Yuan Guohua (left), president of the Shanghai Lingang Economic Development (Group) Co, Ltd, shakes hands with Ed Lee, mayor of San Francisco, at the opening ceremony for the company’s first overseas innovation center in downtown San Francisco on Tuesday. CHANG JUN / CHINA DAILY

Yuan Guohua (left), president of the Shanghai Lingang Economic Development (Group) Co, Ltd, shakes hands with Ed Lee, mayor of San Francisco, at the opening ceremony for the company’s first overseas innovation center in downtown San Francisco on Tuesday. CHANG JUN / CHINA DAILY

Shanghai Lingang Economic Development (Group) Co Ltd, the third largest industrial park developer in China, has set up its first overseas innovation center in San Francisco to tap into the Silicon Valley.

The Shanghai-based company chose San Francisco to build its first overseas innovation center over many other options in Europe, Israel and Japan, because of the city's innovation culture and its positioning with the Silicon Valley – the world's capital of innovation.

"As an industrial park developer, we have the responsibility to experience and learn first-hand the innovative culture and get integrated with global innovation in the place where the most advanced technologies were created," said Yuan Guohua, president of Shanghai Lingang, at a launch ceremony held on Tuesday in San Francisco.

"Through the platform of the innovation center, the innovators and entrepreneurs in Shanghai and even China are expected to connect with the overseas resources, including talents technologies and capital, to enter the US market," he said.

In June 2016, the state-owned company invested $42.6 million to purchase an office building in downtown San Francisco. The six-story building (and a basement), with a floor space of 63,143 square feet (5,866 square meters) houses the innovation center.

Thanks to the expansion of high-tech companies in San Francisco, the area where the building is located will continue attracting more high-tech companies to move in, said the company.

Established in September 2003 with a registered capital of 6.8 billion yuan ($1 billion), Shanghai Lingang has been carrying out more than 10 urban renovation projects as well as industrial parks development in Shanghai.

Among the industrial parks developed by the company, the Shanghai Lingang Industrial Area and Caohejing Hi-Tech Park have been designated by the Shanghai government to build high-tech innovation centers.

Other parks developed by Shanghai Lingang include the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone, Shanghai Lingang Tech and Innovation City, Shanghai Lingang Songjiang Hi-Tech City, Shanghai Lingang Taopu Tech Town, Caohejing Kangqiao Hi-tech Park, Nanqiao Hi-tech Park, Pujiang Hi-tech Park and Fengjing Tech and Innovation Town.

Currently, Shanghai Lingang's industrial parks house more than 7,000 companies and over 400,000 staff. The total revenue of the companies registered 537.1 billion yuan ($79.4 billion), with a total investment of 54.9 billion yuan ($8.1 billion), and the total assets of the group at 58.7 billion yuan ($8.68 billion) in 2014.

Yuan said internationalization will be the long-term strategy for Shanghai Lingang because only by integrating with global innovation can a company thrive and realize sustainable development.

The innovation center also will service the American companies to help them enter the Chinese market and promote exchanges between the two sides to realize "two-way integration" and serve as a "two-way incubator", Yuan noted.

"Shanghai, with the growth of the parks, has already begun this innovation by providing service to some of the companies that have been here for several years now," said Ed Lee, mayor of San Francisco.

He said the Shanghai-San Francisco sister city relationship has been one of the most productive of its kind around the world. "So it's befitting that Shanghai Lingang builds another innovation center in San Francisco to continue the over 35 years of exchanges of talent," Lee said.

He called the relationship between Shanghai Lingang and San Francisco "blossoming" by exposing and introducing many San Francisco-based entrepreneurs to China.

By LIA ZHU in San Francisco(China Daily USA)