Premier Wen Jiabao is seeking intensive investment in innovation and technological know-how to allow the nation to become a world leader in emerging industries. Wen said the global economic woes had created opportunities as well as challenges. 'The global economic crisis has had a far-reaching impact on the world economy and it has brought both opportunities and challenges to China,' he said during talks with a group of the mainland's top scientists and entrepreneurs on how to develop new industries. Every time a major crisis hit, it led to breakthroughs in science and technology, promoted an industrial revolution, gave birth to emerging industries and created new momentum for growth, Wen said. The workshop was focused on new strategic industries - covering energy, energy-efficient and environmental technologies, electric cars, new materials, new medicine, biology and seed-breeding, and the information industry. Wen said history suggested that the country that seized opportunities would take the lead in the new round of development. 'China has the capability of taking over the leading positions in some areas of economics, science and technology,' he said. He highlighted the importance of choosing new and strategic industries, which could play a vital role in promoting growth. 'China must master key technologies; otherwise, the country might be controlled by others,' Wen said, adding that it must select and develop emerging new industries with global and strategic thinking. State leaders have gained in confidence, as the recession could be changing the global economy. This could aid China's rise as a result of the declining influence of Western industrialised economies, led by the United States. Investment bank Goldman Sachs had predicted China would overtake the US as the world's largest economy by 2040, but that date has been brought forward to 2027 in its latest report. Professor Niall Ferguson of Harvard University has even predicted the end of 'Chimerica', a term coined to describe the symbiosis of the Chinese and US economies in the past decade. Because of the recession, he predicts the Chinese economy will be independent of America's. Top leaders have become increasingly enthusiastic about acquiring technological know-how and fostering innovation, believing future competition among the leading economies will focus on this. Wen said the government should see investment in science, technology and innovation as strategic. A breakthrough in emerging industries would prove significant in bringing about long-term economic and social development for the mainland, which is eager to catch up with the US and other developed economies.