China promotes innovation and competitiveness by leveraging institutional strength

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail by Zhang Weilan, August 23, 2023
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China should build an innovation capability system and a policy system to transform and upgrade the innovation economy, He Defang, deputy secretary-general of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, points out in his recent article released by the Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences (BCAS, in Chinese), a think tank journal supervised and sponsored by the CAS, which focuses on strategic and decision-making research.

According to the paper, the national innovation system in general is an open system that promotes the generation, application and diffusion of new knowledge and new technology as well as the interaction and dynamic evolution of various innovation elements and subjects. It is also an important guarantee to achieve the capability improvement of scientific and technological innovation and institutional innovation.

As China is faced with an intertwined situation of a new round of scientific and technological revolution and changes at home and abroad, the competition among countries in the cutting-edge science and technology fields is becoming increasingly fierce. Major countries are striving to strengthen the overall coordination of innovation system and policy transformation, enhance the supply of innovation resources, in an effort to seize the high ground in global science and technology and innovation.

The United States has consistently focused on building a comprehensive industrial revitalization strategy in the field of basic industries. Germany integrates the strength of government and industry to implement the “German Industry 4.0 Strategy” and the “German High-tech Strategy” to create new competitive advantages in the manufacturing industry.

China’s science and technology used to mainly rely on foreign technology introduction, and its innovative activities were dominated by universities and research institutes, but it has now established a relatively independent scientific, technological, and industrial system and has been able to drive science and technology and economic and social development through independent innovation. In addition, technological innovation by enterprises has elevated.

During the 21st century when the networking and systematization of innovation are prominent, both developed and developing countries are still exploring various ways to improve the incentive for innovation competition and develop the overall innovation ability of society.

The paper says, China is now at a critical stage when the mode of economic development is about to transform, and a historical and long-term perspective is required to analyze the development and transformation of the national innovation system. As a result, China should build an innovation capability system and a policy system to transform and upgrade the innovation economy. In recent years, China is striving to embrace innovation in cutting-edge scientific and technological fields as well as key technologies.

China has made breakthroughs in some core technologies in key fields, and boosted emerging strategic industries. The past 10 years have witnessed China’s major successes on multiple fronts, including manned spaceflight, lunar and Martian exploration, supercomputers, satellite navigation, quantum information, nuclear power technology, large aircraft manufacturing, and biomedicine.

What’s more, many efforts have also been made to break the bottleneck of basic technology and key technology by means of innovating the organizational mechanism of major tasks, better allocating innovative resources, and coordinating the forces of the scientific and technological community and industry.

According to the article, China has entered the list of innovative countries, ranking 11th on WIPO's innovation rankings. From 2012 to 2021, the operating income of China’s high-tech industries doubled, and the proportion of the high-tech manufacturing industry in the added value of industrial enterprises above the designated size increased from 9.4% to 15.1%.

As the report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) states that “the country should leverage the marked advantages of socialism which has the ability to mobilize resources to accomplish major initiatives, strengthen the leadership of the CPC and the government on major scientific and technological innovation,” “improve the systematic ability to tackle key scientific and technological problems, and cultivate competitive advantages.”

To further accelerate the pace of original leading ability and breakthrough ability of key technologies, the article suggests that priority should be given to building a coordinated mechanism of national strategic scientific and technological forces with reasonable positioning, division of labor and cooperation, and complementary advantages, so that China could make innovative development more independently, autonomously, and safely.

In this new era, scientific and technological innovation has been well facilitated with foundations and systems, and the pattern of multiple innovation subjects has been displayed. In addition to typical innovation institutions such as colleges and universities, scientific research institutes, and enterprises, the state also established other new organizations including new R&D institutions, industrial technology research institutes, trade associations, and alliances. These all have greatly enhanced China’s scientific and technological innovation capability.

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