Innovation and mass entrepreneurship were the subjects discussed most frequently at executive meetings of the State Council this year, as the central government sought to promote the national strategy to upgrade China’s industrial structure and boost business startups.
The subjects were discussed 11 times at executive meetings of the State Council, China’s Cabinet－far more than poverty relief, infrastructure, education and healthcare. The four other main areas of discussion were streamlining administrative services, local government inspections, industrial upgrades and the revision of regulations.
By Dec 25, the State Council had discussed and promulgated decisions on 104 topics at 38 executive meetings presided over by Premier Li Keqiang, according to the central government’s official website. Innovation and entrepreneurship accounted for more than 10 percent of the topics discussed by the body.
The expansion of Innovation Demonstration Zones are a good example of the government’s commitment to the cause. At an executive meeting on March 30, the central government decided to establish three new zones－one in each of the provinces of Henan, Shandong and Liaoning－bringing the number to 14 nationwide.
The zones follow in the footsteps of the Zhongguancun National Demonstration Zone, which was established in 2009 as a pilot program to boost high-technology and its integration with business startups. On June 8, the State Council approved the establishment of two more demonstration zones, in Fujian and Anhui provinces, while the southwestern municipality of Chongqing was added to the list in August.
The executive meeting on Sept 1 gave the green light to plans to build Beijing into a national center for innovative sciences and technologies.
Other agendas to promote innovation and mass entrepreneurship included areas such as the transformation of scientific and technological achievements, the integration of the internet with the logistics industry and financial support for high-tech companies.
Innovation and mass entrepreneurship have become priorities for Premier Li, who attended the country’s first National Mass Entrepreneurship and Innovation Week in Beijing last year and a related event in Shenzhen, an industrial hub in Guangdong province, in October.
According to the organizational law of the State Council, executive meetings are convened once a week to decide major issues. Chaired by the Premier, the meetings usually happen on Wednesdays and are attended by vice-premiers, State councilors and the secretary-general of the State Council. Officials from relevant government departments are also invited if necessary.
Based on documents posted on the government’s website, this year, the executive meetings focused on improving people’s livelihoods, the transformation of government functions and prioritization of public services, deeper economic reform, boosting economic growth and structural adjustments. Among the 104 topics discussed, 28 focused on ways to raise living standards, such as improving the transportation infrastructure in rural areas.