TEDA.jpgCompetition for outsourcing work is heating up among China's cities. The port city of Tianjin, China's third largest city, is using the lifestyle pitch to entice more IT and business process outsourcing along with other services outsourcing.

Officials at the Tianjin Economic Development Area (pictured) argue that for these hi-tech businesses to flourish, they need to be located together in a hi-tech campus that lets people “enjoy life in work.”

To this end, TEDA has contracted Land Design Inc, a US landscape design firm, to create a 890,000 sq metre “service outsourcing base”. There will be commercial, recreational and exercise facilities in the park and a circular driveway around the buildings and auxiliary commercial areas. Grassy landscapes will also be plotted throughout the middle of the whole park, and single buildings are dotting around the landscape in a bid to build a “modern service outsourcing park that integrates work, life, leisure and recreation.”

Sounds suspiciously like an attempt to recreate the sprawling grassy campuses beloved of technology firms in Silicon Valley or Sophia Antopolis in southern France.

However, its good to see that China's cities now realise that there is more to attracting IT firms and — and their workers — than cheap labour rates.

TEDA recently introduced various policy instruments to promote the development of service outsourcing , one of which is a 100m yuan fund which will pay an additional 50% on top of the money provided by the state and Tianjin municipality. Other support areas cover software exports, talent training, financial services and IPRs.

TEDA wants to attract outsourcing work in areas such as software development, R&D design, financial back office services, finance management, administrative management, HR services and client services.

Land Design, which has an office in Beijing, recently won a similar project for Wuhan University City and Software Park, which is located southwest of Beijing. It seeks to be a world-class research and technology park and Land Design has adopted an “ecologically responsible” approach for the project with open spaces, parks, water features and “two heavily forested mountains”.

The long-term plan for the Wuhan technology park envisages 11.6m sq metres of floor area, 40% of which is set aside for software development.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports on the attractions that Dallian holds for outsourcing firms.

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