Broadband network to link China’s tech parks

High-tech industrial parks in China will be linked together over a broadband network being built as part of the government-backed development project, according an executive of Wingo Network Technology Co. Ltd., which has been authorized to build the network.

Beijing-based Wingo will build the network as part of the Online Torch Plan, a government initiative for developing the nation’s high-tech industrial parks with the cooperation of experts from the European Union (EU), said Xiao Lee, vice-president of Wingo.

Many Chinese cities have begun developing high-tech parks in the past few years, hoping to boost their local economies with foreign investment and relatively high-paid jobs. Some foreign high-tech companies have established manufacturing and even research and development centers in the country, aiming to take advantage of relatively low-cost labour and a growing force of well-educated Chinese engineers.

The network will link high-tech parks in six Chinese cities by the end of this year and 53 such parks in China by the time it is completed in 2003, according to a report Wednesday by the official People’s Daily newspaper. Using the network, the administrators of the high-tech development zones will be able exchange information among themselves and with experts in the EU. It will provide an information platform for taxation, investment, education and other services in the parks and for introducing the companies within the parks.

The EU participants initially will help out through online information exchanges regarding high-tech industries and related subjects, the report said. The exchanges will bring European experts into the planning and financing of Chinese high-tech parks.

The initial phase of the network will link six cities, Changsha, Xian, Xiamen, Wuxi, Zhengzhou and Shenyang that were involved in feasibility research for the plan last October, the report said. A number of other parks, including Beijing’s Zhongguancun Science Park, have expressed interest in the project. The program began last year and is estimated to require a total investment of 7.6 billion renminbi (US$918 million).

Wingo, in Beijing, can be reached at