Tech innovation leads to economic recovery

Updated: 2012-12-24 17:25


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BEIJING - There may be a ray of hope for the global economy with technological innovation in 2012 leading to change and recovery.

In a new wave of industrial revolution, developed countries, led by the United States, are endeavoring to realize economic breakthroughs through innovation; while emerging countries are trying to grasp this opportunity for development.

The United States has seen rocketing energy production in recent years thanks to a series of policies encouraging innovation in the sector.

A report from the International Energy Agency released in November said the United States would become the world's largest oil producer by 2020 thanks to an "extraordinary growth in oil and natural gas output."

Rising energy output in the United States "driven by upstream technologies that are unlocking light tight oil and shale gas resources will mean a seachange in global energy flows," the agency predicted.

In addition, the United States is also placing hope for a boost to manufacturing on 3D printing technology.

In August, the Obama administration provided $30 million to establish the first national 3D printing institute in a town in the Midwest state of Ohio.

A 3D printing institute represents just the first of 15 manufacturing innovation institutes - the first step toward realizing Obama's $1billion vision for a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.

Such enthusiasm and persistence in innovation proves an important rule: a global economic crisis usually nurtures a technological revolution and innovations can drive economic recovery.

In history, the second technological revolution marked by electric power was triggered by the global economic crisis in 1857, while the third, marked by breakthroughs in electronics, nuclear energy, aviation and space, by the 1929 crisis.

In the 1940s and 50s, new technologies such as computers and synthetic material led to US economic prosperity. The latest revolution in the Internet and information technology also helped the world's largest economy recover from the economic downturn in the 1970s and 80s.

Today, in a globalized world, emerging countries including China, on the one hand, can take part in the new industrial revolution to realize a quantum leap in development.

On the other hand, emerging economies are facing challenges from developed countries as the latter boost manufacturing with a narrowing gap in production costs between the two and the advantages in emerging industries. How to transform and upgrade competitive advantages is an urgent issue facing developing countries.

Therefore, in this panorama of industrial revolution, technological innovation is an inevitable choice for those seeking to follow the development of the times and an important measure to create new advantages.

In practical terms, enterprises will review the situation of industries, global trends, markets and competition to decide their future focus and tailor their innovation policies to their own interests.

Meanwhile, governments should properly handle the relationship between them and markets, and provide enterprises with a good environment for innovation.