China maps out blueprints for S&T development
BEIJING, Feb. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- China released on Thursday an ambitious plan to invigorate its scientific research and to make it one of the world's leading science powers, setting a target of 900 billion yuan (111.1 billion U.S. dollars) in annual research and development expenditure by 2020.
Such huge investment will bring China level with the
world's big two spenders in scientific research, the United States and Japan.
More than 2,000 leading scientists and strategists
took part in drafting the National Guidelines for Medium- and Long-term Plans
for Science and Technology Development, which is the first of its kind since
China transformed its economy into a market-oriented one.
The National Guidelines said China's total R&D
expenditures in 2020 should account for 2.5 percent of the gross domestic
product (GDP), which is similar to that of developed economies and the
The calculation of the 2020 GDP is based on the GDP
of 8.3 trillion yuan in 2000 and a modest estimation of an average annual growth
rate of 7.12 percent, which results in 36 trillion yuan, said Dr. Jia Kang,
director of the Institute of Fiscal Science, which is affiliated to the Ministry
The sustained increase of spending on research and
development in the coming 15 years could ensure China is one of the world's most
innovative countries. The guidelines also anticipate China becoming the world's
leading science power by 2050.
In 2004, China's R&D expenditures took up 1.23
percent of the GDP, which is the highest among all developing countries.
Meanwhile, most developed countries spent more than 2 percent of their GDP on
scientific research and technological development.
Huge R&D investment will ensure China leads the
way in knowledge-based economies in terms of innovation and consequently
economic competitiveness, Dr. Jia said.
Chinese President Hu Jintao said earlier this year
that China must switch from a resources-dependent to an innovation-driven
According to the guidelines, the government will put
its state budgets as well as private funds into 68 priority subjects, 16 state
key projects, 27 innovative technologies, 18 basic scientific issues and four
big science exploration programs, covering energy resources, agriculture and
manufacturing areas, space exploration and research on protein and
Xu Guanhua, minister of Science and Technology, said,
"All of those are strategically important for China to ensure its national and
economic security and that it makes giant strides in technology."
"A big economy is not necessarily a powerful
economy," Xu said. "China still lacks capability in innovation, particularly in
those strategically important areas.
"We would never buy or borrow the key technologies
from the global leading economies."
In order to sharpen China's competitiveness, the
state has encouraged companies to establish top-notch R&Ds in order to be
driving forces in the new-style economy. In return it promises to design new
fiscal and taxation policies more conducive to innovation in the coming years.
Ma Junru, a senior strategist who participated in
drafting the guidelines, said, "We need to pay the upmost attention to
enterprises in order to enhance our overall innovation capability."
By 2020, a number of Chinese enterprises are expected to be firm fixtures in the world's top 500 thanks to their strengths in producing new ideas and products.
Since the 1950s, China has adopted a total of seven medium- and long-term plans for science and technology development. With thoseplans, China developed atom bombs and man-made satellites, manned spaceships, hybrid rices and high-performance servers. Enditem