Hubei: Shine of Light of Innovation


For Hubei Province, the 40 years of reform and opening-up are not only the 40 years of continuous growth of industrial scale and improvement of industrial system, but also the 40 years of continuous optimization and upgrading of industrial structure. The 40 years of reform and opening-up have constantly promoted the innovative development of Hubei. At the beginning of the reform, the debate on the criterion for truth laid the foundation for the reform and innovation of Hubei. The reform of the Shashi City created a precedent for city reform of the country, invigorated and created Hanzheng Street, the “First Street in the World”, restored the foreign port of Wuhan Customs, and invited in China’s first “foreign director" Gerich, achieving a historic turning point of reform and development. Today, Wuhan City Circle has become the leader of “two-type” reform of China, the East Lake High-Tech Development Zone has led the innovation-driven growth, Ezhou Demonstration Zone of Comprehensive Reform has focused on deepening reform, and China (Hubei) Free Trade Zone has created a new benchmark for inland openness. Hubei has merited the country’s great trust and started a new journey of “building a fulcrum and walking in the forefront”.

With the stimulation of favorable policies and innovation, IP creation of Hubei has been effectively promoted, and a batch of enterprises with comprehensive IP capacity, competitive advantages in market and regional influence have been formed gradually, which influenced and drove the significant improvement of IP capacity of a large batch of enterprises.

In the first half of 2018, in Hubei Province, 56,531 patents application were filed with a year-on-year increase of 22.21%, 33,440 patents were granted with a year-on-year increase of 56.82%; therein, 23,568 applications for patents for invention were filed with an increase of 16.19%, and 5,708 patents for invention were granted with an increase of 11.57%, higher than the increase of 6.5% across the country. In the context of in-depth implementation of IP strategies, the innovation vitality of enterprises has provided strong support for Hubei Province to implement innovation-driven development strategy and to achieve improvement and upgrade of economic quality, and has become a new kinetic energy for Hubei’s economic development.

Supporting Enterprises to Innovate and Develop

Quantity and quality of applications for patents for invention in Hubei have made qualitative leaps in 2015, which was closely related to the rise of enterprises in “Optical Valley”, the East Lake High-Tech Development Zone of Wuhan. “East Lake High-Tech Development Zone has created a good external environment of IP protection for enterprises. As the first IP demonstration park of China, the Zone has a good environment of IP policies; it has been ceaselessly explored, improved, optimized and developed IP protection policy system with its own characteristics, provided innovation, policy supports and guidance in the whole IP fields covering patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, and played a positive role in enterprises’ improvement of quantity and quality of patents.” He Zhaozhong, Director of IP Office of the Management Committee of the East Lake High-Tech Development Zone, revealed the reason with a single comment.

“IP protection is the rigid demand of enterprises’ development; that along with the precise and convenient services provided by the government, you may say that in IP strategic layout, enterprises and the government ‘chime in easily’.” He Zhaozhong expressed that the East Lake High-Tech Development Zone had paid high attention to the cause of IP and actively facilitated enterprises to file patent applications.

At the end of 2015, the East Lake High-Tech Development Zone released Several Opinions on Further Strengthening IP Work (hereinafter referred to as “the Opinions”), in which way highlighted the strategic role of IP in promoting economic structural adjustment and industrial transformation and upgrading of the Zone, emphasized on high-tech enterprises’ dominant roles of innovation, respected the decisive role of market allocation of resources, solved the common problems in IP application and protection of the Zone, and reflected key and difficult issues needing to be solved in serving for IP work of enterprises. In 2016, the Zone comprehensively implemented the Opinions, and a total of 1,417 enterprises filed patent applications throughout the year. At the same time, to speed up the implementation of open drive strategy, improve the international development level of the Zone, promote industrial transformation and upgrading, and foster new advantages in international competition, at the beginning of 2017, the Management Committee of the Zone released and implemented a series of actions plans including the International Development Planning of Wuhan East Lake High-Tech Development Zone, established the Optics Valley Internationalization Leading Group, set up a special fund of one billion yuan, and supported the international development of enterprises from ten aspects such as international scientific and technological cooperation, co-working space and overseas IP distribution. This is another major measure of the Zone to support enterprises to strengthen the IP international protection after the release of the Opinions in 2015.

“IP development is inseparable from talents. Therefore, actively cultivating and bringing in IP compound talents and creating Optical Valley IP Talent Gathering Center has become one of the focuses of work." He Zhaozhong said that the East Lake High-Tech Development Zone has formed a multilevel IP talents cultivation mechanism, carried out IP continuing education and distance education, explored to implement order-oriented talents cultivation mechanism of IP services, and built an IP service talent cultivation base. Relying on the Thousand Talents Program of China, Hundred Talents Plan of Hubei, Yellow Crane Talents Program of Wuhan and “3551” Optical Valley Talents Program Platform of the East Lake High-Tech Development Zone, top IP talents have been gathered together.

In this context, the “Optical Valley IP Innovation and Entrepreneurship Salon” located in the East Lake High-Tech Development Zone emerged at the right moment. The salon is mainly targeted at enterprises in industrial parks of Optics Valley and other enterprises, public institutions, colleges and universities, and aims to, with the support of IP academic exchanges, hold influential brand academic conferences, special forums and training so as to enhance enterprises’ capacity of IP operation and protection, and, with the link of capitals, establish a service platform for integration between innovation and market as well as between innovation and capitals so as to promote the vigorous development of IP in the region.

Dynamic Regional Innovation

Xiaogan City, as a member of Wuhan “1+8” city circle, has made remarkable progress in IP development in recent years. “Xiaogan City has achieved sound and fast IP development in recent years, which is inseparable from the high attention of the government of Xiaogan City. IP development in turn has promoted the economic development of Xiaogan City. You may say that this is one of the highlights of Xiaogan’s IP work.” The relevant person in charge of the Hubei Intellectual Property Bureau said.

In recent years, the municipal Party committee and the government of Xiaogan City have seized the opportunity of development, vigorously implemented IP strategies, carried out the “Five Principles of Development”, clarified the working ideas for promoting the implementation of IP strategies, and strove to provide more powerful IP supports for the city’s economic and social development.

From 2013 to 2016, Tao Hong, Secretary of Xiaogan Municipal Party Committee at the time, put forward the working ideas of accelerating the construction of national IP pilot and demonstration city, convened a “Thousand people” mobilization meeting for the construction work,  successively released a series of work plans to incorporate the construction work into the overall work of reform and development of the city and into the key projects for reform, and integrated resources across the city to implement above plans. In 2017, Teng Gang, Secretary of Xiaogan Municipal Party Committee at the time, proposed to incorporate the work of construction of demonstration city into the overall development strategy of the municipal level with the target of building a powerful IP city, released special plans, established a vertical linkage model between cities and counties, and urged all counties (cities, districts) to start the construction work simultaneously. Yingcheng and Anlu were approved as pilot counties (districts) of national IP strong county projects, while Xiaonan, Xiaochang, and National High-tech Zone of Xiaogan actively acted to create grassroots-level pilots with their own characteristics. 

In 2018, Pan Qisheng, Secretary of Xiaogan Municipal Party Committee, included the demonstration construction work into the “five-oriented” management project of the government's key works, and effectively promoted the construction work to have clear objectives, objectives to have clear projects, projects to have clear engineering, engineering to have clear responsibilities, and responsibilities evaluation to have clear order. Through the “five-oriented management”, lists of projects are created, executable and quantifiable task indicators are formulated, and responsible persons, schedules and deadlines are clarified. In this way, working acts are further strengthened, drawbacks are improved, construction tasks are implemented in a scientific and effective way, and the successful completion of tasks in various stages of demonstration and cultivation is guaranteed.

“Since the implementation of the demonstration construction work, the average annual increase of the number of patent applications and the number of granted patents in the city has remained above 40%, and all work has jumped to the forefront of Hubei. Xiaogan City has been rated as ‘National IP Excellent Pilot City’ and ‘National IP Pilot Advanced Unit’ for several consecutive years, and ranked first in the comprehensive IP performance appraisal among provinces and cities in 2016 and 2017 for two consecutive years.” said Cai Xiuyun, Director of Xiaogan Intellectual Property Office.

40 years made Hubei glorious and gave Hubei valuable experiences. Hubei still needs to practice earnestly and bravely, strive constantly, continue to carry forward the spirit of “enduring great hardships in pioneer work”, strengthen the innovative awareness of “dare to be the first and make a great coup”, boldly explore and innovate, promote reform and development, realize open development, and work hard to build a well-off society in an all-round way and to “building a fulcrum and walking in the forefront”.

Reporter's notes

40 years of wind and rain have passed like songs. Since the reform and opening-up, Hubei, a province with rich cultural heritages and unique humanistic charms, is making great achievements in economic and industrial development with the persistent pursuit of ceaseless scientific research and innovation and succession of the former.

Innovation leads the development; to build a road of innovation and to benefit the people, it is necessary to continuously promote the in-depth implementation of IP strategies of Hubei, enhance innovative awareness, stimulate innovative vitality, promote the transformation and utilization of IP achievements, and accelerate the formation of a new pattern of innovative development, so as to create a good environment for business and innovation and provide important supports for Hubei’s economic and social development. In the future, the IP work in Hubei will be continuously promoted, and will certainly add a bright touch to China's reform and opening-up process. (Translated from SIPO Website Chinese Version)