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万向创新聚能城: 关于发展创新型产业集群的建议

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مدينة وانشيانغ Wanxiang للطاقة المبتكرة توصيات لتطوير مجمع للابتكار

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Research Questions

  1. What is the mission that correctly describes the aims of the WIEFC?
  2. What contributing factors are required to support the mission?
  3. What originating and sustaining factors can be gleaned from the case study of Stuttgart, Germany?
  4. What originating and sustaining factors can be gleaned from the case study of Aichi, Japan?
  5. What policies should be put in place to implement these factors?
  6. What outcomes can measure the progress of the recommended policies?

The Wanxiang Group was awarded a contract by the City of Hangzhou to develop a new industrial park, named the Wanxiang Innovation Energy Fusion City (WIEFC) over the next seven years (2017–2024). In 2016, the Group asked the RAND Corporation to help achieve its vision of developing the WIEFC into an innovative cluster built around smart and green automotive technologies by developing a mission statement and recommending supporting policies.

There are several hundred industrial technology parks around the world, and developing innovative clusters occupies a prominent place among the goals of their planners. As a result, innovative clusters have been widely studied. Much is known about what policies and structures have been adopted, but less is known about what has worked. Identifying policies and structures that will successfully spark an innovative cluster is, therefore, at the heart of the present study. For this purpose, we sought to draw lessons from global experience, while also understanding the local context within which the WIEFC will operate.

First, in support of the Group's vision for the WIEFC, we recommend a mission that describes the aims of the WIEFC. Second, this report identifies the contributing factors required to achieve that mission. Through an intensive, in-person study of two locations — the Stuttgart automotive cluster in Germany and the Aichi automotive cluster in Japan — supplemented by lessons from the academic literature on other clusters, these factors are sequenced into originating and sustaining factors. We then recommend policies for the implementation of these factors. Finally, we identify outcomes to measure the progress of the recommended policies.

Key Findings

Stuttgart Automotive Cluster

  • The Stuttgart region's endowment of human capital resources and closely networked, globally oriented large firms, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and universities are driving forces behind its sustained success. The universities work with large firms and SMEs to sustain Germany's dual education system of specialized training combined with practical work experience. They also undertake joint research programs with firms for technology development. Government agencies and trade associations connect various actors across the cluster and facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations.
  • While the cluster is considered healthy, its specialization in traditional automotive technologies presents challenges for the future as it transitions to a digital automotive environment and explores alternative technologies. Given the conservative strategies of the region's anchoring car manufacturers and the high degree of niche specialization of many small firms, the cluster might find it difficult to adapt in the short term.

Aichi Automotive Cluster

  • The Aichi cluster's rich historical tradition of manufacturing, skilled labor, globalized large firms, and networked SMEs are the major driving forces for the cluster's success. Large firms are horizontally integrated and rely on sophisticated SMEs to contribute technology-intensive critical components. However, these SMEs rely on the large firms for access to technology, finance, product design, and quality assurance. They are closely linked to the large firms through long-term contracts, co-ownership, and financial co-guarantees.
  • The universities sustain a flow of high-quality talent to the cluster, but have limited roles in research and development. Government support for university-industry interaction and for SME development is limited and ineffective.

WIEFC's Local Context

  • Hangzhou's higher education system, which includes Zhejiang University, a university with world-class engineering programs; the presence of several skilled automotive firms in Hangzhou; and a skilled workforce offer resources that may be leveraged to create the WIEFC automotive cluster.


Policies for Technology Development

  • Develop technologies through joint research between research institutions and firms at the Centers of Excellence (COEs).
  • Access new technologies through licensing, research programs, and other ways of developing and protecting intellectual property through the Business Development Association (BDA).

Policies for Talent Development

  • Attract research-oriented talent and build research capacity through the COEs.
  • Develop workforce capacity through the establishment of an internship and apprenticeship program in collaboration with the leading technical training colleges and universities in the area. This program would be managed by the BDA.
  • Attract technical and innovative talent through the establishment of a jobs program to be managed by the BDA.

Policies for Client and Vendor Development

  • Build supply chains by linking firms within the cluster through the BDA.
  • Identify and bridge gaps in the supply chain within the cluster by inviting new firms to the cluster through the BDA.
  • Develop a client and vendor base outside the cluster by building relationships with clients and vendors through the activities of the BDA.

Policies for Standards Development

  • Develop and implement standards for firms' manufacturing processes through the establishment of a benchmarking institute (BI) located at WIEFC. Membership in the BI would be open to all firms located in WIEFC.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Wanxiang Group and conducted by the Infrastructure Resilience and Environmental Policy Program within RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment.

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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