpost.com

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