China is doubling down on pressure to become self-reliant in technology, PM says

BEIJING, March 5 (Reuters) – China’s science and technology policy should focus on building its strength and self-reliance, while making better use of the government’s role in pooling resources for major technological breakthroughs, Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday .

The country effectively resisted external attempts to suppress and rein in China’s development over the past five years by fostering the development of the real economy through innovation and encouraging new drivers of growth, Li said, without mentioning countries.

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 has urged the nation to strengthen its self-reliance in science and technology and continue to strive as a global engineering power.

However, China’s track record suggests that self-sufficiency will be difficult, despite a “sense of urgency” conveyed by the work report amid intense technological competition with the US, said Alfredo Montufar-Helu, head of the China Center in Beijing. at the Conference Council.

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Li, the outgoing prime minister, said in his work report at the opening of the annual session of China’s parliament: “Science and technology policies should aim at strengthening our country’s strength and self-reliance in science and technology.

“The new resource mobilization system across the country needs to be improved, we need to better leverage the role of government in pooling resources to achieve major technological breakthroughs, and enterprises need to be key actors in innovation.”

Li said China should accelerate research and development of advanced technologies and promote their application. The development of the platform economy should be supported and regularly monitored, he added.

The platform economy includes China’s largest technology companies such as Alibaba Group (9988.HK) and Tencent Holdings (0700.HK). Such firms have been the target of a lengthy, bloody regulatory crackdown that Beijing says is now being eased.

China’s finance ministry and its state planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), released reports on Sunday underscoring their support for these goals.

The finance ministry said it would increase special funds for the industrial and manufacturing sector 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 technical progress at the local level, an increase of 2 billion yuan.

The NDRC said it would accelerate the construction of hard-tech infrastructure, including artificial intelligence, 5G and big data, and the healthy development of instant-delivery online retail and e-commerce live streaming, key marketing channels for the Chinese consumer sector.

It said it would consolidate China’s “leading position” in areas such as electric vehicles and solar panels, where the country holds key positions in the global supply chain.

Still, the state planner warned that China’s supply chains were at risk of numerous bottlenecks and “bottlenecks”, saying the government would plan and implement a number of major science and technology projects to test the country’s strength in the “boundaries of international competition”. ” to increase.

Analyst Montufar-Helu noted that Made in China 2025, a high-tech industrial development push Beijing started in 2015, had failed to meet its goal of producing 40% of chips consumed in domestic value chains by 2020, and 70% by 2025, as China’s microchip consumption was only 16% domestically by 2021.

“This is despite the hundreds of billions of yuan in investments poured into the sector in recent years,” he said.

($1 = 6.9048 Chinese Yuan Renminbi)

Reporting by Brenda Goh, Eduardo Baptista and Josh Horwitz; Edited by William Mallard

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.





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