By Jiang Biao
At the end of 2016, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Innovation Cooperation Center (Bangkok) was officially established in Bangkok, Thailand, marking the CAS’ first registration of a representative non-profit institution as an independent legal entity overseas. The CAS Innovation Cooperation Center (Bangkok), or CAS-ICC Bangkok, aims to facilitate interconnected innovation both in the domestic and international environment. Headquartered in Thailand, the center targets ASEAN for technology transfer as well as application and commercialization of technological achievements. It provides services for countries and regions along the Belt and Road as they pursue technological innovations. CAS-ICC Bangkok now serves as a reliable, sustainable and multi-dimensional platform for the CAS and numerous government departments, technological and educational organizations and companies. It enables them to cooperate with ASEAN countries and promote the Belt and Road Initiative. The center has also become a one-stop service platform for China and the ASEAN to conduct exchange and cooperation in technological innovation.
Response to Demand for Regional Development
In recent years, China has achieved rapid development in technology and made remarkable progress in various fields. When cooperating with Thailand, the CAS-ICC Bangkok is selective with its scientific projects to ensure they are suited to local conditions and the modern technologies can translate into tangible benefits for local people.
Thailand, on the other land, is blessed with abundant natural medicinal resources and has been gaining impressive progress in pharmaceutical and related industries. Inspired by such industrial momentum, the CAS-ICC Bangkok is striving to facilitate cooperation between Thai and Chinese research institutions. As a result, the China Thailand Joint Research Institute of Natural Medicine has been established for the research and development (R&D) of medicines as a joint project among Chulabhorn Research Institute (Thailand’s top cancer institute), Mahidol University, Faculty of Medicine of Chulalongkorn University, the CAS Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry and Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Thailand arranged R&D laboratories and clinical practice bases for the institute, and Princess Chulabhorn plans to attend the launch ceremony of the institute in August 2019.
To promote cooperation and trade in agriculture and food processing industry, CAS-ICC Bangkok also helped King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang launch the “True-Thai-China” program. Under the program, the China-Thailand Food Inspection Center was established, using the logo with dragon and elephant elements officially authorized by the Thai government. Certification with the logo not only guarantees the quality of Chinese products entering Thailand but also facilitates the emergence of more Thai products in the Chinese market. This program has helped collaboration between governments and scientific institutions and opened channels for certification of food and agricultural products exchanged between China and Thailand.
Another avenue for cooperation is air quality improvement. Some places in northern Thailand have been plagued by worsening air pollution and smog problems, which have attracted widespread attention in Thailand. The CAS-ICC Bangkok tailored viable solutions for Thailandto tackle the smog. With the support of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Kingdom of Thailand and the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Chiang , the CAS-ICC Bangkok helped the CAS Institute of Earth Environment and Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems coordinate with relevant departments in Chiang Mai. Coordination culminated with the installation of CAS’ high-end air-filters and the hybrid solar-assisted large scale cleaning system (HSALSCS) 2.0., which produced concrete benefits and provided a practical solution to the pollution problem.
Major Innovation Projects
The CAS has been achieving stellar technological results that have helped drive China’s economic development considerably. The CAS-ICC Bangkok attaches particular importance to the transfer and utilization of such technological achievements and has promoted a group of major projects to be launched in Thailand.
The facial recognition system is clearly ideal for an airport security setting. Thanks to the coordination by the CAS-ICC Bangkok, the CAS Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent Technology and Beijing Sylincom Technology Co., Ltd. teamed up with Chiang Mai University and King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang to build a smart city joint laboratory and introduce China’s cutting-edge facial recognition technologies and equipment to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and Singapore Changi Airport. The introduction of the facial recognition technologies is expected to hasten the deployment of artificial intelligence and information technology and enhance security of the airports.
To allow China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) to provide navigation services for Southeast Asian countries, with support from Thailand’s Ministry of Science and Technology and National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), the CAS-ICC encouraged relevant organizations of the CAS to participate in the Demonstration Project of Intelligent Transportation System in Thailand, a program for joint application of BDS big data. These departments have held a series of training sessions and forums on the application of BDS technology and helped establish bases in Thailand for the joint study of remote sensing microsatellites and small satellites, which have been highly recognized by the authorities of Thailand. Next, the CAS-ICC Bangkok will expand its efforts to facilitate investment by Chinese companies using BDS technology in Thailand, aiming to provide high-quality products and services in “smart security” and “smart community” for Thailand and even greater Southeast Asia.
By November 2018, the CAS-ICC Bangkok had established four super platforms for bilateral cooperation between China and Thailand (including ones under construction) as well as eight joint laboratories and R&D bases in Thailand. Construction of one ASEAN high-tech industrial park and three liaison departments (offices) needed by ASEAN countries is now underway. In terms of facilitating innovation and entrepreneurship in Thailand, it has provided over 100 companies with various technological services 50 or more times.
Facilitating Technology Transfer
Working with the Department of Science and Technology of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the China-ASEAN Technology Transfer Center (CATTC), the CAS-ICC Bangkok has been proactive in building a China-Thailand platform for incubation, innovation and transfer of technological achievements. Through coordinated efforts, the center strives to set up a technology transfer database and introduce excellent Chinese technological achievements into ASEAN countries. To facilitate the transfer and application process, the center also engages in building a China-Thailand technology trade platform wherein services regarding technology supply and demand, intellectual property rights, regulations and laws, intermediary agents and provision of professionals are all available. Meanwhile, the CAS-ICC Bangkok has built a platform for the display and incubation of China’s advanced and practical technological achievements.
Siam Cement Group (SCG) is a leading Thai enterprise in cement and building materials, chemicals and packaging. In October 2018, CAS-ICC Bangkok signed strategic cooperation agreement with the SCG aiming to transfer and apply technological achievements in intelligent construction, green chemical engineering, sustainable energetic development and artificial intelligence.
Furthermore, the CAS-ICC Bangkok has worked to promote technological cooperation between Chinese companies and the SCG. Leaders of both sides announced plans to build the SCG-CAS Open Innovation Center in Bangkok in November this year and establish joint labs and joint venture funds in relevant fields to support the transfer and application of technological achievements. Financial support is another realm in which the CAS-ICC Bangkok has been working. The center has endeavored to facilitate collaboration between the CAS and the SCG in establishing an industrial fund for technological innovation. To resolve financial difficulties faced by the CAS and Chinese high-tech companies in technological globalization, efforts have also been made to accelerate synergy and integration with foreign capital.