Record Technology Imports
China approved 10,538 technology import contracts in 2006, involving a contract value of $22.02 billion, up 15.6 percent year on year, according to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce.
Technology royalties were $14.76 billion, accounting for 67 percent of the overall contract volume, and contracts for technology licensing amounted to $7.28 billion, or 33 percent of the contracts, up 42.8 percent year on year.
Contracts mainly went to technology-intensive sectors such as electronics, communications equipment manufacturing and railway transportation.
The European Union was the largest source of technology imports, signing 2,597 contracts, which involved a contractual value of $8.66 billion, or 39.3 percent of the total.
Business Climate Sizzles
Constantly growing profits boosted China’s national business climate index (BCI) throughout 2006, said the National Bureau of Statistics on January 9.
The index, a result of the bureau’s quarterly survey of 19,500 companies, rose 2.7 points from the third quarter to 139.4 points in the fourth quarter, 7.7 points up over the same period of 2005.
In the fourth quarter, most industries saw their BCIs rise markedly year on year, while the BCI for mining firms declined and the indices of transportation and storage sectors remained static.
Meanwhile, in the first 11 months, state-owned industries and those with annual sales above 5 million yuan saw profits surge 30.7 percent over the same period of 2005.
Profit growth for the first quarter was 21.3 percent over the same period of 2005, up 28 percent for the first half of the year and 29.6 percent for the first three quarters.
New Agency to Run State Financial Assets
The Central Government is likely to set up a new framework to manage its stakes in financial institutions such as banks, insurers and brokerages by early 2008.
The efficient and market-oriented management of 40 trillion yuan in state-owned financial assets will be on the agenda of the National Finance Conference in January, which will chart the country’s financial course for the next few years.
“If it is decided that the new framework will be established, it will be in place no later than March 2008,” an official close to the conference said.
The potential model is an independent government investment company or an administrative body like the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, an administrative body set up in 2003 to manage non-financial assets.
An official close to the Ministry of Finance proposed that the ministry’s Finance Department, which currently functions as a management body of financial assets, be at the core of any structure.
Big Bird to Fly Within 15 Years
“We estimate that within two or three five-year-plan periods, our large planes will come into service,” Huang Qiang, Secretary General of the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, told a press conference on January 8.
It was the first time officials specified a timetable for building large aircraft with a cargo capacity of 100 tons or 200 passenger seats. The idea of building large airplanes, mooted for some time, will no doubt cause some nervous moments for foreign aircraft makers.
In China, key projects are usually part of national five-year plans; and a large aircraft was listed as a priority project in the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10), during which the designing of the aircraft would begin, commission officials said earlier.
Huang said the large aircraft can be built on the growing expertise and experience of the aviation industry, particularly of the ARJ21, China’s advanced regional jet whose manufacture began in December 2003.