Published: 13:43, September 16, 2022 | Updated: 13:47, September 16, 2022
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Innovation event in Hefei showcases entrepreneurship
By ​Zhu Lixin in Hefei and Ouyang Shijia in Beijing

Annual campaign seeks to foster new growth drivers, spur markets

A robotic arm on display at the National Mass Entrepreneurship and Innovation Week in Heifei, Anhui province. (YANG FENGWEN / FOR CHINA DAILY)

The eighth National Mass Entrepreneurship and Innovation Week kicked off in Hefei, Anhui province, on Thursday, with Premier Li Keqiang urging further efforts to unleash people's entrepreneurial energies and spur innovation.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the annual event via video, Li said China will deepen reforms to streamline administration, delegate power, improve regulations, upgrade services, support startups and deepen innovation players' engagement in international cooperation.

He said encouraging mass entrepreneurship and innovation helps foster new growth drivers, stimulate market vitality and unlock social creativity. More efforts, therefore, should be made to deepen reforms and opening-up, and promote innovation-driven development.

Official data showed there are more than 160 million registered market entities in China, nearly three times that of 10 years ago.

The event is themed on "Innovation drives vitality, entrepreneurship creates employment" and continues through Sept 21.

Nearly 1,000 activities are held across the country and more than 160 examples of successful startups are showcased in Hefei, which is home to 4,578 national-level high-tech enterprises.

Liu Qingfeng, founder and president of Hefei-based company iFLYTEK, an intelligent speech and artificial intelligence company, said the national mass entrepreneurship and innovation campaign over the past years has helped consolidate the company's confidence and competence.

The company was founded by six students, including Liu, at the Hefei-based University of Science and Technology of China in 1999. It has since grown into a prominent name in the fields of voice recognition and AI.

Since 2013, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Anhui provincial government have been developing China Speech Valley, a high-tech industrial park in Hefei, into a major hub for the AI industry.

As the largest company in the park, iFLYTEK made its technology accessible to developers through its open platform online.

"At the end of 2014, our open platform had 55,000 users. Now, there are 3.54 million," said Liu.

So far, the company has incubated 150 startups, according to China Speech Valley.

Anhui Ronds Science & Technology, an industrial internet solution provider, was founded in 2007 and experienced dire setbacks in its initial years mainly due to the 2007-09 Global Financial Crisis.

In 2015, at Anhui's parallel session on mass entrepreneurship and innovation, Nie Weihua, president of Ronds, said he was confident about the company's future development. Subsequent years showed the campaign helped the company to live up to expectations.

In 2021, on the back of its steadfast endeavors, the company went on to list on the Science and Technology Innovation Board, also known as the STAR Market, of the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

At this year's event, Ronds is presented as one of the successful examples of the positive impact of the Hefei event on business over the years.

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