China's research spending catching up to advanced countries

16:09, November 24, 2010      

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Thanks to unremitting efforts during the 10th and 11th Five-Year Plans, the research and development fund nationwide has reached up to more than 580 billion yuan, accounting for 1.7 percent of the gross domestic product in 2009, according to a government report released on Nov. 22.

The report showed that in 2009, there were 46,000 institutions involving 3.2 million personnel nationwide engaged in scientific research and experimental development activities, of which 48.9 percent held a bachelor's degree or above and females accounted for 24.8 percent.

If the working hours applied to research were divided up based on a full-time schedule, it would equal 2.3 million people one year, which means China has invested the most human resources into scientific research and experimental development out of any country in the world.

According to the report, the research and development fund nationwide was 580.2 billion yuan in 2009, representing 1.7 percent of the GDP and 23 percent average annual growth since 2000. It was 6.5 times higher than in 2000, and China now ranks among the major powers in the world in terms of large research and development expenditures.

The central government attaches great importance to scientific research and experimental development and gave substantial financial support to markedly improve independent innovation strength.

In 2008, the number of scientific papers from China that were accessed by foreign primary search tools SCI, ISTP and EI rose from eighth, eighth and third place in 2000 up to second place, second place and first place of world rankings, respectively.

In 2009, there were 52,000 authorized invention patents domestically, 18.5 times higher than in 2000.

In 2009, the sales income of pioneer products in scaled industrial enterprises was around 6.6 trillion yuan, which was seven times higher than in 2000, and new product export volume was more than 1.1 trillion yuan, 6.7 times higher than in 2000.

Despite significant achievements, gaps still exist. China's overall research and development input was still not of a scale comparable to the world's leading countries, which devote about 3 percent of GDP to research compared to China’s 1.7 percent.

Expenditures on basic research and applied research were still relatively low compared with developed countries, which spent between 10 percent and 20 percent, showing China's insufficient solid foundation of technological development and original innovation capacity.

At the same time, the government needs to focus on the lack of independent research and development capabilities of domestic enterprises. In 2009, there were only 1,893 large and medium-sized industrial enterprises, which held 14,277 patent licenses, representing 4.7 percent of the total enterprises.

The report was jointly issued by six governmental branches, including the National Bureau of Statistics, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Education, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the National Defense Science and Industry Bureau.

By Li Mu, People's Daily Online

(Editor:李牧(实习))

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