From "Made in China" to "Developed in China"

From: Xinhua Updated: 2014-03-13 09:57
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BEIJING, March 12 -- Innovation holds key to China's economic restructuring and industrial upgrading, Premier Li Keqiang said last week in the government work report at the ongoing annual session of the country's top legislature.

From high-tech products to cutting-edge scientific research and development, China's drive to shift its role from "the factory floor of the world" to an inventor and innovator has become a hot topic at home and abroad.

Xinhua reporters carried out a series of interviews around the world to sketch out how the foreigners think of the the China-developed products and the related developments.

DIALOGUE 1

Xinhua: Do you have anything developed and produced in China? How do you feel about them?

"I don't know it was made by China," said a Californian commuter Passti, referring to the BYD E-bus she is on. "It's very comfortable, very clean and quiet, I love it ... It would be perfect if it has more space."

The bus driver Derrick Smith also expressed his fondness for the bus.

"I actually like driving BYD's electric buses over any gas-fueled or CNG-fueled buses. They ride a lot smoother, cleaner; they feel a lot lighter, and the driver area is more comfortable," he said.

Beside electronic busses, China-designed cellphones have also edged into the Western society.

"Of course I use the ZTE phones. I am proud to use it," said Nicklas Sivander, sales director of ZTE's Sweden office. "It has all the features I need ... I also control my whole home music system with this smartphone. So it's my everyday tool."

DIALOGUE 2

Xinhua: What are the competitive edges and weaknesses of Chinese manufactured products compared with their international competitors?

"The (Chinese) technology is very good," said Brenden Riley, sales chief of BYD's North American office. "My only concern with Chinese new tech is that I don't find the design so pretty yet, but that will come with time."

Chinese-made products "need to be cooler, prettier," Riley noted. "The life cycle of high-tech products is short, so the international competition requires a different way, more localized ... I think it's coming but just not there yet."

However, to Sivander, the tempting quality and price of Chinese mobiles made them successful in local market.

"We have all the features that any advanced smartphone has on the market right now," he said, "The good thing with this phone is we can offer it with attractive price here in north Europe, which means that we are competing with the major player but giving more value for money."

"What we need to improve our performance here is to work on our brand, to inform the consumers that ZTE exists and has designed proper products," Sivander suggested.  

DIALOGUE 3

Xinhua: How is Chinese scientific groups' papers publication doing, in terms of originality, forwardness and growing rate?

According to data provided by Natasha D. Pinol, senior communications officer of science, almost 70 published original research papers have listed authors from China in 2010. But to 2013, the number has rocketed to 104.

Dr. Nick Campbell, executive editor of Nature, also said increasing research papers from China have been published in his journals in recent years.

"From 2008 to 2012 we saw the contribution from Chinese authors to papers in Nature rapidly increase to 2.5 percent in 2012 compared to 1.5 percent in 2008," he said. "Over the same period China' share of papers in all Nature journals were more than doubled, from 1.5 percent to 4.2 percent."

The editor told Xinhua that the Chinese Academy of Sciences has replaced the University of Tokyo in January 2013 as the largest institutional contributor to Nature in the Asia-Pacific.

"All indications at this stage are that this pattern of growth has continued," said Campbell. "Our criteria for selection focus on original findings of outstanding significance that are of interest to an interdisciplinary readership... in broad terms, an improvement in the number of Chinese researchers that are meeting these exacting standards in their papers."

DIALOGUE 4

Xinhua: China has made considerate investment in scientific R&D. Can you tell us how is China's research output compared with that of the West? What should be underlined in China's reform of its scientific and research system in your opinion?

"Government support for science clearly helps to speed scientific advancement," said Pinol. "Adequate federal support for research and development is essential to innovation. China's leaders clearly recognize the connection between increased government support for science and the discoveries that drive economic prosperity."

As for Campbell, he said research-output efficiency is not a trivial thing to measure.

"We would never suggest that you should use publications in Nature journals," he said. "Nonetheless we can at least look at how countries do relative to their total number of researchers. These figures show that China's contribution to these journals is lower than smaller Asia-Pacific countries such as Australia and Singapore, and the largest global contributors to Nature journals, the USA and UK."

However, the executive editor argued that there is no perfect way of organizing a research funding system.

"Many nations are struggling to strike an appropriate balance bet," he said. "Like all nations, China needs to continue to focus on improvements that reward high quality research outcomes and help leverage that research to ultimately make a substantive positive impact on broader society."

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