Global contest to lure startups to ‘The Beauty Valley’

An aerial view of the innovation park at the Oriental Beauty Valley in Fengxian District.

A global competition in the biological medicine sector was launched in south Shanghai on Wednesday to attract leading startup firms to the newly expanded Shanghai free trade zone.

The entrepreneurship contest organized by Fengxian District government will be held through November in seven cities in China, Singapore, Israel and South Korea.

Two-thirds of the city’s southern outskirts, covering 14 square kilometers, have been listed as part of the new Lingang section of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone. 

The competition aims to invite the winning companies and projects from across the world to base and develop in the region, said Gu Yi, deputy director of Fengxian.

A total of 1,000 startup or innovative projects for medical instruments, intelligent medical services, cosmetology and genetic technology will be canvassed from cities, including Beijing, Ningbo in neighboring Zhejiang Province and Shenzhen in east Guangdong Province.

Three leading projects will be selected at each city for a final competition in the “Oriental Beauty Valley,” a business district focused on the cosmetics and health industries in Fengxian.

An award totaling 10 million yuan (US$1.4 million) has been prepared for the 30 winners to be selected by experts and industrial leaders from both home and abroad, said Tang Dongying, director with the district’s science and technology commission.

“If the winning companies decide to be based in the valley, it can receive at most 3 million yuan in subsidies along with preferential policies,” Tang said.


A researcher works in a lab in an innovation park of the Oriental Beauty Valley in Fengxian District.

The valley, the first of its kind in Shanghai, includes a 20-square-kilometer core section which will serve as the headquarters of domestic and international companies.

China’s leading cosmetics brands such as Jala, Pechoin, Chicmax and Marie Dalgar have manufacturing centers or marketing headquarters in the valley, which aims to be on a par with France’s Cosmetic Valley in Eure-et-Loir and Loiret and Japan’s Saito Life Science Park in northern Osaka.

The valley has attracted nearly 100 cosmetics companies and generates more than 40 percent of the total value of the city’s cosmetics industry. The district government expects the value of cosmetic and health products manufactured in the valley to reach 100 billion yuan by 2025.

However, companies in the valley mainly focus on the traditional medical industry and can hardly form an industrial chain from research and development to production, Gu said.

The competition aims to bring the source of innovation to the valley to become a “Silicon Valley in the life and health sector,” Gu said.

“Companies no longer need to concern about the working space or equipment, but focus on their research and development,” the district director promised.

Shanghai has announced an action plan to increase its biological medicine industry to 400 billion yuan in 2020 from 300 billion yuan in 2017, with at least 50 new medicines and 100 new medical devices.

It also aims to become an R&D and manufacturing center, as well as outsourcing and service center for biomedical products in the Asia-Pacific region, becoming a global hub of biomedical innovation by 2025.

An innovation park of the Oriental Beauty Valley in Fengxian District

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