Innovation-Driven China – Part 2.

We all know now that what happens in China affects us all – not even the Nordics are immune to their power, influence and economic & social development.

The following paper is the second of a series of five interesting new articles about China’s latest 5-year plan that were written and originally published by four independent experts – Dr. Nannan Lundin, Linnea Yang, Jessica Zhang and Matilde Eng, all of whom work at the Swedish Embassy in Beijing. There are five parts to this series are the Big Picture, Innovation China, Digital China, Carbon Neutral China and TheWay Forward.

China’s expenditure on research and innovation has been increasing steadily over the past two decades and it will continue to increase by more than 7% annually in the coming years, of which more than 8% will be devoted to basic research, i.e. an increase from around 6.2% 1 in 2020, or approx.  USD 23.1 billion2.

The figure below shows our “graphic interpretation” of China’s innovation-driven strategy for new development competitiveness (Part II) from the 14th FYP. Here, innovation is of the highest strategic importance for China’s high-quality transformation and for “self-reliance” and “self-strengthening”.

At the heart of the strategy, it is not only the continuous increase of expenditure, but also fundamental adjustments and modernisation of incentive structures and governance to motivate research and innovation as well as research infrastructure and innovation ecosystem to support and facilitate exploration, implementationanduptake.

While China’s enterprises already account for more than 70% of the total research and innovation expenditure3, the key role of enterprises is further highlighted to encourage deeper engagement in basic research as well as more breakthroughs in cross-sectoral and systemwide innovations.

In the 11th FYP (2006 – 2010), a “national innovation system” as an OECD-inspired concept was introducedtoChina’s1st Medium-andLong-TermDevelopmentPlanforScienceandTechnology.One decade later and in the spirit of a new “whole-of-nation” science and innovation system, we see that the process of pursuing an innovation-driven China will not only be accelerating, but is also deepening and diversifying – with new thinking, new experimenting and new co-creation.

 1 China’s2021GovernmentWorkReport
 2 2020 年全社会研发投入达 2.4 万亿元 科技进步贡献率预计超 60% (
3China Statistical Yearbook on Science and Technology

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