As Chinese government units and tech enterprises are ramping up efforts to ride the wave of Web 3.0 in recent years, Chongqing announced on Tuesday that it will become the first city in western China to develop Web 3.0 with a series of supportive policies and a 500 million yuan ($68.68 million) funding program.
Web 3.0 is widely considered a decentralized internet powered by blockchain and artificial intelligence technologies.
"The Liangjiang Collaborative Innovation Zone will focus on the digital technology industry led by next-generation internet, such as collaborative robots, humanoid robots, the satellite internet industry and financial technology," said Xu Hongqiu, deputy director of the Chongqing Liangjiang New Area administrative committee at the Mingyue Lake Global Innovation Conference on Tuesday.
Liangjiang New Area will build seven enabling platforms — an AI public computing power-sharing service platform, computing power interconnection scheduling platform, digital asset sandbox supervision service and data fusion "training warehouse" platform, app technology testing platform, AI large model verification and evaluation platform, and cross-border data flow supervision and security monitoring platform, as well as a satellite internet terminal detection public service platform.
"It aims to provide compliance review services and high-quality data element guarantees for Web 3.0 and artificial general intelligence (AGI) innovation companies, create a safe and compliant development environment for internet companies to carry out business innovation, and promote digital products to go overseas," Xu said.
The area, established in June 2010, is the first national development zone in inland China and the third in the country after Shanghai's Pudong New Area and Tianjin's Binhai New Area.
Liangjiang Collaborative Innovation Zone (LCIZ) is a critical area for Chongqing to create innovative ideas and transform them into industrial fruits. It has attracted some 50 research institutions from domestic and international universities, with 25 teams led by academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to settle in the zone.
Since 2022, Beijing and Shanghai have both rolled out plans for Web 3.0 development, but the concept is relatively new in China's inland western regions, where economic and technological development lags behind coastal areas.
At the innovation conference, experts pointed out that Web 3.0 will be the cornerstone of Chongqing's digital technology innovation.
Wang Anshun, former deputy director of the Development Research Center of the State Council, said that scientific and technological innovation are becoming the main battlefield of major countries. Chongqing's innovation capabilities have been among the first-class in the country and it shoulders greater responsibilities.
"In the development of digital technology led by next-generation internet, Chongqing should take the initiative to respond to new challenges, open up new tracks and promote technological innovation in major global scientific and technological issues," Wang said in a speech.
Sheng Xitai, chairman of Hongtai Aplus, which currently manages funds worth 30 billion yuan, said that Chongqing has attracted more investment this year as China's capital market has shifted its focus to new energy and specialized and sophisticated enterprises that produce new and unique products.
"Thanks to its strength in advanced manufacturing, Chongqing has moved from No 16 to No 7 in the country in terms of capital activity, with seven IPOs from January to August this year," he said.
In 2022, the Government Work Report stated that China will work to nurture specialized and sophisticated enterprises that produce new and unique products, and provide them with more support in terms of funding, personnel and the development of business incubation platforms.
Aidong Sports, a digital fitness content producer founded in 2013 and headquartered in Shanghai, is among the first nine companies to sign investment agreements with the LCIZ, with others including Amazon Web Services and Hongsong Online Technology Co Ltd, an online interest community for middle-aged and elderly people.
Aidong Sports intends to launch a smart fitness hardware business in the LCIZ, including research and development, design and testing.
Zhao Yuhui, CEO assistant of Aidong Sports, said that technology platforms, policy support and strong local talent are the main reasons why the company chose to partner with Liangjiang New Area.
"The local government offers strong support in both finance and policies for companies like us. Also, Chongqing has a strong talent pool in engineering and labor costs are lower than operating in first-tier cities such as Shanghai," she said.