Business executives attending a seminar on clean technologies in Beijing on Friday proposed ideas that will help the city establish itself as an innovation center in the country, if not the world.
Beijing can lead innovation on several fronts, particularly on clean technology innovation, as the city is keen to become greener and has been making efforts to that end, according to participants at the 12th Meeting of International Business Leaders Advisory Council for the Mayor Of Beijing.
Peter Voser, chair of the board of directors at ABB Ltd., a leader in power and automation technology, noted that the number of charging points for electric vehicles (EV) has increased.
"The mandatary inclusion of EV friendly spaces in the parking lots of all new residential complexes is a useful incentive," Voser said.
More must to be done to convince consumers that an EV is a sensible choice, after all nobody wants to be stranded on the way to work, he said.
"A lack of charger standardization in China is one of the main brakes on EV adoption," said Voser, explaining that different EV manufactures have different standards for chargers.
The smaller number of charging points is another constraint. Voser suggested an EV charging network, mandatory pre-wiring of apartment block parking lots for easy installation of EV chargers and subsidies for those wanting to install home charging points could help.
"Routing software available to all EV owners would allow them to accurately plan their journey according to the availability of charging locations and reduce range anxiety," said Voser.
Beijing Vice Mayor Li Shixiang expressed great interest in the solution proposed by Voser. He said Beijing is keen to expand the use of EV, particularly across its fleet of 30,000 buses and 66,000 taxies.
At the same time, the government is encouraging the private use of electric cars by adding 30,000 new energy vehicle license plates this year, he said.
Voser said, thus far, no country has succeeded in persuading the majority of drivers to make the switch to EV. With the right approach, China, especially Beijing, has every chance of becoming world leaders in this field.
To enhance innovation in clean technology, William Downe, CEO of BMO Financial Group, proposed a ten-year plan for Beijing.
He recommended that Beijing establish a new innovation hub within the city.
"This physical hub would be dedicated to the development of companies investing and commercializing the next generation of technologies in China to conserve energy, protect the environment and improve ecologies," Downe said.
According to Downe, current students, new graduates, domestic and international corporations, academics and government officials can work together. It would be the location for the incubation of innovative ideas.
"The goal is to establish 10,000 new, innovative, clean technology firms over the next decade," said Downe.
Vice Mayor Li is also interested in this plan. He particularly liked the idea that the hub would link students and new graduates. A large number of new companies would create significant opportunities for Chinese youth, Li said.
The meeting is an annual event. This year, 14 business leaders provided insight and perspectives on Beijing's development, with the focus on innovation.