Officials from the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology have briefed the media at a news conference focused on orienting the country toward innovation.
China is developing its technology at an impressive pace, and embracing the changes has led to new breakthroughs.
Speaking at the press conference, Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang said that China has seen emerging innovations like the China Spallation Neutron Source. Scientific breakthroughs have provided new momentum for development, such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, high-speed railways and 5G technology.
In 2017, the country’s research institutions turned more than 300,000 scientific and technological findings into products and services for real-life use.
Their contract value reached over 11 billion US dollars.
The commercialization of findings is one thing, but the support of fundamental research is another.
Wang added that a great shift is taking place. The Chinese government keeps increasing financial support for basic research. And Chinese enterprises, especially high-tech ones, are focusing on technological innovation as well as basic research.
China’s investment in basic research only accounts for 5 percent of the total research and development (R&D) spending, while in the U.S. the figure is 15 percent, Wang noted.
However, Wang pointed out that in the U.S., the federal government, local governments, enterprises and social entities all invest in basic research, while in China, the 5 percent funding mainly comes from the central government.
He said that local governments and enterprises both have a role to play in funding long-term fundamental research.
China will further increase investment in the sector, while motivating enterprises and local governments to do the same, he said.
“Basic scientific research is the source of all technological innovation,” Wang said, adding that the Chinese government attaches great importance to it as the country seeks to transfer to high-quality development.
Multinational laboratories and high-tech platforms have been established with international bodies, like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
“Technological innovation is closely connected to our Belt and Road Initiative. It is a key motivator for high-quality development, and will still be one of the highlights for this year’s forum,” Wang said.
Last year, the Global Innovation Index placed China among the top 20 most innovative countries in the world. Yet plenty still remains to be done. Whether it is research ethics, academic practice or better development for young scientists, the country is on track to be a better innovator.