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Millions proposed to bring in strong unicorn companies


Updated: 2021-11-19

Unicorn companies with strong innovation capacity, rapid growth, and ability to lead industrial development will be cultivated or introduced to make Zhuhai a center for high-end industries in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

The Zhuhai Science & Technology Innovation Bureau is soliciting public opinion through Dec 11 for 19 new policies that would establish unicorn cultivation repositories, provide all-round support and security, and create a first-class innovation and entrepreneurship environment for unicorns.

Unicorns are pre-IPO startups with at least $1 billion in market value. Companies with market value of at least $100 million are potential unicorns while those with cutting-edge or game-changing technologies are seeded unicorns.

The draft policies and measures include a diversified award mechanism for unicorns. Local companies can receive up to 10 million yuan ($1.57 million) for helping to attract companies from upstream and downstream industrial chains. 

Unicorns are encouraged to merge influential small- and medium-sized companies and high-end projects that have key technologies, positive brand effect, and strong influence. Eligible enterprises can receive up to 20 million yuan ($3.14 million).

Unicorns in the cultivation repositories accredited as high-tech companies or recognized as high-tech benchmark companies can receive up to 200,000 yuan ($31,360). Those entering unicorn lists released by authorities at home and abroad will be awarded up to 500,000 yuan ($78,410).


Southern Software Park [Photo courtesy Zhuhai National Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone]

A 10-million-yuan or 3-million-yuan ($470,070) award will be available for unicorns of key industries such as integrated circuits (IC) to set up headquarters or regional headquarters in Zhuhai.

Incubation funds will be set up by districts to attract unicorns from outside the city. Incubators can get up to 5 million yuan ($783,855) for successfully bringing one project to Zhuhai. Additional annual awards of up to 1 million yuan ($156,780) will be granted if the incubated companies have been included into the repositories.

Entrepreneurial spaces with discounted rents will be provided to companies in repositories founded by young Hong Kong and Macao entrepreneurs. Companies managing scientific service industries are also eligible for rent subsidies.

Newcomers to the repositories can receive a 2-million-yuan ($313,605) R&D startup fund and be granted up to 5 million yuan for applying for industrial core technological projects.

Grants of up to 10 million yuan are available for medical companies in repositories achieving R&D outcomes. Those in the medical instrument sector can get up to 2 million yuan. Annual subsidies of up to 10 million yuan are available to those in IC and new materials for trial production, material and equipment purchases, and testing and verification.

Unicorns will be financially supported for up to 10 consecutive years for constructing high-level innovation platforms in collaboration with renowned domestic and overseas universities, scientific research institutions, and major technology companies. Platforms recognized at or above provincial level can receive up to 10 million yuan.

Innovation consortiums will be formed by unicorns and partners to facilitate integrated industry-university-research. This includes upstream and downstream companies, key laboratories, and academician workstations to promote R&D and the commercialization of research achievements.

Founders of unicorns and potential unicorns can be directly recognized as municipal high-caliber talents. And innovation and entrepreneurship teams scouted by unicorns for their scientific innovation projects can win a maximum 100 million yuan ($16 million).

In terms of multi-layer venture capital support, municipal investment funds will cooperate with well-known global investment institutions to provide angel funds of up to 20 million yuan for qualified unicorns.

A fund for cultivating listed companies will be set up to help unicorns establish themselves on the Main and Science and Technology Innovation boards.

In addition, a Zhuhai Development Fund for IC Industry with a scale of 10 billion yuan ($1.57 billion) will encourage investment in the sector.

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