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​Guangdong fosters 1500 national "little giant" firms to boost innovation


Updated: 2023-09-21

"Guangdong has so far incubated more than 40,000 innovative small and medium-sized enterprises and more than 18,000 specialized, refined, distinctive and innovative SMEs," said Jiang Zhenmei, deputy director at the Department of Industry and Information Technology of Guangdong Province, during a seminar with representatives from "little giant" firms and media organizations on September 19, 2023 in Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong province.

Among the innovative SMEs, 658 Guangdong enterprises were selected in the fifth batch of state-level "little giant" firms on July 14, 2023, accounting for 17.9 percent of all such enterprises nationwide, according to Jiang. The total number of "little giant" firms in Guangdong has reached 1500, ranking first in China.

Little giant companies refer to leading SMEs that specialize in niche sectors, including next-generation technologies, high-end equipment manufacturing, new energy, new materials and biopharmacy, command a high market share and boast strong innovative capacity and core technologies, according to China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.


A product of the Smartgiant, a "little giant" company providing test and measurement technologies and solutions. (Photo/Lydia Liu)

Since 2019, China has published five lists of companies designated as "little giants", with a total number of nearly 13,000 achieving the goal of having 10,000 "little giant" firms by 2025, two years ahead of schedule. The goal was set in 2022, marking an important strategic step aimed at boosting the resilience of the manufacturing industry chain to be more self-supporting and competitive in the bottleneck sectors.

According to Jiang, the "little giants" in Guangdong benefit from a comprehensive system of direct and indirect government support. Guangdong has mobilized public financial institutions and is pushing private investors to direct capital towards innovative SMEs. The Guangdong government has increased loan financing through the banking system and expanded access to equity markets for high-tech SMEs.

Jiang said that from January to August of 2023, Guangdong government promoted eight banking institutions to provide financing support of over 120 billion RMB for more than 10,000 specialized, refined, distinctive and innovative SMEs.


A product of the Golden Sea, a "little giant" enterprise focusing on developing and manufacturing professional stage lighting, cultural tourism lighting, UV disinfection and stage truss products. (Photo/Lydia Liu)

The support system seeks to cover all the needs of the SMEs. This means more government subsidies and R&D support, increased collaboration with universities and research institutes and a more favorable intellectual property system. Guangdong officials are also directing large firms to act as financiers, clients and mentors.

"In the future, we will offer enterprises more customized services, encouraging more SMEs to grow into 'little giants'," Jiang noted.

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