Suzhou New District (SND) 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.
With a population of 800,000, the district covers an area of 332 square kilometers, including 109 sq km of the Taihu lake area. It administers two towns (Xushuguan and Tong’an), five streets (Shishan, Fengqiao, Hengtang, Zhenhu, and Dongzhu), the Xushuguan National Economic and Technological Development Zone, Suzhou Science and Technology Town, the Western Ecological Tourism 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 degrees centigrade.
The district enjoys convenient transportation, as it is 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 administrative villages on behalf of Hengtang town since March 1992. It has an area of 6.8 square kilometers, stretching from the Beijing-Hangzhou 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 December 1992, the district was approved by the State Council as a national high-tech industrial development zone. It was officially named the Suzhou New District in 2002.
The district has witnessed soaring development since construction, becoming the key driving force of Suzhou’s economic growth, a demonstration area for self-innovation, an industrial base of high technologies and one of the most prosperous commercial areas in Suzhou. In 2017, its GDP reached 116 billion yuan ($18.46 billion). The industrial output value totaled 310.9 billion yuan and the public finance budget revenue amounted to 14.3 billion yuan. The output values of emerging industries and high-tech industries accounted for 57.1 percent and 78.5 percent of the gross industrial output value, while the added value of the service industry took up 38.7 percent of the GDP. SND now ranks 17th in the national high-tech zone list and second in the list of Jiangsu’s national high-tech districts. It also performs well in evaluations of innovation-driven development strategies.
SND has become a hotspot for innovative platforms, with more than 80 institutes so far of which 21 were newly added in 2017. 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. Beihang University and Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics have signed agreements with SND to build innovation institutes. Some key projects such as the Suzhou Power Environmental Energy Research Institute have settled down in SND.
In addition, the district has built a big data management platform for industrial enterprises, helping enterprises above a designated size improve profit and tax by 8.2 percent and 7.4 percent respectively.
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 210,000 talents, with the number of sci-tech leading talents and teams exceeding 800. The district has now gathered 444 high-tech enterprises, 1,574 private technology companies at the provincial level and over 1,000 research institutes. Its investment in R&D accounted for more than 3.5 percent of the GDP. The number of patents per 10,000 people is 97, four times the average provincial level.
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.