Written by the Global Times
After a two-hour drive south from the capital of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, a 20-meter-high concrete tower, or the birthplace of the world’s first light bulb which was invented by Dutch electronic manufacture Phillips a century ago, appears in sight.
Out of the light bulb factory grew one of the world’s smartest regions – Eindhoven, a Dutch city known for its strong industrial backbone and high-tech innovations such as autonomous driving, semiconductors, nanotechnology, high-tech material, data science, and mapping, with private research and development (R&D) investment in the region hitting as high as 1.9 billion euros ($2.17 billion) a year.
Eindhoven is also one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. But walking across its landmark light bulb tower all the way to the high-tech campus, the city still gives visitors a feeling of vigor and diversity, as local authorities have been sparing no efforts to attract foreign investors, out of which Chinese firms are growing very fast.
High-tech industrial base
In Eindhoven, there are currently about 40 Chinese companies. Beijing-based mapping provider NavInfo which set up a Dutch branch in 2011 in the city is one among the increasing number of Chinese investors. Marco Mass, the Senior Program Manager of the advanced research lab under NavInfo EU, told the Global Times on Wednesday that one of the reasons the company established a branch in the Netherlands is that Eindhoven is the cradle of navigation and has an industrial base for high-tech development such as mapping and chips.
NavInfo’s investment in the Netherlands is also a big contribution for the company’s future plan in designing auto chips for intelligent driving, according to Mass. “Eindhoven has a strong position in the semiconductor industry, so we’re looking forward that we can have more opportunities in this area.”
Like NavInfo, Chinese tech firms’ presence in Eindhoven is on vivid display of the Netherlands’ advantage as an industrial base for high-tech innovations. In addition, the country has also built up a complete supply chain for high-tech industries based on the heritage of Phillips.
Besides, unlike the US and some EU countries which implement strict rules on foreign merger and acquisition in the high-tech sector, the Dutch economy is very open and local companies are also exceptionally open-minded when cooperating with foreign companies.
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