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China eyes innovation in face of economic ‘new normal’

Updated: Mar 24,2015 8:20 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — A document, copublished by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council, China’s cabinet, on March 23 underscored the role of innovation-driven development amid the economic “new normal” of slower growth.

A government work report, delivered by Premier Li Keqiang on March 5, highlighted the “twin engines” that would drive development, namely mass entrepreneurship and innovation paired with increased supplies of public goods and services.

The growth target for 2015 was set at “approximately 7 percent,” down from 7.5 percent in 2014, when the economy grew 7.4 percent, the lowest pace since 1990.

The document published on March 23 said that all psychological and institutional obstacles must be broken to accelerate innovation-driven development to ensure mass innovation is brought into full play.

An institutional and legal framework, conducive to innovation-driven development, should be established by 2020, the document continued.

Such a framework would allow free movement of talent, capital, technology and knowledge, thus, encouraging coordinated innovation and enhancing efficiency.

In particular, the document promised to step up intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and to further open up industries to market competition.

Antimonopoly enforcement will also be enhanced to allow small- and medium-sized enterprises to bloom, it read, weeks after the authorities imposed a record fine of 6.09 billion yuan ($994 million) on mobile chip maker Qualcomm following an antitrust probe.

Meanwhile, enterprises should play a leading role in technological innovation and application, the document read.

National innovation programs should consult enterprises more, although “strategic needs” must also be taken into account, it said, adding that innovative enterprises could enjoy favorable tax policies and privileges.

The document also pledged to facilitate the progression of inventions by research institutes and universities to commercial realization.

Rather than profits being channeled to the central treasury, research establishments could retain all income to award scientists and fund future research projects.

Meanwhile, researchers should be awarded no less than 50 percent of the transfer or license income, or with company stocks and dividends to provide further innovation incentives.

Enhanced S & T innovation

The document called for further relaxation on foreigners with technological talent applying for permanent residence permits and research into a new system for them to get Chinese citizenship.

It was noted that the age limit could be lifted for foreigners who have high-level science and technology (S & T) innovation capacities, and high-caliber foreigners with permanent residence permits could enjoy the same treatment as Chinese nationals when founding S & T enterprises.

Meanwhile, human resources service providers in China were encouraged to partner with foreign counterparts and even establish branches overseas.

“Research institutes are encouraged to arrange programs independently, and the academic autonomy of higher education and research institutes as well as the rights to choose research directions individually will be expanded,” it said.

The document noted that both basic and advanced technological research will be subjected to peer evaluations, and key factors will include “research quality, originality and practical values.”

Trumpeting “a culture that encourages innovation and tolerates failure,” the document urged universities to involve enterprises in jointly enrolling students and honing their skills while widening international cooperation and learning from leading overseas counterparts.

“Regulations will be drafted on the opening-up of state-level S & T projects to encourage foreign research institutes to take part in national S & T projects,” it said.

While urging Chinese institutes to actively participate in major international S & T projects, the document vowed that projects concerning basic and global topics would be initiated to pool the wisdom of leading scientists across the world.

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