A legion of new technologies and products were showcased at the recently concluded 2021 ZGC Forum, a platform for assisting constructive dialogue on science and technology between China and the rest of the world.
Themed around intelligence, health and carbon neutrality, the five-day ZGC Forum closed in Beijing on Tuesday. ZGC is an acronym for Zhongguancun, an area in northwestern Beijing often referred to as China's Silicon Valley.
The forum comprised 60 events, which included conferences, exhibitions and competitions.
More than 1,000 delegates from over 50 countries and regions－including officials, scientists, entrepreneurs and representatives of international organizations, attended the events－according to the organizers.
The exhibition of the ZGC Forum, known previously as the China Beijing High-Tech Expo, was held concurrently with the forum and attended by 576 exhibitors.
The exhibition featured four themed sections and a general section. The four themes were technology-backed Winter Olympic Games, medicine and healthcare, carbon neutrality, and the scientific and technological achievements of different regions in China.
The forum saw the release of a guideline on the ethics of new-generation artificial intelligence and the launch of a 10-billion-yuan ($1.55 billion) investment fund for science and technology sectors to support Beijing in becoming an international center for scientific and technological innovation.
Liu Yinchun, deputy secretary-general of the Beijing government, said that the forum demonstrated the confidence and determination of China and Beijing to open wider to the outside world.
"The delegates conducted in-depth discussions on intelligence, health and carbon neutrality, and reached consensus on a wide range of issues," Liu said. "They expressed that they will pay greater attention to intelligence, sustainability and inclusivity in the course of development, and strengthen global cooperation on innovation to restore the harmony between humans and nature."
Moving on up
During the forum, the Center for Industrial Development and Environmental Governance of Tsinghua University and Nature Research released the 2021 Global Innovation Hubs Index. The index measures the innovation capability of 50 cities or city clusters worldwide against 32 metrics related to science and innovation.
The top five for this year are San Francisco-San Jose, New York, London, Beijing and Boston. San Francisco-San Jose and New York retained their top two positions on the list this year. London replaced Boston in the third place.
Beijing moved up the list from fifth place last year to fourth place this year. The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, consisting of nine cities in the southern Guangdong province, Hong Kong and Macao, entered the rankings for the first time and achieved seventh place.
Of the 50 world-leading international centers for scientific and technological innovation, 23 are in Asia and nine are in China, the rankings showed.
New tech, products
One hundred new technologies and products were highlighted at an international technology trade fair, which was part of the ZGC Forum. They fell into the categories of next-generation information technology and integrated circuits, AI, intelligent manufacturing, biomedicine, high-end medical devices, new energy and new materials, energy conservation and environmental protection, and high-end equipment.
Among them was China's first and the world's largest hyper-scale pre-trained AI model known as Wudao, which was developed by the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence. It uses 175 trillion parameters and makes China a leader in this field, according to the organizers of the forum.
One of the new products highlighted was the Oxsight smart bionic glasses, which are the result of research that began at the University of Oxford in 2010. These glasses are designed for people with a visual impairment.
Growing global platform
Internationalization has been an important feature of the ZGC Forum since its establishment, according to its organizers. The 2021 edition, attended by nearly 400 foreign participants from over 40 countries and regions, is dedicated to building a professional platform for assisting communication and cooperation among governments, enterprises and research institutes around the world.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz, Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization Daren Tang, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Vladimir Norov, President of the International Science Council Daya Reddy and other foreign leaders and heads of international organizations delivered video speeches at the opening ceremony.
Uzbekistan's minister of innovative development, the adviser to Egypt's minister of higher education and scientific research and the vice-president of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences among others, attended the opening ceremony online.
During the forum, Turing Award laureates Martin Edward Hellman and Whitfield Diffie spoke on cryptography, network security and other topics.
Hou Jianguo, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said in his speech that the academy hopes to establish closer cooperative relations with innovation institutions at home and abroad through the ZGC Forum, and work with them to contribute more to global innovation and development.
The ZGC Forum, an important national platform for opening-up and innovation, was launched in 2007. It is held in Beijing's Zhongguancun area in Haidian district, which is home to a large number of top universities, research institutes and high-tech companies.