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Novel Incubator Arrangement Draws Substantial Chinese Investment

A novel arrangement with the Chinese government is bringing a half dozen high-tech companies to Maryland, and more may follow. The University of Maryland-China Research Park – a one-stop gateway for Chinese technology companies to set up operations in Maryland – is the only such U.S. effort by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, and one of only five in the world.

The facility has just opened as the largest tenant in the new Maryland International Incubator, a joint project of the University of Maryland and the state Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED). The Incubator is designed to spur economic growth, bring foreign investment to Maryland and ultimately create jobs in the state.

Six of the seven tenants in the Incubator are Chinese. The other is British. Efforts are underway to recruit additional international tenants.

The Incubator “will undoubtedly create jobs,” said University of Maryland President C.D. Mote, Jr. at the recent dedication of the China Research Park. Mote was joined by Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang, DBED Secretary Christian Johansson and Maryland Secretary of State John McDonough.

“The State of Maryland already has a significant presence in the global market, but this research park is another boon to the State’s efforts to enhance the economy,” Mote continued. “The Park can house 10 to 25 company start ups, which will likely stay in Maryland, and further stimulate the growth of high-wage, high-knowledge jobs.”

Incubator tenants get office space and a base for their development operations, proximity to talent and research facilities at the University and vital services from the facility’s operator, UM’s Mtech, the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute.

Currently, the facility offers 7,500 square feet of office space.

High-tech firms frequently seek locations close to a major research university to benefit from its expertise and talent. The Incubator encourages research collaboration in such areas as health care, environment, agriculture, energy and fire protection, officials say, and describe it as a “launching point for successful ventures.”

The new incubator is part of Governor O'Malley’s new Maryland International Growth Strategy – a broad effort to help foreign companies expand their operations into Maryland.

DBED Secretary Christian Johansson says that the Incubator represents an important elements of this strategy. “Maryland represents an ideal location from which foreign companies can base their forays in the world’s largest market,” Johansson added.

The University of Maryland plays a leadership role in the state’s growth as one of the premier centers for research and technology in the nation. The University is rapidly increasing its visibility and impact and is now ranked among the top 20 national public research universities by U.S. News & World Report.

The Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) educates the next generation of technology entrepreneurs; help entrepreneurs create successful technology-based ventures; and connects companies with University resources to help them succeed. Founded in 1983, Mtech has had a $19.6 billion cumulative impact on the Maryland economy through its programs. Mtech is a unit of the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland.

Neil Tickner | Newswise Science News
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