August 11, 2022


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China’s hi-tech hub Guangdong sees larger education and learning investments boom in bid to rival Silicon Valley with home-grown talent

a group of people sitting at a table in front of a crowd: The local government in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, says it will invest 150 billion yuan (US$23.21 billion) to build 20 new universities and colleges by 2025. Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The area governing administration in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, suggests it will devote 150 billion yuan (US$23.21 billion) to build 20 new universities and colleges by 2025. Picture: Ministry of International Affairs

An investment boom in establishments of higher instruction is getting spot in Guangdong province, 1 of China’s most significant production hubs and its up-and-coming hello-tech region with grand ambitions to rival Silicon Valley in the United States.

Guangdong will open 11 new universities this calendar year, with much more to occur in the upcoming several years. In Shenzhen town, the nearby government declared that it would make investments 150 billion yuan (US$23.21 billion) to make 20 new universities and faculties by 2025, with an aim of boosting the variety of full-time learners on campus in the town to 250,000 from about 103,800 now.

Governing administration-backed subsidies and funding have been splashed out to assist the bigger instruction blueprint. A few universities in the Higher Bay Place (GBA) – a megapolis comprising nine metropolitan areas in mainland China, such as Shenzhen, as perfectly as the Hong Kong and Macau exclusive administrative regions – obtained a combined once-a-year budget of around 29 billion yuan in 2020.

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In China’s quest to be self-enough in know-how, accessibility to top-tier talent is an urgent prerequisite. Though China has captivated some overseas talent to the mainland, its greater education options indicate that it hopes to acquire a property-developed technique to cultivating expertise.

Quite a few Hong Kong universities are also flocking to established up functions in the GBA.

Five-year program: China moves to technological innovation self-sufficiency

The Chinese University of Hong Kong opened a Shenzhen campus in 2014, which was quickly regarded as Shenzhen’s prime university, with independence in training, instructor recruitment and its curriculum.

The construction of a 30.7 billion yuan Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus in Foshan city was involved in Guangdong’s 2020 enhancement program.

At the very least two other Hong Kong universities are growing in Guangdong – City College in Dongguan and the Open up College in Zhaoqing.

The central and provincial governments are currently being very aggressive in supporting the growth of bigger training in the GBA, reported Simon Zhao, associate dean of BNU-HKBU United Global College’s Division of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“Primarily based on China’s science and know-how technique and the recent scale of expense, the hole involving greater education and learning establishments in the GBA and the major universities in Hong Kong and the West will close swiftly,” he stated. “Of class, this also depends on China’s continued opening up and success in easing the tech decoupling with the US.”

The (US-China) trade war is a fantastic issue for us because it allows China see the hidden potential risks and hazards to its tech safety

Shenzhen University professor

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

On leading of this, Shenzhen, dwelling to numerous of China’s Fortune 500 corporations, particularly tech-sector types these types of as Huawei Technologies, ZTE, DJI and Mindray, by now has a abundant ecosystem of begin-ups, business incubators and accelerators in tech, biotech, health-tech and innovation.

“More than 10 many years in the past, when I selected to sign up for Shenzhen University, I did not feel that Shenzhen’s economy, technologies sector nor local better education and learning could leap ahead so quickly,” stated a professor who been given his PhD and worked in the US for a lot of yrs until the late 2000s, declining to be discovered. “Shenzhen’s funding for bigger training is incredibly considerable, primarily for study and enhancement in the essential disciplines of science and engineering.

“The (US-China) trade war is a excellent matter for us since it lets China see the hidden potential risks and pitfalls to its tech stability. With out sanctions versus Huawei and semiconductors, Chinese tech industries would have no plan how the West sees them.

“The trade war is essentially a big boost to the Chinese government’s technique to spend substantial amounts in authentic study, knowledge that neither technological innovation-associated mergers and acquisitions, nor copycat (creation), can guarantee China’s rise.”

At the same time, Guangdong’s increased training nonetheless lags considerably driving Beijing’s ambitions to be much more aggressive in the parts of science and engineering.

In the 2020 QS World College Rankings, Hong Kong had 5 universities in the major 100, whilst the mainland had 6 – generally in Shanghai and Beijing. No Guangdong-primarily based college cracked the top rated 300.

And Guangdong’s gross enrolment ratio – the proportion of younger men and women getting better schooling – was 46 per cent in 2019, down below the countrywide normal of 51.6 for each cent, according to government facts.

Nevertheless, Guangdong’s 2019 determine represented substantial expansion from just 28 for every cent in 2010.

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This post initially appeared on the South China Morning Article (, the main news media reporting on China and Asia.

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