Ottawa has been chosen for Canada’s first China-backed technology incubation centre, with $10 million of funding to start.
The ZDG Ottawa International Incubation Centre opened in Ottawa on Tuesday, as part of a partnership between Invest Ottawa and the Zhongguancun Development Group (ZDG).
Invest Ottawa is the city’s economic development corporation, while ZDG is a state-owned enterprise from China with $11 billion in assets. ZDG choose Ottawa as its second site in North America (and only site in Canada) to build a technology incubation centre, seeding it with an initial $10 million in funding.
After launching a centre in Silicon Valley last year, ZDG said it was looking for a second North American site.
“Ottawa is one of the major innovation centres in the world, and Invest Ottawa has established many years of good cooperation relationship with Zpark. These are the main reasons that convinced us to choose Ottawa as the best location in Canada for the ZDG Ottawa International Incubation Centre,” said Qiang Xu, general manager of ZDG, in a statement. “We look forward to working together with our partners at Invest Ottawa to introduce the city’s best technology companies to our vibrant market.”
The incubation centre will be initially housed in 1,600 sq. ft. at Invest Ottawa’s headquarters, staffed by a Chinese director and three locally-hired staff. It will provide funding and support to Ottawa technology startups wishing to enter the Chinese market. Invest Ottawa will help identify startups to receive help with China-based R&D, marketing and office expansion.
“We’re treating this as a very ambitious start-up enterprise in its own right. ZDG has a plan to invest up to $1.5 billion worldwide over the next five years, and we see today’s $10 million announcement as a starting point for Ottawa,” said Invest Ottawa CEO Bruce Lazenby, in a statement. “This market expansion capital is very welcome, and our expectation is that our China-focused companies will prove themselves quickly and attract even greater investment and opportunity in the years to come.”
ZDG was created by the municipal government of Beijing and is located in the Zhonguancun Innovation Park. It targets key technology sectors such as information and communications technology, life sciences, new energy and new materials.