China aims to be leader in innovation

Updated: 2015-03-28 08:09

By Lan Lan(China Daily)

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Chinese policymakers are laying the foundation for a transformation of the country by 2020 from its primary role as a manufacturer to that of a leading innovator.

Over the past three decades, China has emerged as a major manufacturing base for the world, but the country's competitiveness in advanced manufacturing remains relatively weak, partly because of domestic companies' low investment in research and development.

Only 14 percent of Chinese enterprises with primary operating revenue of more than 20 million yuan ($3.2 million) annually have any R&D activity. Spending on R&D accounts for only about 0.8 percent of their total revenue, while their counterparts in developed countries, such as the United States, spend around 3 percent of sales revenue on R&D.

To promote innovation by Chinese companies, the country's top economic planning body jointly drafted a document with more than 20 government bodies. The document was released on Friday.

China will level the playing field, continue to enhance its opening-up and actively make use of global resources and markets, officials said.

Qi Chengyuan, director-general of the high-tech industry department of the NDRC, said: "China welcomes the building of R&D centers in China by prestigious international scientific institutions and encourages foreign institutions to participate in China's technical programs, including both basic and applied research," Qi said.

In addition, the country will establish a market-oriented mechanism for innovation, increase the supportive role of policies and increase the voice of businesses in State innovation decisions.