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China science

Chinese premier Li Keqiang calls for more creativity to help country’s economic transformation

  • China invested 2.2 per cent of GDP in research and development last year
PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 December, 2018, 11:53am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 December, 2018, 11:53am

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday called for more creativity throughout society to ensure the country stayed on the path of technological innovation.

Li said innovation was vital for any country's future and that China should make best use of its advantages in human resources and the domestic market to advance innovation and facilitate high-quality development as the country was going through an economic transformation, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The comments underscore Beijing’s continued efforts to use technological innovation as a driver of economic growth despite Washington’s allegations of unfair state intervention in China’s economy.

Li was speaking at the first plenary session of the national leading group on science and technology, which he heads. The session was held against the backdrop of a 90 day truce in the Sino-US trade war following the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump in Buenos Aires last weekend.

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Washington has repeatedly complained about state-sponsored programmes such as Made in China 2025, which aims to lift the country’s industries in area like robotics, aerospace, new materials and new energy vehicles up the value chain, replacing imports with local products and building global champions able to take on Western tech giants.

“The strategic layout of science and technology innovation should be better integrated into the bigger picture of national development,” Li was quoted as saying by Xinhua. He also called for a focus on breakthroughs in key technologies, fostering new growth drivers, and promoting technology-economy integration.

China has achieved rapid progress in technology development, with the country investing 2.2 per cent of GDP in research and development last year.

Xi has on numerous occasions called for an “innovation-driven economy” and has set 2035 as a deadline for the country to be a global leader in innovation.

At the plenary session, Li highlighted the role of research as the foundation of science, calling for stronger and consistent long-term support for basic research, and efforts to guide enterprises and other “social forces” to invest more in this field. He urged leading enterprises to lead key scientific and engineering projects and expand international collaboration on innovation.