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Minister: Nation makes major advances in technology innovation

Zhang Zhihao
Updated: Oct 22,2020 08:51 AM    China Daily

China has witnessed steady growth in a number of major indicators for science, technology and innovation capability in the last five years, and the country will continue to implement an innovation-driven development strategy as it strives to become a global powerhouse in these fields, officials said on Oct 21. 

Enhancing basic research, deepening reforms of research institutions and management, training quality talents and expanding international cooperation are key objectives for creating original breakthroughs to meet the nation's socioeconomic needs, they added.

"The period of the 13th Five-Year Plan from 2016 to 2020 is a decisive stage in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and a crucial period in making China an innovative country," Wang Zhigang, minister of science and technology, said at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office.

"We have made greater efforts to achieve breakthroughs in core technologies in key areas, advanced reform of science and technology management, and intensified cooperation," he said.

In 2019, China's research and development spending reached 2.21 trillion yuan ($332 billion), up from 1.42 trillion yuan in 2015. R&D spending on basic research has almost doubled since 2015, reaching 133.6 billion yuan last year, Wang said.

China has also doubled the value of its technology market since 2015. China now has 169 national-level high-tech development zones and over 225,000 high-tech companies, up from 79,000 in 2015.

China's ranking on the Global Innovation Index released by the World Intellectual Property Organization jumped from 29th in 2015 to 14th in 2020, he said. The number of full-time R&D personnel in the nation grew from 3.76 million in 2015 to 4.8 million last year.

In terms of basic research, Chinese scientists have made many breakthroughs with international influence in frontier sciences, including quantum communication, material science, computer science, electronic engineering, biology, and space and deep-sea exploration, Wang said.

Qin Yong, head of the ministry's Department of New and High Technology, said recent breakthroughs in basic research have translated into new products and services that have benefited society.

For example, China now owns 45 percent of the top 500 supercomputers in the world. It is also building a new magnetic levitation train that can travel at 600 kilometers per hour, he said. China also has the largest number of patents in 5G telecommunication technology and has built over 600,000 5G stations, supporting 110 million users.

In the next five years, China will put more efforts into developing the new generation of technologies, such as intelligent and quantum technologies. It will also nurture new high-tech industries that can support high-quality economic growth, he added.

Xu Jing, head of the ministry's Department of Strategic Planning, said China will train more high-quality young talents, build more scientific labs and instruments, and improve the global influence of China's scientific output.

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