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Funding Innovation
Cover Stories Series 2012> Funding Innovation
UPDATED: July 16, 2012 NO. 29 JULY 19, 2012
Envisioning Innovation

As a top exporting country, China is already equipped with strong production capability, but continues to lag behind in innovative capability. Thus, the ability to innovate will to a large extent decide China's economic prospects.

The long-term strategy to develop its science and technology sectors and talent training programs was again stressed at the recent National Science and Technology Innovation Conference. The goal to become an innovation-driven country by 2020 was set at the conference.

The conference is also a historic event on par with those held in 1978 and 2006.

The National Science Conference in 1978 began the reform of the science and technology system, and the National Science and Technology Conference in 2006 set a goal to build an innovation-based economy. This year's conference took place before the convening of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, a critical moment in China's all-around efforts to build a well-off society and transform its economic development mode.

To deepen the systemic reform of science and technology sectors and accelerate construction of the nation's innovation infrastructure is a major initiative of the Chinese Government. It shows that the country is preparing to enter a new era of science and technology revolution and industrial changes. China hopes to accelerate the transformation of its economic development model, promote the strategic adjustment of China's economic structure and solve the most pressing problems hindering the country's science and technology innovation development.

More than 30 years of reform in the science and technology field has laid a sound foundation for achieving the goal in 2020. Since the late 1990s, more than 1,300 industry and business-related science research institutions have been transformed into enterprises. Meanwhile, a number of "star" enterprises with strong innovative ability and economic performance have become the bellwethers of their respective industries. Enterprises that own independent intellectual property rights, such as Huawei, Datang and Haier, have begun to share a place among global hi-tech giants.

In recent years, China has been actively training or absorbing high-level science and technology leaders. It has also been improving the current talent selection system by introducing incentive mechanisms.

China's total science and technology resources continue to grow. In 2011, China's expenditures on R&D reached 861 billion yuan ($136.67 billion), up by 21.9 percent over the previous year and accounting for 1.83 percent of its GDP. Many science programs, such as the space mission, deep-sea submergence, super computers, high-speed railway, hybrid rice and genetic sequencing, have scored great achievements,

But some chronic and fundamental problems hindering China's science and technology development remain unsolved. For example, the country lacks in technology storage and is weak in innovation. The planning and cost management in the science and technology field need to be further improved. All these mean that China still has a lot of work to do on the path of building an innovation-driven country.

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