A bird's-eye view of Suzhou New District [Photo/subaonet.com]
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.
The district covers 223.36 square kilometers and administers two towns (Xushuguan and Tong'an), five subdistricts (Shishan, Fengqiao, Hengtang, Zhenhu and Dongzhu), the Xushuguan National Economic and Technological Development Zone, Suzhou Science and Technology Town, Western Suzhou Ecotourism 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 C.
The district enjoys convenient transport links, being 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 villages on behalf of Hengtang town since March 1992. It covers 6.8 sq km, stretching from the 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 November 1992, the district was approved by the State Council as a national high-tech industrial development zone. It was officially named Suzhou New District in 2002.
The district has witnessed soaring development, becoming the key driving force of Suzhou's economic growth, a demonstration area for self-innovation, an industrial base for high technologies, and one of the most prosperous commercial areas in the city.
In 2019, its GDP reached 137.72 billion yuan ($19.39 billion), a year-on-year increase of 5.5 percent, among which, the output value of the service industry grew 10.2 percent to 68.45 billion yuan, accounting for 49.7 percent of the city's total, and the public finance budget was up 6 percent to 16.86 billion yuan. For industries above a designated size, their total output value was 312.59 billion yuan, with emerging industries accounting for 60.5 percent, 2.4 percentage points higher than last year. Investment in fixed assets reached 47.05 billion yuan, up 6.2 percent year-on-year, with that for industries amounting to 7.15 billion yuan. Its foreign trade value stood at $42 billion and the actual use of foreign capital surged 21.8 percent to $530 million. Total retail sales of consumer goods grew 5.8 percent to 30.7 billion yuan.
SND has become a hotspot for innovative platforms, with roughly 100 institutes so far. 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.
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 229,000 talents, with the number of sci-tech leading talents and teams amounting to 1,000. The district has now gathered 522 high-tech enterprises, 92 gazelle companies and 16 listed companies. Its investment in R&D accounted for more than 3.5 percent of the GDP.
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.