Louvain-la-Neuve science park has just signed a collaboration agreement with Awex, to for the Chinese group Whibi, which specialises in technology incubators, to take possession of an 8.5 hectare site.
The concept is as follows: the Chinese group Whibi provides start-ups and other small Chinese technology firms with an optimal setting (premises, coaching, guidance on regulations, financial resources, logistics and marketing, etc) for growth in Europe.
Whibi envisages creating a thousand jobs in three years. The group already knew well what they were talking about, as they have been managing technology incubators in China for 25 years, and have helped some 1,200 enterprises to expand.
The investment, which could exceed 100 million, has major potential ramifications for the Belgian economy. Firstly, some of the jobs will come directly from the local market. Secondly, Chinese enterprises will probably need subcontractors or partners as their businesses grow. Lastly, all the Wallonian incubators will benefit from Whibi’s expertise in one way or another. The regional authorities are striving to function as a network, including with UCL researchers, in the image of what they develop under the Marshall 2.green Plan.
The LLN China-Belgium Technology Center aims to complement the China Welcome office at Mons. It offers companies that are attracted by its initial approach the facility to set up in Wallonia with only limited investment, and in a reassuringly Sino-Belgian ambience.
There are other Welcome offices in Wallonia. They are dedicated to India (Liège), Eastern Europe (Charleroi), Latin America and Brazil (Arlon). A fifth branch, dedicated to Japan, will be opening soon at Louvain-la-Neuve.