Seizing Opportunities Presented by Shifts in Global Industry

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-09-20 12:05
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 The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China has formulated important strategic measures to promote the development of strategically important new industries after taking into consideration the domestic and international situations. These measures are designed to help cope with the current international financial crisis as well as ensure the country’s future sustainable development. The fundamental way for China to effectively cope with the impact of the international financial crisis and bring about a new round of economic prosperity is to stimulate the internal driving force for economic growth by relying on advances in science and technology to promote the development of strategically important new industries.

 I. Taking advantage of the role of science and technology to cope with the international financial crisis and promote steady and rapid economic development

 Faced with the serious impact of the international financial crisis, more and more major developed countries are increasing investment in science and technology work and accelerating moves to develop new technologies and industries in an effort to take the lead in recovering from the crisis through the development of new technologies and new industries and the creation of new economic growth areas as they work to take a strategic commanding position in bringing about a new round of economic growth.

 China has also adopted a series of major policy decisions and plans to cope with the international financial crisis and promote steady and rapid economic development. China’s package plan stresses the importance of the supporting role of science and technology. In March 2009, the State Council issued Opinions on Taking Full Advantage of the Supporting Role of Science and Technology in Promoting Steady and Rapid Economic Development. All local governments and central government departments have made significant achievements in conscientiously implementing all the plans and measures to take advantage of the supporting role of science and technology, taking into consideration both root causes and symptoms and balancing long-term and short-term objectives.

 First, they have accelerated implementation of major special projects. They made adjustments in and speeded up implementation of a number of innovation projects that are urgently needed and have a good foundation leading to the expectation that they can rapidly be put into production. In arranging their key tasks, they have given full consideration to integrating them with major state projects and related projects in the state plan for science and technology work, attached great importance to the role of leading enterprises in promoting the development of other enterprises in the same industry and made progress in obtaining results in a large number of special projects.

 Two, they have provided scientific and technological support for the restructuring and reinvigoration of key industries. They have adjusted their plans for science and technology work to meet the science and technology requirements for reinvigorating the 10 designated major industries, promoted the integration of industry, academia, research and application, and strengthened R&D efforts for a number of key technologies and general application technologies for key industries such as equipment and technology for high-speed railways, production technology for high quality special steel, safe and highly efficient technology for oil and gas recovery and IT projects in the manufacturing industry. 

 Three, they have been very active in developing model projects to promote their independently developed new technologies and products. They have developed full-scale application projects or model projects for automobiles that conserve energy or run on alternative energy sources, semi-conductor illumination, solar photovoltaic generation and transmission and distribution of solar power on power grids, and 3Tnet. In addition, they have expanded the application of their independently developed technologies and products and put into application advances in technology accumulated over a number of years. All of this will have a positive role in promoting the development of new economic growth areas and improving competitiveness in the future.

 Four, they have made great efforts to improve the ability of their enterprises to make innovations. They have carried out projects to make innovations in technology, organized a number of strategic alliances to make innovations in industrial technology in key industries, developed a service platform geared to the needs of enterprises working on making innovations in technology and encouraged the development of innovation-based enterprises. They have made extensive arrangements for scientists and technicians to go to many small enterprises to provide assistance to them and help them solve their difficult problems.

 Five, they have stepped up efforts to implement all government policies on independent innovation. Implementation of the National Methods for Recognizing Products Based on Independent Innovations will play an important role in supporting the efforts of enterprises to make independent innovations, protecting their intellectual property rights and improving the quality of their products. To assist small and medium-sized enterprises with funding difficulties, they have actively implemented measures to support the efforts of small and medium-sized science and technology enterprises to make innovations in their products such as providing credit guarantees. In addition, they have worked to develop a multi-level capital market including a growth enterprise market, carrying out thoroughgoing trials in investing in startup enterprises, providing insurance for science and technology work and providing pledged loans for intellectual property rights.

  December 21, 2007, the first feeder-line plane, the ARJ21-700, built with all domestically owned intellectual property rights by the Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Co., Ltd. rolls out of the assembly line. This marks the completion of work on the major independent innovation project to develop and manufacture the ARJ21-700 aircraft, formally putting China in the ranks of the world’s manufacturers of civilian aircraft. The ARJ21-700 is a new type of short- and medium-haul turbofan feeder-line aircraft designed for 70-110 passengers. China has the ability to independently determine an aircraft’s structure, functions, systems complement and development orientation and possesses completely independent design rights. / Photo by Xinhua reporter Pei Xin

 II. Cultivation and development of strategic new industries is necessary to improve the country’s competitiveness and gain the initiative in development.

 In view of the overall international and domestic situation, we must be even more conscious of the fact that innovations in science and technology can profoundly influence or change our future economic development and competition situation. Relying on innovation in science and technology to cultivate and develop strategically important new industries will not only be important in current efforts to adjust the industrial structure but, even more importantly, it can promote sustainable economic and social development in the future. China needs to actively work to develop strategically important new industries that have extensive market prospects, conserve resources, strongly promote development in other sectors, provide many employment opportunities and have good overall efficiency. In addition, we need to be first in achieving breakthroughs in fields where China has a good foundation and necessary conditions.

 One such area is in new energy industries. China has great potential for the development of new energy industries because of the country’s vast territory with rich wind, solar and biofeul resources and definite reserves of the key elements needed for nuclear energy. We must take advantage of the opportunities of shifts in the global industrial structure and use energy saving and emission reduction technologies and new energy sources to transform our traditional industries and use ecologically friendly green products to stimulate domestic demand and develop a new lifestyle model featuring low consumption and environmentally friendly practices.

 Another area is in the electric automobile industry. Development of electric automobiles has become part of the global competition to take a commanding lead in the future of industry. We must work hard to make breakthroughs in key technologies such as batteries to power engines, drive motors and electrical control systems, work out models for the construction and operation of charging stations for electric automobiles and accelerate efforts to start full-scale production and market development for advances we have already made.

 We need to develop an intelligent network industry. The next generation network industry featuring network convergence and artificial intelligence is an important trend in the development of the global IT industry. We are carrying out R&D work on intelligent network technology and products that integrate telecommunications networks, cable television networks, and the Internet and will put them in actual applications to form a huge industrial chain and a large-scale network of industries. We need to focus on making breakthroughs in key technologies such as next generation networks and communications, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, semantic webs and cloud computing to promote accelerated development of the communication equipment manufacturing industry, information security industry, software industry, high performance computing industry and space information industry.

 Bio-tech industries need to be developed. Biotechnology has laid the foundation for resolving major problems in fields such as food, medical care, energy and environmental protection and provided great potential for developing a modern bio-tech industry. We need to devote a great deal of effort to the development of genetically modified crop varieties and cultivate them on a large scale to greatly raise the overall production capacity of agriculture. We should promote rapid development of the biopharmaceuticals industry through the development of major projects to create new medicines and prevent and treat infectious diseases. 

 The new materials and advanced manufacturing industries show great promise. Rapid progress has been made in R&D work on semiconductor illumination materials, carbon fiber materials and high strength steels and efforts to put them into production. In addition, application of nanometer technology has begun in the fields of materials and manufacturing. Speeding up the development of advanced manufacturing and raising China’s overall level in key materials and major equipment will have great significance to efforts to transform the country from a large manufacturing country to a manufacturing power.

 III. Understanding the general laws for developing strategically important new industries

 The characteristics of industrial technologies are key factors in determining how fast we can develop strategically important new industries. In addition, factors such as market prospects, growth potential, resource availability and industrial structure also affect efforts to cultivate and develop strategically important new industries. We therefore need to diligently work to understand the general laws for developing strategically important new industries.

 First, we need to fully understand the general laws for formulating plans for future development work in science and technology. The key to giving full play to the supporting role of science and technology in the course of economic recovery lies in accumulating expertise in core technologies. Back during the Tenth Five-Year Plan period, China implemented a number of important science and technology projects, laying a solid foundation for cultivating and developing new industries. Sixteen major science and technology projects were identified in the Outline of the National Medium and Long-term Program for Science and Technology Development (2006-2020) promulgated in 2006 as strategically important for the future development of science and technology, projects that would play a direct role in promoting the development of new products, the upgrading of industrial technology, and the acceleration and promotion of industrial development and reform. Our present task is to accelerate efforts to nurture and develop strategically important new industries that possess independent intellectual property rights in an effort to strengthen the country’s core competitiveness by adhering to the Outline of the National Medium and Long-term Program for Science and Technology Development (2006-2020). 

 Second, we need to fully understand the general laws for the development of new industries. During the development of strategically important new industries, periodic “clogs” in follow up development and “surpluses” of supporting front-end technologies can often occur due to overheated investment and lagging development of related technologies and infrastructure. We need to give full play to the combined role of science and technology in supporting this development, the government in guiding development and the market in promoting development by breaking down the barriers between the various links in the development of new industries and promoting the development of strategically important new industries mainly by making adjustments in the industrial structure.

 Three, we need to fully understand the laws for the role of policy guidance and promotion. We must further increase support for research in frontline, key, fundamental and general application technologies. In addition, we need to focus efforts related to the policy on increasing independent innovation on support for front-end R&D work on products and follow-up efforts to expand application of products, create a business model suited to the development of new industries and provide services to help enterprises open markets for products featuring their independent innovations. While encouraging large enterprises to launch innovation activities, we also need to do more to develop small and medium-sized innovation-based enterprises, create a liberal investment and financing environment and encourage private enterprises to make innovations.

 Four, we must fully understand how to recruit and develop skilled and talented personnel. A new round of competition for quality personnel has become crucial in the new round of industrial restructuring. For this reason, the state has implemented a “Thousand Personnel Plan” to attract high-level personnel from overseas to work in key academic fields, major special projects, high and new technologies, and financial management. We must produce a large number of creative personnel, attaching great importance to cultivating skilled managers and creative professionals and creating an excellent work environment for personnel who have the courage to be creative and start new enterprises, as part of the process of carrying out major projects and developing strategically important new industries.

(From Qiushi in Chinese No.1, 2010)

Note: Author: Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Minister of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China

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