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Suzhou Industrial Park


Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) is located on the east of Suzhou city, in the Jiangsu Province of China, which is about 43.8 miles west of Shanghai. It is a joint venture between Singapore and China as a way to promote economic cooperation between the two countries. It occupies a 71,175-acre (288 square kilometer) zone including various industrial and residential areas.

SIP was first established in 1994 and has been undergoing continuous development ever since. In 2022, the new SIP Digital Master Plan (2022-2025) was announced to further enhance SIP’s competitiveness and attractiveness.

Over the past three decades, SIP has made significant efforts in smart city initiatives which include but are not limited to areas of environment, government, transportation, education, healthcare, and living. SIP aims to become a world-class hub for innovation, enhance the quality of life for residents, promote sustainable development, and drive economic growth.

Key Characteristics

Sustainable Development: SIP takes sustainability into account in its smart city development for the past three decades. It has implemented sustainable solutions in various areas such as transportation, living, and environment. Some key initiatives are the use of renewable energy in industries and the implementation of energy-efficient green buildings.

Mixed-use Development: SIP promotes a mix of commercial, industrial, and residential uses to create vibrant and diverse communities. It has attracted national and international top-tier universities to provide educational opportunities, for example, National University of Singapore (Suzhou) Research Institute, Renmin University of China (Suzhou), and Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. This mix of institutes and living services meets the emerging lifestyles of its residents and visitors.

Blend of Digital Media: SIP blends digital media into the physical cityscape through various initiatives such as the Digital Suzhou project, which includes the installation of smart city screens and interactive kiosks throughout the SIP area. The smart city screens provide real-time information on transportation, weather, and news. In tourism, SIP uses augmented reality (AR) technology to enhance visitor experiences, allowing them to interact with cultural exhibits. SIP has also implemented a city-wide Wi-Fi network to provide seamless connectivity to residents and visitors.

Linkages between Universities: SIP actively promotes linkages between universities through various initiatives. One of the key initiatives is the Suzhou Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation District (SEID), which serves as a collaborative platform for industry, academia, and research institutions. The SEID aims to bring together top-tier universities, research institutions, and high-tech enterprises to promote scientific and technological innovation. In addition, SIP regularly holds forums and workshops for universities to share experiences and exchange ideas.

Goals and Aspirations

Word-class Hub for Innovation: SIP aims to become a world-class hub for innovation by leveraging its strategic location and favorable policies to build high-tech zones. It aims to attract local and international tech companies as well as talented individuals. SIP also seeks to enhance tech education to cultivate a skilled workforce capable of driving technological development.

Improving Resident Quality of Life: SIP places a high priority on the living environment of its residents, with around 1.1504 million as of 2022. It aims to build a more intelligent, sustainable, and accessible living experience through smart city initiatives. The ultimate goal is to create a thriving community where residents can live, work, and play in a harmonious and sustainable way.

Digital Transformation of Industries: SIP envisions a digital revolution in Suzhou's traditional industries by leveraging the latest digital tools and solutions. Its goal is to transform traditional industries to enhance innovation, productivity, and competitiveness. With a particular emphasis on the manufacturing industry, SIP aims to become a role model for the entire Jiangsu province by implementing cutting-edge technologies and practices.

Technology Interventions

Intelligent Operation Center: The Intelligent Operation Center (IOC) is an aggregate operation center for the whole SIP built by Huawei, a tech company in China. It provides an intelligent and cost-efficient way to manage daily operations in SIP. With the power of big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and internet of things (IoT), IOC enables data analysis, event management, risk warning, security control, event command, and decision-making over the park. It aggregates more than 150 million pieces of data from 43 service systems and over 13,000 IoT sensors.

Intelligent Algae Management System: The Intelligent Algae Management System is an innovative technology integrated with the IOC, aimed at monitoring and analyzing the levels of algae in Taihu lake, the primary source of drinking water for the SIP area. The system uses AI, big data, and IoT to collect real-time data on water quality, temperature, and weather conditions, and analyze it to identify areas with potentially harmful algae blooms. It automatically reports to the IOC in real time and generates a ticket for further prevention. This system plays an important role in preserving the water quality and ensuring a sustainable environment in SIP.

Smart Food Market: The Smart Food Market in the New Town neighborhood of SIP has undergone digital transformation to offer a more intelligent and convenient shopping experience. The market integrates a range of technologies, including electronic scales, price tags, and agricultural product testing, as well as a unified payment system. There are 37 electronic screens throughout the market providing real-time information on daily traffic, popular items, and best-selling stalls. These technology interventions ensure the quality and safety of the food for the customers.

iHome Platform: The iHome platform is an official housing platform in SIP that focuses on attracting and retaining high-level talents by providing comprehensive services and support for their housing needs. iHome combines the state-owned housing database and high-level talent information to accurately determine the multi-level settlement needs and offer customized information on housing policies and services. Its innovative Talent Policy Calculator feature integrates three business segments - rental, sale, and subsidy - and utilizes AI and big data to provide personalized and efficient solutions for talents to find the most suitable housing options. The iHome initiative is a crucial component in SIP's efforts to attract worldwide talents and improve the quality of life for its residents.


Chinese Government: The Suzhou Municipal Government and the Jiangsu Provincial Government provide policy support and resources to the SIP project, including land allocation and infrastructure construction. The Jiangsu Provincial Government has jurisdiction over SIP to determine the overall development of different economic zones in the Jiangsu province. The Suzhou Municipal Government, The Jiangsu Provincial Government.

Singapore Government: The Singapore government provides expertise and resources to support the planning and development of SIP. It offered investment promotion and technical assistance in the early stages. In recent years, it continues to bring cutting-edge technology to support smart city initiatives in SIP. The Singapore Government.

Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee (SIPAC): SIPAC is the main governing body of SIP. It is responsible for the overall operations of the park, including planning, management, and development. It coordinates all stakeholders to promote progress and also serves as a communication channel between residents and officials. SIPAC.

Investors: There are both local and international investors that provide financial funding and support to SIP. Based on their level of investment, they may have influence on decision-making processes. Some notable investors include Huawei, Microsoft, Samsung, and Siemens. Huawei, Microsoft (Asia-Pacific R&D Group).


Anonymous Interviewee: The anonymous interviewee is a manager of a state-owned bank in China with extensive experience in leading multiple bank-sponsored events in the SIP area and coordinating bank loans to SIP enterprises. The interviewee's bank has close cooperation with SIP, making them a valuable partner in the development of the area.

Diverse Funding Sources: The interviewee provides a critical insight into the financial sources for SIP. The park has a diverse range of funding options, including bank loans, government investments, private enterprises, and capital markets. To decrease overall risk, SIP will obtain loans from both state-owned and private banks. According to the interviewee, SIP prefers state-owned banks over private banks. As a result, the bank that the interviewee works for receives a significant amount of bank loans for projects in SIP.

Key Role of Bank: The second crucial insight is the partnership between the bank and SIP. The bank has provided funding to both the main operating companies in SIP and enterprises within the park. The main operating companies include the operation center, the different service systems, the technology center, the financial center, and so on. Most of the enterprises that receive funding are small to medium-sized local companies that seek new opportunities in SIP, although there are also large and renowned companies that choose the bank for their loan businesses.

Return on Investment: The final insight worth noting is the returns that SIP offers to the bank in their partnership. In summary, SIP provides the bank with benefits such as deposits, loan interests, investment bank business, and derivatives as returns. It also gives priority to the bank for sponsorship when there are significant events as a way to promote the bank's brand and reputation within the SIP area.


Government Guidance Fund: SIP has established a government-guided investment fund since 2007, the "Suzhou Industrial Park Venture Capital Guidance Fund," with a total size of 1 billion yuan. The fund primarily invests in early and growth-stage innovative enterprises in AI, biomedicine, and nanotech industries. It acts as a link between government decision-makers and investors, providing financial support and market-oriented allocation optimization to innovative enterprises, while also providing feedback on market trends and industry development. Till 2022, the fund has invested in over 618 projects and 38 sub-funds, totaling over 10 billion yuan, with a focus on early-stage and angel round investment.


Development of AI Industry: SIP has established itself as a core area for the national AI experimental zone, continuously enhancing its competitiveness. By 2025, SIP aims to have 1,300 AI enterprises with an output value exceeding 80 billion yuan. The park will continue to create benchmark demonstration projects and companies in various fields such as AI+ manufacturing, AI+ medicine, AI+ finance, and AI+ tourism. Moreover, SIP will host a world-class global AI product application expo, promote the integration of industry, academia, research, and capital, and build a first-class innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Promotion of Digital Education: SIP has promoted the digital transformation of education by innovating teaching models, implementing the digital education strategy, and actively engaging in the practice of mixed digital education projects. SIP will continue to develop an intelligent management platform for digital education and enrich intelligent auxiliary applications and big data support decision-making application scenarios. By 2025, SIP aims to promote the accreditation of 10 schools as AI education experimental schools in Suzhou.

Advancement of Digital Transportation: SIP has established a traffic management system and real-time traffic monitoring for digital transportation in the area. To further enhance digital transportation, SIP plans to undertake several initiatives by 2025. These include constructing Robotaxi and AVP application scenario projects, demonstrating cutting-edge technology at the ITS conference, deploying new digital transportation infrastructure, and completing all projects related to the 5G vehicle network city-level verification and application project. SIP also aims to become a pilot application for autonomous driving and an intelligent connected vehicle policy pilot area in the Jiangsu Province.

Upgrade of Information Infrastructure: SIP has built a comprehensive information infrastructure in the park. By 2025, SIP will enhance its information infrastructure by constructing 1,000 new 5G base stations, accelerate the development of the backbone nodes of the SIP Network, and promote the opening and acceptance of the service trade multi-cloud management platform for global regions such as Amazon Cloud, Microsoft Cloud, and Google Cloud.

Completion of Digital Transformation in Manufacturing Industry: SIP aims to fully complete the digital transformation of the manufacturing industry by 2025 by implementing 1,000+ digital transformation projects throughout 2023, and achieving full coverage of industrial enterprises. SIP will also successfully declare over 50 national-level smart manufacturing demonstration projects, continue to build Jiangsu Province's high-quality manufacturing development demonstration zone, accelerate the construction of the Bosch Empowerment Center and the Mobile "5G+ Industrial Internet" Acceleration Innovation Center, and explore the application scenarios of digital RMB in the manufacturing industry.

Open Questions

Singapore's Role: How did Singapore come to initiate multiple smart city projects in China, and what are the distinctions between SIP and other projects?

Global Significance: What will be the long-term international impact of SIP on economic development, trade relations, and global innovation?

Comparative Industrial Park Policy: What are the key policy differences between industrial parks in developed and developing countries, and how do these policies impact their success?


Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

Case Study Geography

Suzhou Industrial Park