SF Express, one of China’s largest parcel companies, is testing helicopter drones to deliver packages. Although SF Express isn’t the first company using drones for commercial purposes, China is the first country to legalize parcel delivery this way. The police in Dongguan (Guangdong province, China) gave their permission and said it will do so in the future, as long as the companies are granted permission from civil aviation and air traffic authorities. At the same time the US is hampered by the fact that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not currently allow drones for commercial use in US airspace. Furthermore the FAA is not required to issue commercial drone rules until 2015.
The drones automatically deliver parcels to exact locations using a built-in navigation system, with a maximum error of about 2 meters. Furthermore they are capable of flying 100 meters high. Due to the growing e-commerce market, the drones can be of interesting value. In particular delivering parcels in remote areas and in busy cities struggling with traffic and pollution the helicopter drones can be useful. However SF Express only tested the drones, so we can only wonder about the next step in using drones for commercial purposes.
On October 14,2013, the opening ceremony of the 16th International Workshop on Business Incubation took place in Pudong, Shanghai. The workshop comprises a 5 days program with various lectures, group discussions and project matchmaking related to Business Incubation. The main theme of the week is ‘Business Incubation & Industry Cultivation’. There will be discussions on best practices of e.g. life science incubation. All in order to optimize the support of innovation through collaboration and clusters. At his keynote speech, Mr. An Lei, Deputy Director at the Division of Business Incubator Administration from the Torch High Technology Industry Development Center, showed impressing last year’s output on Business Incubation practices in China (see figure below).
At his opening remark, Mr. An Lei also mentioned the need of growth and efficiency. Business Incubators in China support start-ups, but also large scale companies with services. In general, incubators provide hardware (space), funds, expertise and service in order to guide new ideas and opportunities. New ideas and opportunities which are supposed to lead to economic growth.
Participants from more than 20 countries expressed their goal to build an international network, collaborate on technology transfers/co-research, incubate new entrepreneurs and create know-how on support of innovation in Shanghai until October 19.
The Washington Post posted an interesting article about Zhongguancun, the High-Tech hub in Beijing. We hereby share the article with courtesy to The Washington Post.
The number of technical staff working in Zhongguancun Science Park reached 402,000 last year as investment in high-tech sectors hit 91.8 billion yuan ($15 billion) in 2012, according to the latest Zhongguancun Index released in September.
The index showed that for every thousand employees in the park, an average of 253.7 were technical staff. With investment in research and development in Zhongguancun 5.3 times the rate of the whole country, nearly 40,000 patent applications were filed last year in the area, 43 percent of the total in Beijing. Among them 22,632 were granted, 44.8 percent of the total.
The area had 4,800 startup companies and 2,000 rapidly growing enterprises that generated revenue of more than 100 million yuan each in 2012, according to the index.
There were also 24 local companies on Deloitte’s “Technology Fast 50 China.”
On the latest list from Forbes magazine of the top 200 enterprises with potential in China, 46 are based in Zhongguancun Science Park.
Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) organized the 2013 Industry and University Consultation Forum (IUCF) Hong Kong on October 8.
ASTRI was founded by the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in 2000. It is the biggest of the five R&D centres set up by the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) of the HKSAR government to promote commercialisation and technology transfer. ASTRI aims to improve the research capability for Hong Kong’s technological development as well as to stimulate the growth of technology-based industries. It offers technology transfer, R&D professionals and intellectual property (IP) to partnering companies.
Dr Cheung Nim-kwan, CEO of ASTRI, mentioned that collaboration on scientific research should lead Hong Kong towards being a knowledge-based economy. Another speaker, Prof Timothy Tong, President of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. emphasized the importance of collaboration and exchange of ideas. A shift took place during the last two to three decades in which manufacturing moved more and more to South China and Southeast Asia. Prof Tong pointed out that manufacturing remains important for Hong Kong as well because it should provide high-end product service technology available to both Hong Kong and Mainland China. Academic expertise contributes to applied technologies and thus to the total community.
ASTRI’s successful collaborations and partnerships rely on the business model in which funding is provided from both government and industries. Depending on its share the industry owns (non-)exclusive licenses or foreground IP rights. This business model is open to international companies as well, making ASTRI an interesting partner for Dutch companies looking to do R&D in China. NOST is currently working on a mapping of R&D opportunities in Hong Kong, so stay tuned for more news.
Chinese telecom giant ZTE is again the company that is globally applying for the most patent cooperation treaty (PCT) patents, according to the statistics of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
Another well-known Chinese multinational is ranking 4th in WIPO’s list, namely Huawei.
The first Dutch company in the PCT ranking is Philips. Philips with its 9th place is contributing about 30% of the total PCT patent applications by the Netherlands. It is also good to see that the Netherlands has been able to increase its total patent filings with 14%.
As of August 1, all eligible small and micro-sized enterprises in the country will be exempted from value added tax (VAT) and business tax (BT). The policy is only temporary for now, but the State Council has announced that a similar long-term policy is currently being worked on.
The business community has welcomed the suspension of value-added tax and turnover tax for small businesses with monthly sales of less than 20,000 yuan (EUR 2,400), but some companies are also stating that the limit is rather low.
The State Council has estimated that the new policy will benefit more than 6 million small and micro-sized enterprises with regards to employment and revenues.
During the meeting, the government also agreed to further simplify China’s customs clearance procedures (such as by temporarily exempting statutory inspection fees for exported goods).
The presentation that Bas Lansdorp gave about Mars One and its mission, was the icing on the cake at DIST 2013. “Establish of a permanent human settlement on Mars in 2023.” A bold statement for sure, but Bas used his talk to convince the audience that it is in fact feasible. He finished with a video of the launch of their astronaut application program. Of course you want to see this with your own eyes!
ISIS – Innovative Solutions In Space was founded in 2006 as a spin-off from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. One of its co-founders Abe Bonnema was going to speak at DIST 2013. But because our event coincided with their satellite launch that had piggybacked on a Chinese Long March 2D rocket earlier that day in Jiuquan in the northwest of China, we instead called Abe on his mobile phone while he was still somewhere near the launch site.
Kirvan Pierson didn’t limit his presentation to TomTom, but presented the audience with an inspiring view on the future of cars and mobility during our DIST 2013 event. A future in which cars will drive themselves, communicate with each other and where companies like Google and Apple will become more involved in the car industry.
“The cloud is something that you perceive as the place where you store your pictures, your music, your videos, your e-mail. It’s all stored in a cloud. But what is it?” If you want to find out what answer Hugo Leijtens gives to his own question, and find out what this young and successful Dutch entrepreneur does in China with his company Nexocial, then you are encouraged to watch his talk at DIST 2013.