The world city of the future

SHENZHEN 2.0:

ITERATION IN TECHNOLOGY, MUTATION IN INDUSTRY, EVOLUTION IN SPACE

t专题FEATURE

This is a city where the future can be seen;
A city where the future is seen in our eyes;
A city where future technology, future education, future transportation, future health, future games, and the future itself are delicately designed;
A city where the word “future” is being constantly redefined and enriched through creation.

 

01

BYD: FUTURE IN THE SKY

BYD’s corporate headquarters in Pingshan, Shenzhen 

 

From “King of Battery” to “King of EV”

Starting as a rechargeable-battery manufacturer, BYD has quickly grown to be an international giant in automobiles, rail transit, new energy and electronics industries.

BYD initially struck people as a battery maker. In fact, it is still the world’s largest manufacturer of lithium iron phosphate batteries, in terms of production capacity. The title “King of Battery” is undisputedly linked to BYD’s founder Wang Chuanfu, just as the title “real-life iron man” is to Elon Musk.

After 23 years of rapid growth, BYD can now be described as “strong and fully-fledged”. As a model of “made in China”, it is the world’s only automaker that has simultaneously mastered the four core technologies of batteries, electronic motors, electronic controls and chips, which together cover the whole industrial chain of new energy vehicles. The company has expanded from a 20-staff firm to a 200,000-employee business giant with its turnover and total market value both exceeding RMB 100 billion. It has set up more than 30 industrial parks around the globe, spreading over six continents. From the naming of BYD’s new models such as Tang, Song, and Han (which are all named after ancient Chinese dynasties), it’s almost impossible to disregard Wang’s love and respect for history and traditional culture.

The ‘5-4-2’ strategy launched by BYD aims to redefine the standards for the performance, safety and fuel consumption of hybrid vehicles.

 

Shortcuts in the Sky

Expanding far beyond the new energy vehicle field, BYD, with its launch of new rail transit systems such as SkyRail and SkyBus, seems to be initiating a revolution in urban transportation, leading to a new future city transit system.

SkyBus is a rubber-tyred tram running on elevated lines, with a maximum operational capacity of 6,000 people/hour, and a minimum departure interval of 60 seconds. It is an elevated transportation solution designed to relieve urban traffic congestion. The brand-new design makes SkyBus especially suitable for branch lines and extra bus lines (in addition to normal schedules) in megacities, main bus lines in large- and medium-sized cities, sightseeing lines in tourist attractions, and traffic lines in old towns and cities undergoing renovation.

As a medium- and small-capacity rail system, SkyRail is a groundbreaking transportation system with clear advantages: it costs only one-fifth of a typical subway, and requires only one-third of the subway construction time; it features a high gradeability and a short turning radius, hence high terrain-adaptability; it operates without much noise, making it possible to build the lines in between clusters of buildings; the elevated rails are light and unobtrusive, with independent right of way, offering better views and making it fully compatible with the urban eco-environment; its operation is highly flexible, with a one-way transport capacity of 10,000 to 30,000 people per hour; and it has a maximum speed of 80km/h.

Conceptual design of BYD’s SkyRail and SkyBus

Conceptual design of BYD’s SkyRail and SkyBus

By now, BYD has reached strategic cooperation agreements with multiple cities including Yinchuan (China), El Salvador and Sao Paulo (Brazil) regarding SkyRail systems, and is currently accelerating the launch of these projects. In Shenzhen, BYD also joined hands with China Unicom and created a “5G SkyRail Experience Area”, where people can experience firsthand the future of travel.

Conceptual design of BYD’s SkyRail 

 

02

MINDRAY MEDICAL: SMART FUTURE HEALTH SPACE

 

Photo credit / Mindray

At the end of 2019, a well-known Chinese investment agency took advantage of its numerous members in nearly 70 countries and launched a global vote called “Betting on China”. From millions of valid votes, the ten core assets of “Betting on China in 2020” were selected. For the first time, a medical device provider, rather than a pharmaceutical company, made the list. And that company, which is also the only one in the pharmaceutical industry, is Mindray Medical International Limited.

 

Breaking the Monopoly of Multi-national Companies                                                    Creating a Leader in the Medical Device Industry

In 1992, Mindray developed China’s first single-parameter pulse oximeter, followed by the PM9000 series of monitoring products with exclusive independent property rights. It then launched a series of high-tech medical devices including hematology analyzers, full digital diagnostic ultrasound scanners, and automated biochemical analyzers. Thanks to its independent R&D, cost-effective products, and completely independent intellectual property rights, Mindray began to break into the market.

2013 CAL 8000 Cellular Analysis Line

Over the past 29 years, Mindray has extended its business into three major fields including patient monitoring & life support, in vitro diagnostics and medical imaging, and has become a leading medical giant in China. By now, Mindray has already set up 40 overseas subsidiaries in more than 30 countries, as well as several branches in over 30 cities and autonomous regions in China, with nearly 10,000 employees. Its products and solutions have been applied in 190 countries and regions around the world.

BeneVision N03-01 Point-of-Care Monitoring Solution

BeneVision N03-01 Point-of-Care Monitoring Solution

 

Competitive Edge Gained through Technological R&D

According to its financial report, Mindray invests roughly 10% of its annual operating revenue into product R&D every year, ranking in the top half of the industry. In 2019, the company invested 1.649 Billion yuan in R&D – an increase of 229 million yuan over the previous year. At Mindray, R&D personnel account for 25.5% of the total.

Today, Mindray has eight major R&D centers located in Shenzhen, Nanjing, Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu, Silicon Valley, New Jersey and Seattle, with over 2,500 R&D engineers. In December 2019, the company began the construction of its ninth R&D center, the Wuhan Research Institute, embarking on another new journey of independent innovation and development.

 

Mindray R&D Center in New Jersey, USA

Mindray’s technical strength in precise manufacturing ultimately manifests itself through its products. In its workshop for hematology analyzers, one slide maker/stainer is assembled with over 32,000 components, equivalent to that of 100 Swiss-made watches. A particular part of the device, the blood cell sorting valve, needs to be manufactured at a nanoscopic scale, which is roughly 1/30,000 of the diameter of a single hair. In terms of manufacturing systems, Mindray has introduced the Medical Product Innovation (MPI) process. Through full life cycle management and electric platforms, the company has improved the overall efficiency of R&D, achieving a seamless connection between R&D and manufacturing. Mindray has also adopted the Manufacturing Execution System (MES) during the manufacturing process to ensure consistency in product quality and the traceability of the whole process.

 

Smart Medicine to Unlock Future Imagination

In recent years, Mindray has translated an increasing number of its R&D results into practical applications, and has launched a series of new and upgraded versions of products with excellent performance, reliable quality and lower costs compared with products of the same class on the market. Such products include the HYPERVISOR X step-down unit central monitoring station, a pneumoperitoneum machine for laparoscopy, laparoscopic camera systems, the medium- and high-end cart-based color Doppler ultrasound system DC-80 with X-Insight, the new low-end portable color Doppler ultrasound system Z50/Z60, the new black-and-white ultrasound DP50 expert version, the low-end cart-based color Doppler ultrasound system DC-30 V2.0, BS-2000M automated biochemical analyzer (M2), CL-6000i M2 automated chemiluminescence immunoassay analyzer, and platform optimization for biochemical immune reagent products (for testing tumors, thyroid function, anemia and liver fibrosis, etc.)

Ushering in the new 5G era where industry and the economy are advancing at a relentless and breathless pace, Mindray will move towards smart medicine. Relying on various domestic policies that support the trend, the company has adopted a major strategy to leverage its first-mover advantage, and base its development on the industrial applications of IoT, big data and artificial intelligence.

With wind beneath its wings, Mindray is taking off from Shenzhen and flying across the world, leading an intelligent revolution and empowerment in smart medicine. Mindray, a future worth expecting.

 

03

SUSTECH: INNOVATION IN ITS GENES, FUTURE IN ITS EYES

 

On Xueyuan Avenue, in the special economic zone of Shenzhen, stands the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), a miracle in the history of China’s education. Just over a decade after its establishment, SUSTech has already made it into the top ten of multiple lists ranking universities in mainland China. Aiming to be a world-class research university, this innovative institute, having set new records of "Shenzhen Speed", is growing rapidly on the coast of the South China sea, continuously expanding and enriching the connotation of future education in the city.

 

International Approach with Local Shenzhen Style

University campus (SUSTech). Photo by Meng Xiangyuan

Standing on the green grass of SUSTech, breathing the warm yet moist air that is unique to the South, Professor Wu Jingshen often falls into an extremely relaxed and boundless state of meditation. After graduating from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1983, he went on to Hamburg in Germany, Sydney in Australia, and Michigan in the United States for further educations, and then came back to teach in Hong Kong. Over the years, Professor Wu has had a fascinating journey as a "global drifter".

Joining SUSTech in 2019 as the Dean of the School of System Design and Intelligent Manufacturing, Professor Wu once said with a smile, "SUSTech is the most internationalized mainland university I have come into contact with. After over 30 years abroad, I’ve learned to judge the level of a university’s international presence by how easy it is to ’go out’ and to ’get in’, especially to ’get in’. By this, I mean whether international scholars and international students can settle in and integrate into the community and the studying, working and living environment in a short time."

 

"Heading south, together we will create a chinese miracle of higher education!"

                                                   —Academician Chen Shiyi, President Of Sustech

 

South facade and entrance (Library of SUSTech). Photo by Alex Chan

Research team of Cryo-Electron Microscopy Center. Photo credit: SUSTech

SUSTech is an internationalized public university: The school has signed contracts with 1,033 faculty members, including: 44 academicians (among whom 22 are full-time academicians either introduced or trained by the university itself); 35 international fellows; 30 State Council Special Allowance experts; 11 experts from the "CAS Hundred-Talent Program"; 33 recipients of the "National Nature Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars", and 14 recipients of the "National Science Fund for Excellent Young Scholars". Over 90% of faculty have overseas working experience, and more than 60% have working or studying experience in the top 100 universities worldwide. Medium- and high- level talents account for over 40% of the total number.

 

Trailblazer of Higher Education Innovation                                                                   Leading with a "New Engineering" Education Model

As a rapidly growing innovative university, SUSTech never ceases its journey of innovation. Its most well-known revolutionary effort was to take the lead in reforming its admission system and adopting a "631-comprehensive admission model" to admit outstanding students. It operates under the credit system, tutorial system, and residential college system specializing in personalized, small-class elite education with a global vision. As the college entrance exam’s reform continues, this comprehensive admission mode is increasingly favored by other key universities. Li Fengliang, Vice Chairperson of the SUSTech told us that the residential college system is a leading feature of the university, with one of its benefits being that students grow to be more considerate and adaptive.

In recent years, SUSTech has vigorously promoted the New Engineering Education (NEE), striving to build a university of the future and establish a comprehensive admission assessment mechanism, as well as an advanced collaborative education system, that enhances education equity and nurtures innovative talents. Against the backdrop of the new economy and new industry, NEE focuses primarily on the following emerging majors: computer science and technology, data science and big data technology, robotics engineering and cyberspace security. NEE emphasizes the advanced studies, practicality, intersectionality and comprehensiveness of multiple disciplines, with a special focus on the integration of new technologies, such as information communication, electronic control and software design, with traditional industrial technologies.

Night view (Library of SUSTech). Photo by Alex Chan

Teachers and students in the laboratory (SUSTech). Photo credit: SUSTech

SUSTech always has a clear goal in cultivating innovative talents. Its Chairperson Guo Yurong pointed out that "the most significant task of a university is to cultivate talents and foster their morality. Starting from nurturing first-class undergraduates and moving on to improving the overall quality of a university is the essence of higher education." Wu Jingshen told us that "in SUSTech, students start their undergraduate study from general education with courses across the spectrum that help them prepare for the major declaration in the sophomore year, and they enjoy the opportunity to change their mind before the end of junior year if the selected major is found to be unfit, giving them enough flexibility to pick the most suitable major that they are good at according to their own strengths and preferences."

 

Future University and Future City

Professor Wu Jingshen believes that, in the face of profound changes not witnessed for centuries, education must be innovative in order to embrace an unpredictable yet magnificent future. He firmly believes that, just like the central role Stanford occupied in the origins of Silicon Valley, SUSTech will also play a vital role in shaping Shenzhen’s future. The success of Shenzhen should not be simply attributed to its high-density cluster of high-tech industries, nor just to its "extraordinary energy" resulted from the SEZ’s "industry-university-research" cooperation, but also to SUSTech and all the other innovative universities, research institutes and enterprises that together are constantly fueling the city with innovation.

First-class cities give birth to first-class universities. Strong cities make strong universities. And in turn, the efforts made by universities will also become a major driving force for cities to head towards the future. SUSTech and the SEZ will join hands and advance together, writing glorious chapters for the city.

University campus (SUSTech). Photo credit: SUSTech

2020 Commencement Ceremony. Photo credit: SUSTech 

04

TENCENT GAMES: EXPLORING THE FUTURE “NEW BOUNDARY” WITH SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND CREATIVITY

Shangguan Wan’er, the first “virtual Yue opera actress”, makes her debut through the cross-over cooperation between “Honor of Kings” and Zhejiang Xiao Bai Hua Yue Opera.

Founded in 2003, Tencent Games has now become the world’s leading game developer, operator and distributor, as well as the largest online gaming community in China. With over 140 self-developed and licensed games, it offers cross-platform interactive entertainment experience for billions of users in over 200 countries and regions around the world.

 

Popularization of Games: Industry-University-Research Cooperation System Blooms “Spark” of Young People

Games are shaping and changing us. As steven ma, senior vice president at tencent, said:

“Games are not only a kind of entertainment or an industry, but also part of people’s social and cultural experience, a mental companion, and maybe even a solution to problems.”

With the growing popularity of game thinking and game literacy, as well as a lowered threshold of game making, more people, based on their own thoughts and needs, have started to design games to make the world a better place. We are delighted to see that many game enthusiasts have begun to use games as a tool for creation and expression. Tencent Institute of Games is working with key universities to build an “industry-university-research” cooperation system for games. At the same time, it has launched the Firework Plan, hoping that young people can contribute to the value exploration and product innovation of games through their creativity and talent.

Due to the pandemic, gaming has gained more attention around the world due to its soothing quality. Recently, responding to the WHO’s suggestion that people should play video games to maintain mental health, over 50 gaming companies, including Tencent Games, together launched a campaign called “Play Apart Together”, allowing players to maintain online social networking through games, and jointly fight against the pandemic.

“Seeing” is a narrative simulation game, aiming to bring people’s attention to individuals with vision impairment through its unique perspective.

“Seeing”, a game launched by Tencent, has raised awareness in society of visual disabilities, and enabled the public to step into the shoes of the visually-impaired through the game. The “Dreaming Plan”, launched in 2019, has introduced multiple cross-border applications in educational, cultural, medical, public welfare and other fields, and were all well-received. Moreover, in addition to functional games, many popular games like “Honor of Kings” have also helped to vividly express and convey many traditional cultures in a creative way, making the games highly popular among young people.

 

Innovation and Changes of Games: Driven by Technology and Creativity to Explore New Values and New Boundaries

As a product of the information age, games are rooted in science and technology, which means that technological advancement will undoubtedly bring more possibilities for the gaming industry, providing innovative and fascinating solutions for various fields.

Take 5G as an example: the upgrading and spread of new communication technologies will definitely give birth to cloud computing-based games. Many such games are already available on the official website of Tencent Games. With the breakthroughs and developments in XR (AR, VR, MR) and AI technologies, future games will continue to build bridges between different platforms, between online and offline, and between humans and machines, leading to revolutions in the game industry and even forcing technological innovations. For example, Matt, the newly released digital human by Tencent NExT Studios, not only makes the game character more realistic, but may also become a new way for humans to connect with the virtual world.

Matt, the digital human released by Tencent’s NExT Studio, presents himself at the SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 Real-TimeLive.

Matt (Left) v.s. Real Person (Right)

Default design

Hair creation with hair cards (first layer)

Hair creation with hair curves (second layer)

As a digital experience that can stimulate interest and unlock potential, games will show their value in multiple dimensions, allowing more people to jointly explore and construct the meaning and value of games. Scott Martin, Founding Director of the Virginia Serious Game Institute and former founding director of the Computer Game Design Programs at George Mason University, once said that games were not just entertainment, as they improved humans’ living conditions through creativity and technology, and had been a source of inspiration in people’s life. The pursuit of greater social value is becoming an invisible yet powerful driving force, propelling the game industry to continue its exploration of new boundaries and unlock a whole new world of imagination.

We are clearly ushering in an era of game innovation – as the boundaries of the game blur, nothing – and nobody – is confined. Everyone can become a game creator. Tencent Games is exploring more possibilities to set sail on exotic future adventures one after another.

 Text/Chen Wen