China narrows R&D gap with West

By Zhang Han Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/10 23:08:40

Still has the potential to further boost science, tech industry: expert


China's research and development (R&D) investment ratio hit a new high in 2017, which helped the country narrow its gap with the US and other developed countries.

The total amount spent on R&D in China was 1.76 trillion yuan ($254.51 billion) in 2017, up 12.3 percent year-on-year or 2.13 percent of 2017's GDP, an annual increase of 0.02 percentage points, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

China's pace in R&D investment surpassed most countries, and its intensity has reached the level of moderately developed countries, Zhang Peng, senior statistician of the National Bureau of Statistics' Department of Social Sciences, was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

China's R&D growth rate leads the world at an average of 11.1 percent in the past five years, while the rates of the US, European Union and Japan were 2.7 percent, 2.3 percent, and 0.6 percent respectively, according to Zhang.

The gap with the US has been  steadily shrinking since China ranked second on the R&D input list in 2013. It is estimated that China will spend 60 percent of the US' level in 2018, Zhang said.

"The rapid increase shows China still has the potential to further boost its science and technology industry, and the structure of its R&D input is as important as the investment," Wang Junjie, deputy director of Tibet's Science and Technology Department told the Global Times.

The Tuesday report said much of the R&D spending went to manufacturing, with computers, communication and other electronic devices receiving 200.28 billion yuan.

Production of transportation equipment, including railways, vessels, aircraft and spacecraft ranked highest at 2.53 percent in terms of input intensity, followed by drugs.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries have been promoting a green and intelligent industry and their investment in R&D is moving toward big data, circular economy, biomedicine, and aerospace, Sun Yanhong, associate research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Science's Institute of European Studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The gap in basic research between China and developed countries calls for China to optimize the investment structure, Zhang said, adding that China should form an enterprise- and market-oriented R&D system under government supervision.

China is targeting annual per capita spending on R&D to 500,000 yuan by 2020 from 370,000 yuan in 2014, according to the 13th five-year plan for national science and technology talent development (2016-2020).

China was ranked 17th on the national innovation index report by the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development in 2017, rising from 20th in 2012, said Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang in February.



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