China-Pakistan tech centre launched in Beijing as both countries to cement tech co-op

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In a milestone move to boost bilateral cooperation on science and technology (S&T), an S&T cooperation centre has been launched at a webinar held in Beijing on Monday.

The S&T centre is initiated by the Zhongguancun Belt and Road Industrial Promotion Association (ZBRA) and Pakistan’s Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA).

Addressing the forum, Pakistani ambassador to China Moin ul Haque said that information technology emerges as an important area of China-Pakistan cooperation during the recent visit of Pakistani prime minister Shahbaz Sharif to China, as evidenced by the establishment of the S&T joint working group under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The envoy further added that the S&T centre will be a significant move towards enhanced bilateral cooperation.

In his speech, President ZBRA Zhang Xiaodong mentioned that “taking the centre as a platform, we will mobilise all parties in China and Pakistan especially high-tech enterprises and institutions to develop and gather resources for science and technology cooperation.”

The president added that a delegation of Chinese S&T enterprises will be organised to visit Pakistan next year for an in-depth field investigation.

Terming the S&T centre as a “liaison office for Chinese enterprises”, Director Strategic Planning STZA Hamza Saeed Orakzai noted that apart from boosting S&T innovations, people-to-people and student-to-student cooperation channels, the centre will be designed to build a business-to-business platform for the transfer of technology, collaboration and cross border investments.

It is learned that the centre will focus on cooperation in the fields of artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing, robotics, financial technology, blockchain and biotechnology, etc.

Notably, the centre will be tasked with four major undertakings. A first step is to nurture China-Pak entrepreneurial and innovative talents. Efforts will also be made to develop channels and resources for bilateral S&T cooperation. The centre will build a China-Pak S&T cooperation framework for technology transfer and it will also foster a cooperation base for production capacity.

It is pertinent to mention that the cooperation centre arises from a February 2022 letter of intent on S&T cooperation signed between the Zhongguancun Belt and Road Industrial Promotion Association and Pakistan’s Special Technology Zones Authority.