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World notices China's change from world factory to innovation incubator

(People's Daily)    10:06, December 20, 2017

China's ongoing investment in sci-tech research and achievements have caught the attention of overseas media. The country has transformed its way ahead from a world factory into a global innovation hub.

According to a statistics report issued by the National Bureau of Statistics, China poured 1.57 trillion yuan into R&D in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 10.6 percent, hitting a record high.

Workers are installing machines in a factory in Dongguan in south China's Guangdong Province. (Photo: Dongguan Daily)

The bureau also announced on Dec 7 that China's innovation index in 2016 was 181.2, which is 5.7 percent higher than the previous year, and the annual contract value in the technical market exceeded 1 trillion yuan for the first time.

According to a report from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the number of patent applications in China has surpassed the total combined from the US, Japan, South Korea and Europe in 2016.

"China is taking the lead in global innovation," said Francis Gurry, director general of WIPO.

Chinese government plays crucial role

China's R&D spending accounted for 20 percent of the world's total, BBC reported.

Chinese scientists published more than 280,000 research papers in mainstream journals around the world in 2017, and 20 percent of the most referenced papers were by Chinese, only behind Americans, Japan's Asahi Shimbun reported on Dec 7.

A clock-making company in Shandong in east China's Shandong Province. (Photo: China Today)

China is on its way to becoming “a laboratory of the world” and an “incubator” for technological innovation, American magazine Time reported. This is a result of the government's efforts to build research centers and science parks, and construct a national innovation system, Time said.

South Africa's the Independent News & Media reported that China's tremendous spending in science and technology has paid off, and its scientists have been carrying out the world's largest-scale experiments, from medical technology to oceanic exploration.

The government has created a good environment for innovation of enterprises, and its expenditure in R&D and innovation is estimated to reach the world's highest level in 2019, according to French newspaper Les Echos.

File photo

Fundamental change in growth drivers

The Hill, in the US, published an article saying that emerging technology could make China the world's next innovation superpower, and that China placed innovation at the center of its national strategy.

China hopes to become a leading global artificial intelligence center, with its latest AI development plan and national engineering laboratories. At the same time, it is building the world’s largest quantum research facility to lead the second quantum revolution, the Hill reported.

Fortune magazine online said the new generation of entrepreneurs growing in China are developing world-class products, unique technologies and fresh business models at an unprecedented rate.

Western countries are no longer the only player in innovation, and they also need to learn from China, Les Echos reported.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Liang Jun)

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