In a landmark initiative to boost bilateral cooperation on science and technology (S&T) the Zhongguancun Belt and Road Industrial Promotion Association (ZBRA) of China and Special Technology Zones Authority of Pakistan (STZA) have jointly launched the ‘China-Pakistan Science & Technology Cooperation Centre’ in Beijing.
The inauguration ceremony of the centre was held at the Embassy of Pakistan in Beijing, where more than 3000 Chinese technology companies virtually attended the inauguration event. Speaking at the event, H.E. Mr Moin- ul-Haque, the Ambassador of Pakistan to China stated that the technology sector has emerged as a cornerstone of China-Pakistan cooperation during the recent visit of PM Shahbaz Sharif to China, as made evident by the establishment of the S&T Joint Working Group and the Information Technology Joint Working Group, under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Speaking at the event, President ZBRA, Mr Zhang Xiaodong said that “taking the centre as a platform, we will mobilize all parties in China and Pakistan, especially high-tech enterprises and institutions to develop and gather resources for science and technology cooperation”. He also added that a delegation of Chinese S&T enterprises will visit Pakistan next year to explore business opportunities. Terming the S&T centre as a “liaison office for Chinese enterprises”, the Director Strategic Planning & Regulatory Affairs (STZA), Mr Hamza Saeed Orakzai noted that apart from boosting S&T innovations, people-to-people, and student-to-student cooperation networks, the centre will be designed to build a business-to-business platform for the transfer of technology and boosting cross border investments.
The centre will focus on cooperation in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Cloud Computing, Robotics, Fintech, Biotechnology, and Blockchain. It will also serve as a platform for Chinese Technology Companies to conduct & relocate their business in Special Technology Zones (STZs) of Pakistan and foster a cooperation base for developing production capacity. It is pertinent to note that ZBRA and STZA signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) on S&T cooperation back in February 2022. Later in July 2022, the “China-Pakistan Science and Technology Investment Conference” was held which galvanized the development of the “China-Pakistan Science and Technology Cooperation Center” on September 1, 2022.
The ZBRA is an independent organization providing an international cooperation platform for the integration of sci-tech enterprises into the Belt and Road development program. Members of ZBRA include technology enterprises, scientific research institutions, universities, and organizations based within and outside China. Headquartered in Beijing, ZBRA has its liaison offices in North Africa, ASEAN countries, and North America. To support the development of the tech ecosystem and knowledge economy in Pakistan, the STZA is committed to enabling international partnerships through engagements with tech-innovation leaders across the world, including but not limited to China, the United States, the Middle East, Europe, Turkey, etc.