China emphasizes the goal of technical independence, companies should drive innovation

BEIJING, March 5 (Reuters) – China’s science and technology policy should aim to build the country’s strength and self-reliance while companies take the lead in boosting innovation, Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday.

The country has effectively countered outside attempts to stifle and curb China’s development over the past five years by fostering the development of the real economy through innovation and fostering new growth drivers, Li said, without naming countries.

China is under increasing pressure from the United States, which has invoked national security to restrict access to Chinese semiconductors and artificial intelligence technologies.

President Xi Jinping has urged the nation to strengthen its self-sufficiency in science and technology and keep striving to be a global tech powerhouse.

“Science and technology policy should aim to build our country’s strength and self-sufficiency in science and technology,” said the outgoing premier in his work report to the opening of the annual session of China’s parliament.

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“The new nationwide resource mobilization system should be improved, we should make better use of the government’s role in pooling resources to achieve major technological breakthroughs, and corporations should be the key players in innovation.”

Li said China should speed up research and development of cutting-edge technologies and promote their application. The development of the platform economy should be supported and regularly monitored, he added.

The platform economy includes China’s largest tech companies such as Alibaba Group (9988.HK) and Tencent Holdings (0700.HK). Such firms have been the target of a long, attritional crackdown that Beijing says is now easing.

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China’s finance ministry and its state planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), released reports on Sunday underscoring their support for these goals.

The finance ministry said it would increase special funds for the industry and manufacturing sector by 4.4 billion yuan to 13.3 billion yuan ($1.93 billion) this year to support areas such as integrated circuits. It announced 6.5 billion yuan for local-level scientific and technical advances, an increase of 2 billion yuan.

The NDRC said it would accelerate the construction of hard-tech infrastructure, including in artificial intelligence, 5G and big data, and promote the healthy development of online retail with instant delivery and e-commerce live streaming, key marketing channels for China consumer sector.

It said it would cement China’s “leading position” in areas such as electric vehicles and solar panels, where the country holds key positions in the global supply chain.

Still, the state planner warned that China’s supply chains are at risk of numerous bottlenecks and “bottlenecks,” and said the government will plan and implement a series of large-scale science and technology projects to enhance the country’s strength at the “frontiers of international competition.” “ to strengthen.

($1 = 6.9048 Chinese renminbi yuan)

Reporting by Brenda Goh, Eduardo Baptista and Josh Horwitz; Adaptation by William Mallard

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