BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday that China’s science and technology policies should aim at building its own strength and self-reliance, while making better use of the government’s role in pooling resources for major technological breakthroughs.
Li said the nation has effectively countered external attempts to suppress and contain China’s development over the past five years by promoting the development of the real economy through innovation and fostering new engines of growth, without naming any country.
China is under increasing pressure from the United States, which has cited national security in restricting access to Chinese semiconductors and artificial intelligence technology.
President Xi Jinping urged the nation to enhance its self-reliance in science and technology and continue to strive as a global technological powerhouse.
China’s record indicates that achieving self-sufficiency will be difficult, said Alfredo Montovar Helú, president of the Beijing-based China Centre, despite the “sense of urgency” conveyed by the work report amid intense technological competition with the United States. in the conference board.
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Li, the outgoing prime minister, said in his work report at the opening of the annual meeting of the Chinese parliament: “Science and technology policies should aim to enhance our country’s strength and self-reliance in science and technology.
“The new system of nationwide resource mobilization must be improved, we must make better use of the government’s role in pooling resources for major technological breakthroughs and enterprises must be the main actors in innovation.”
Li said China should speed up the research and development of advanced technologies and promote their application. He added that the development of the platform economy should be supported and regular supervision should be carried out.
The platform economy includes China’s biggest tech companies, such as Alibaba Group (9988.HK) and Tencent Holdings (0700.HK). Such companies have been the target of a long and painstaking regulatory campaign that Beijing says it is now easing up.
China’s Ministry of Finance and its government planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), published reports on Sunday affirming their support for these goals.
The Ministry of Finance said it will boost private funds for the industry and manufacturing sectors by 4.4 billion yuan this year to 13.3 billion yuan ($1.93 billion) to support areas such as integrated circuits. It announced 6.5 billion yuan for scientific and technological progress at the domestic level, an increase of 2 billion yuan.
The commission said it will accelerate the construction of solid technical infrastructure, including artificial intelligence, 5G and big data, and promote the healthy development of retail instant delivery and online e-commerce, key marketing channels for China’s consumer sector.
It said it would cement China’s “leading position” in areas such as electric cars and solar panels, as the country holds key places in the global supply chain.
However, the state planner warned that China’s supply chains face the risks of many bottlenecks and “choke points”, saying that the government will plan and implement a number of major scientific and technological projects to increase the country’s strength at the “frontier of international competition”.
Analyst Montovar-Helou pointed out that Made in China 2025, a high-tech industrial development push that Beijing started in 2015, has not achieved its goal of producing 40% of the chips consumed in domestic value chains by 2020, and 70% in 2025, as well. China’s consumption of microchips was only 16% domestically in 2021.
“This is despite the hundreds of billions of yuan in investment that have been pumped into the sector over the past years,” he said.
($1 = 6.9048 CNY)
Additional reporting by Brenda Goh, Eduardo Baptista and Josh Horowitz; Edited by William Mallard
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