A report conducted by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences found that the top 50 cities in the Yangtze River economic zone vary in the strength of their driving force for technological innovation and suggested ways for them to complement each other.
The Yangtze River economic zone includes nine provinces and two municipalities－Shanghai and Chongqing－and its population accounts for more than 40 percent of the country and the region’s GDP accounts for over a third of China’s figure.
A national development outline for the region released in September said that it should lead the mainland’s innovation-driven industrial transformation and upgrading.
Shanghai topped the report’s rankings with a total score of 0.721.
Nanjing came in second with a score of 0.576 and Chengdu took the third place with 0.430. Shanghai far surpassed Nanjing in Jiangsu province, Wuhan in Hubei province, Hangzhou in Zhejiang, Suzhou in Jiangsu, Changsha in Hunan and Chengdu in Sichuan province－which brought up the remaining top six other rankings in descending order.
The cities in the report were scored with 31 detailed indicators in areas including their total investments in technological innovation, technology output and performance.
Among the rankings were the 13 cities with the lowest scores. They included Zunyi in Guizhou province and Huanggang and Jingzhou in Hubei, with scores of around 0.1.
“Uneven development in the west region which lags behind the east part is an obvious factor,” said academy deputy director Wang Zhen.
“Generally, there is adequate room for innovation with cities that are not provincial capitals,” Wang added.
Wang said the main idea behind the rankings was to provide suggestions, harness the advantages of the different cities and innovate in a cooperative way.
“For example, investment in technological innovation in Suzhou is high but there’s a lack of comprehensive national-level research institutes in the city,” Wang said.
‘Suzhou can cooperate more with provincial capital cities, such as Wuhan and Nanjing, that have such resources.”
Some experts also urged provinces to develop towns specializing in technological innovation.
Xu Changle, deputy director of the Yangtze River economic zone research institute in Nantong University in Jiangsu, said that there were more than 9,000 towns along the region with a rich economic history.
“The cities in the Yangtze River Delta have a stronger economic background while the ones in the upper and middle reaches boast more natural resources,” Xu said.
“Most of them can find their unique positioning, combining their natural endowments with a burgeoning local industrial development.”
Good examples included Wuzhen, the town in Zhejiang province, which had established a name as a host of internet expos, Xu added.