A bird's-eye view of Suzhou New District [Photo/subaonet.com]
Suzhou New District is located in the west of Suzhou, Jiangsu province, with Taihu Lake to the west and the 2,500-year-old core of the city to the east. It was one of the first national high-tech zones, and, in addition to high technology, is also known for its charming natural scenery and profound culture.
The district covers 223.36 square kilometers and administers two towns (Xushuguan and Tong'an), five subdistricts (Shishan, Fengqiao, Hengtang, Zhenhu and Dongzhu), the Xushuguan National Economic and Technological Development Zone, Suzhou Science and Technology Town, Western Suzhou Ecotourism Resort and the SND Integrated Free Trade Zone.
Topographically, SND is elevated in the west and depressed in the east. It has a subtropical monsoonal climate with distinct seasons and is mild and humid all year round. Its average temperature is around 17.7 C.
The district enjoys convenient transport links, being 90 km from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, 130 km from Pudong International Airport, 100 km from Shanghai Port, 90 km from Zhangjiagang Port, 70 km from Taicang Port and 60 km from Changshu Port. Besides, a string of traffic channels, including the Huning (Shanghai-Nanjing) highway, State Road 312, the Suzhou round-the-city expressway, the Jinghu (Beijing-Shanghai) railway and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, run across the district.
SND, the former Hexi New District, had no independent administrative area before February 1992. The district has administered six villages on behalf of Hengtang town since March 1992. It covers 6.8 sq km, stretching from the Grand Canal in the east to the Shizi and Heshan mountains in the west, and running from Xiangyang River in the south to Fengqiao town in the north.
In November 1992, the district was approved by the State Council as a national high-tech industrial development zone. It was officially named Suzhou New District in 2002.
The district has witnessed soaring development, becoming the key driving force of Suzhou's economic growth, a demonstration area for self-innovation, an industrial base for high technologies, and one of the most prosperous commercial areas in the city.
In 2022, its GDP reached nearly 176.62 billion yuan ($25.69 billion), a year-on-year increase of 3 percent and the revenue in the general public budget was 18.2 billion yuan.
SND has become a hotspot for innovative platforms, with roughly 100 institutes so far. A number of institutes opened in the district, including the Research Institute for Environmental Innovation (Suzhou) of Tsinghua, State Grid (Suzhou) City & Energy Research Institute Co, the Suzhou Medical Appliances Research Institute of Southeast University and the Suzhou Electroacoustic Industrial Base of the Institute of Acoustics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Huada life and health town and Suzhou finance town were designated as two of Suzhou's first characteristic towns. Suzhou embroidery town was also so designated and was one of the first national pilots for culture and tourism integration. SND was also selected as a Jiangsu characteristic base for fin-tech service and a pilot area for culture and finance integration.
Furthermore, SND has rolled out a series of policies concerning talent and technology, attracting more than 229,000 talents, with the number of sci-tech leading talents and teams amounting to 1,000.
SND has striven to optimize urban functions, by pushing forward construction of infrastructure such as subway lines 3 and 5, renovation of Shishan Road, planning of a culture square and a scenery belt along the canal. The district is now collecting design plans from around the world for the Dongwu Museum, Suzhou Science and Technology Museum and an art theatre.
SND has also made continuous efforts in civilized city construction, selecting morality models, building up a bigger volunteer team, and strengthening environmental and traffic improvements. The Shushan village in the district has won the title of "National Civilized Village."
In terms of public culture service, SND has issued five documents on cultural construction, built 29 cultural service centers, set up a folk orchestra and held the Taihu international marathon.
Moreover, the district has maintained continuous improvement in legal construction, winning such honors as provincial safe county (city or district) and provincial demonstration area for legal construction.
SND puts equal emphasis on environmental protection, and has adopted a series of measures to control air and water pollution. Coal-fired boilers under 35 T/h have been almost closed down. Dredging of 28 rivers, with a length of 32.7 km, has been completed. The quality rate of drinking water has reached 100 percent. As one of the first national green industrial parks, SND has added and renovated green areas of 2 million square meters, with greenery coverage reaching 46 percent. Furthermore, the district has built 176 cooperative economic organizations and 2.36 million-square-meter projects for rural development.
SND has planned and implemented 33 key reform tasks, advancing nine integrated reform measures and four national pilot reform programs. The promotion of structural reform on the supply side helped enterprises and society generally relieve fiscal burdens of 3.3 billion yuan. The reform of approval procedures and business registration (such as provision of an all-in-one business license) also has brought multiple benefits. About 96 percent of approval items are finished online. The number of newly-added companies and registered capital has risen by 26 percent and 21 percent.
Apart from standardizing reports on important matters and review of the board of supervisors, SND has introduced an annuity system and salary system of responsible persons.
Meanwhile, with focus on an open economy, the district has seen 21 percent growth in import-export value and attracted 14 new foreign-funded projects. The emerging industries took up over 45 percent of the foreign capital. The integrated free trade zone became the province's first designated inland port for meat imports. The quantity of shipments on the Sino-European (Suzhou) railroad ranked top in the country. The Suzhou-Yancheng Coastal Cooperative Development Zone has attracted 15 projects above 100 million yuan.
The income of district residents has steadily improved thanks to the district's efforts in local enrichment. Social spending accounted for over 70 percent of the general public budget expenditure, and per capita disposable income of urban and rural residents increased by eight percent. To optimize the assurance system, SND launched implementation suggestions and a system of poverty alleviation. The basic medical insurance and critical illness insurance rates came to 99.98 percent and 99.95 percent. The efforts also included construction of 770,000 square meters of resettlement housing, building and renovation of 20 schools, two hospitals and 10 care centers, and provision of 46 nursing care beds for every 1,000 elderly people. To maintain social stability, public officials have frequently visited grassroots areas, solving social contradictions and avoiding hidden dangers.
In the future, SND will continue promoting balanced economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress and coordinated implementation of the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy. It will work on sustainable economic growth, reform, structural adjustment, livelihood improvement and risk prevention, with a focus on supply-side structural reform, in an attempt to become a model of innovation-driven development.
1. Attracting high-end resources:
SND will promote comprehensive innovation, especially in sci-tech, enhance functions of innovation platforms, attract more global talents and institutes, and guide financial and capital resources to create a cluster of leading innovative industries.
2. Developing high-end industries
The district will strive to foster industries with key competitiveness, developing emerging industries of new information technology, new energy, medical appliances and bio-medicine, and boosting high-end, smart and green development of the manufacturing industry to drive regional industrial upgrading.
3. Fostering new format for innovative industries
SND will speed up the integration of Internet, big data, cloud computing and AI in other industries, promote a sharing economy, and the digital and platform economies, build up a modern supply chain, transform the district into a key part of the national value chain, industrial chain and innovation chain, and provide a successful demonstration for provincial transformation.
4. Building innovation ecosystem
SND will integrate the innovation concept into economic and social development, build a highland for innovation policies and culture, and create a comfortable environment. SND will combine its market, governmental, and social advantages to build a strong ecosystem that makes innovation a new highlight of the district.