Financial "Relay Race" to Boost Scientific and Technological Innovation
Foshan China 2024-04-03 18:47

In Foshan Huashu Robotics Co., Ltd. Park (hereinafter referred to as "Huashu") , a compact robot swiftly shuttles in a confined space, transporting goods. It occupies only about 0.06 square meters of floor space, yet its speed exceeds that of traditional robots by over 30%.

This robot, independently developed by Huashu, features a dual-rotor structure, boasts a pioneering dual-rotor structure, marking a first in China and earning it multiple awards. Furthermore, Huashu allocates substantial funds annually in research and development (R&D), consistently bridging industry technology gaps and emerging as a cornerstone in domestic robot technology innovation.

On March 28, the "2023 Foshan National High-tech Industrial Development Zone Enterprise Innovation Scoreboard" was released, with 100 sci-tech enterprises listed, including Huashu.

The enterprise innovation scoring system is a new policy tool based on quantitative evaluation, rather than traditional financial or fiscal methods. Its aim is to expedite the discovery and precise support of small and medium-sized enterprises with strong R&D capabilities, great growth potential, and mastery of key core technologies. Since becoming one of the first national pilot units for this scoring system in 2021, Foshan National High-tech Industrial Development Zone (hereinafter referred to as "FHIDZ") has released the top 100 list for three consecutive years.

On the same day, a financial matchmaking conference was held, with seven banks jointly granting credit of 35 billion yuan to support scientific and technological innovation.

R&D Expense Growth Rate Reaches Up to 4821.98%

The "2023 FHIDZ Enterprise Innovation Scoreboard" includes the top 30 large, medium, and small enterprises, as well as the top 10 micro-enterprises. Leading brands such as Midea Groups, Brunp Recycling, Keda Manufacturing, and Huashu made the list.

Awarding ceremony for representative enterprises listed on "2023 Foshan National High-tech Industrial Development Zone Enterprise Innovation Scoreboard" (Photo/FHIDZ)

It is generally believed that Foshan's prosperity is grounded on manufacturing, with innovation as its soul. In 2023, Foshan's total industrial output value surpassed 3 trillion yuan, making it the second city in the country and the first in the province to achieve a "3 trillion industrial output."

This is reflected in the scoreboard as most of the listed enterprises are from sectors such as furniture and home appliances, robotics, high-end equipment manufacturing, and new materials, with a high proportion of manufacturing.

Another common feature of the listed enterprises is bold investment in scientific and technological innovation and digitalization. Meanwhile, they actively adjust and transform, becoming leaders in respective industry.

"We allocate over 15% of our annual sales revenue to R&D." Huashu's Deputy General Manager, Feng Xiaotong, introduced that as one of the listed companies, Huashu has focused on sectors such as machine tool numerical control systems, industrial robots and smart production lines, and supporting new energy vehicles in recent years. It has successively made over 400 core robot technology breakthroughs, with over 80% of core independent innovation, leading the industry.

Data shows that among the listed enterprises, the average ratio (R&D expense to revenue) is 9.44%, with an average growth rate of 1486.53%, and a maximum of 4821.98%. Both the ratio and the growth rate far exceed the city's average level.

High growth in R&D investment in the long term has effectively enhanced the core competitiveness of enterprises and further boast high-quality sci-tech innovation.

The number of patents is one visible indication. Among the listed enterprises, there were a total of 2496 authorized invention patents in 2023, with an average of 24.96 invention patents per enterprise, forming a total of 973 international, national, or industry standards.

Revenue is another reflection. Midea Washing Appliances Manufacturing Co., Ltd., located in Shunde, Foshan, has been listed for three consecutive years. "In recent years, not only has our production and sales scale doubled, but our operating income and profits have also grown by over 40% and 20% respectively," said Wei Zhaosong, Director of Strategic Investment of the company.

It is worth mentioning that compared to previous years, there are some "new faces" in the 2023 scoreboard, including Yuhuang Ecology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Yuhuang"), Guangdong Baode Technology Co., Ltd., and Chainzone Technology (Foshan) Co., Ltd.

Additionally, 67 companies have been listed for consecutive years, but their rankings have changed significantly. For example, as a medium-sized enterprise, Foshan DLT Technology Co., Ltd. rose from 17th place in 2022 to 1st place, indicating significant progress.

To some extent, it indicates that the evaluation scoreboard will dynamically change based on enterprise innovation capabilities—both for those significantly improving their innovation capabilities and for those with relatively poor innovation capabilities.

Behind this lies a set of characteristic evaluation systems created by Foshan National High-tech Industrial Development Zone, which play an important role. The system includes core indicators developed by the Torch Center of the Ministry of Science and Technology, as well as characteristic indicators tailored to Foshan's actual situation, highlighting the characteristics of the manufacturing industry.

Nowadays, this evaluation system continues to drive FHIDZ to unearth enterprises with strong innovation capabilities and great growth potential. As of now, FHIDZ has achieved precise profiling for 4,800 companies, effectively expanding the coverage of high-quality enterprises, and driving the city's high-quality development with scientific and technological innovation.

35 Billion Yuan Credit from 7 Banks to Build Financial Services Technology Ecosystem

"Development is the top priority, and innovation is the driving force." At the event, Wen Zewei, a second-level inspector from the Guangdong Provincial Department of Science and Technology, stated that promoting the deep integration of science and technology and finance is one of the focus areas this year. It is essential to combine initiatives such as the enterprise innovation scoring system to strongly support the development of technology-oriented enterprises.

As for Foshan, apart from the first step to discover enterprises with potential, the key is to further promote their development.

Enterprise development depends on capital. Financing difficulties have always been a major issue for technology-oriented enterprises. Therefore, at the event site, FHIDZ also held a financial matchmaking conference to provide solid financial support.

During the meeting, the FHIDZ Management Committee signed cooperation agreements with seven banks, including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Foshan Branch, the Construction Bank of China Foshan Branch, the Bank of China Foshan Branch and etc, granting a total credit of 35 billion yuan to support the innovative development of enterprises in FHIDZ.

Additionally, these seven banks have launched financial service plans tailored to the zone's innovation scoring, offering nearly 40 specialized science and technology financial products and services. FHIDZ has also hired eight financial experts as advisors, building a financial services technology ecosystem to support the scientific and technological innovation and economic development of FHIDZ.

"This matchmaking event provides a lot of information, and the financial support is substantial, which is very helpful for our development." Zhu Jieqiang, Deputy General Manager of Yuhuang , said that many of the listed companies, like Yuhuang, are asset-light enterprises without large-scale machinery and plants, but they possess strong R&D capabilities. Financial institutions can empower these enterprises' patented technologies and support their development.

In fact, the financial matchmaking event is one of the consistent efforts made to carry out the pilot work of the enterprise innovation scoring system.

Since 2020, FHIDZ has invited financial institutions, investment institutions, capital markets, and other social organizations in the pilot work of the enterprise innovation scoring system. For instance, Guangdong SME financing platform FHIDZ section and a series of exclusive financial products, such as "Enterprise Innovation Score Loan," "Intellectual Property Pledge Financing," "Guaranteed Loan," and "High-growth Enterprise Technology Loan," have been released. In 2023, Foshan National High-tech Industrial Development Zone and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Foshan Branch jointly launched the "Foshan National High-tech Industrial Development Zone Innovation Score Loan," benefiting 48 enterprises with an approval amount of 2.175 billion yuan.

"Publishing the enterprise innovation scorecard is like the government helping us screen the docking targets, which helps us quickly understand the needs of enterprises and provide credit support, thereby ensuring that financial vitality flows into the real economy that truly needs it." Li Xin, Deputy General Manager of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Foshan Branch, said.

Improve the Financial Supply Empowerment System to Cultivate New Force For Production

Accelerating the development of new productive forces is a complex systematic project.

FHIDZ has found a new breakthrough, which is the combination of "point" and "plane " to comprehensively optimize the financial supply.

From the "point" perspective, it is to continuously improve the enterprise innovation scoring evaluation system, actively explore the application scenarios of innovation scores. Meanwhile, FHIDZ would further deepen the cooperation between government and banks, improve the financial service system, enhance the service level, and innovate the methods of science and technology financial work.

As for "plane" perspective, FHIDZ would widely collect data from tax departments, market supervision departments, and high-quality enterprises in various industrial parks to expand the coverage of companies within the area. It would strive to achieve full coverage of enterprises within the high-tech zone as soon as possible. At the same time, efforts are being made to break through the data barriers of various departments, enhance the transparency of enterprise data, and achieve interconnection of enterprise data.

"FHIDZ is one of the main battlefields for driving high-quality development in the city through scientific and technological innovation." Hu Xuejun, Deputy Secretary of the Party Working Committee of FHIDZ and Director of the Management Committee, said that in the future, Foshan National High-tech Industrial Development Zone will continue to promote financial institutions to actively develop more special financial products for innovation scores, channel more capital to the real economy and the field of scientific and technological innovation. Therefore, more technology-oriented enterprises would be empowered by financial support, accelerating the innovation development of manufacturing industry.

Reporter | Eddie

Revisor | Eleanor, Lynn

Photo | Foshan National High-tech Industrial Development Zone

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