Beijing firms up its ambitions in technology, innovation

2020-12-15 22:25:11

Officials and experts predict more policy support and investment in various fields A volunteer wears a hat mounted with a flexible display during the ZGC Forum in Beijing on Sept 17. [Photo by Zhu] Beijing aims to become a global science technology and innovation hub by 2025 by providing more incentives for frontier sciences attracting more global talent enhancing intellectual property protection and increasing support for small tech ventures officials and experts said.Research fields including artificial intelligence quantum science medical science block chain information technology the internet of things materials science space technology and renewable energy will see more policy support and investment in the nations capital they added.National planners hope to turn Beijing Shanghai and the GuangdongHong KongMacao Greater Bay Area into global science and technology innovation centers according to the proposals for formulating Chinas 14th FiveYear Plan 202125 for National Economic and Social Development and the LongRange Objectives Through the Year 2035.Cai Qi Beijings Party chief told experts at a symposium on Beijings development in October that the capital will be more open more innovative and more supportive of tech companies.Building new infrastructure for artificial intelligence 5G telecommunication the industrial internet and internet of things and other major fields will be a priority which will lay the foundation for upgrading the citys future industries he said.Xu Qiang director of the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission said this month that Beijing has several advantages that will help it become a global science technology and innovation hub.Sui Zhenjiang vicemayor of Beijing said during the Second World Science and Technology Development Forum early last month that the 3000yearold city boasts the most scientific talent and resources in the country as well as having a rich culture of international cooperation encouraging innovations and tolerating failures.In 2016 the State Council issued a plan for Beijing to become a national science and technology innovation center. By October last year the municipality had implemented 30 new policies toward that goal ranging from granting scientists more autonomy over research grants to streamlining visa applications for foreign scientists.Being the nations capital Beijing has the responsibility means foundations and advantages to facilitate scientific and technological innovation and play its role in serving the nations modernization process Sui said.Around half of the academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering are stationed in Beijing he said. The city is also home to onethird of Chinas major scientific instruments and around 357000 researchers.There are 185 researchers for every 10000 employees in the city a ratio on par with that of developed countries he said. The city invests around 6 percent of its GDP in research and development significantly higher than the average 2.5 percent benchmark for innovative countries he added.The World Intellectual Property Organization ranked Beijing this year as the worlds fourthmostactive science and technology cluster in terms of publishing and patent performance behind TokyoYokohama in first place ShenzhenHong KongGuangzhou second and Seoul third.The Nature Index 2020 Science Cities published in September ranked Beijing as the top global science city for the third year in a row after factoring in the concentration of talent funding research institutions and the quality of published scientific papers and international cooperation.The citys three science cities and one hitech area — Zhongguancun Science City Huairou Science City the Beijing Future Science Park and the Beijing EconomicTechnological Development Area — have become major hubs for frontier research Sui said.About 183 multinational corporations along with nearly 4000 foreign companies and research institutions have either established headquarters in Beijing or are collaborating with partners from the city he said.In that ecosystem of international cooperation Zhongguancun stands out as the forerunner of Chinas scientific reform and innovations for being the base for nearly 1000 foreign companies Sui added.In 2018 Chinese scientists from the area published 14074 papers as first authors with foreign peers accounting for nearly 25 percent of the national total.In the next few years Beijing will attract more foreign talent optimize planning for the science cities provide more investment for basic research and incubate more innovative tech companies Sui said.Since 2018 Beijing has helped over 3500 foreign scientists settle in the capital by providing better housing insurance and educational opportunities for their children. Over 4000 talented foreigners have been granted permanent resident status making Beijing the firstchoice destination for foreign researchers he said.The capital has established a fund of 30 billion yuan 4.58 billion to support innovation provided 160 billion yuan in tax breaks for small and mediumsized companies and streamlined government administration for science project applications and the procurement of research equipment he said.In terms of city planning Zhongguancun will focus on basic and frontier sciences in key technological sectors Sui said. Huairou will build more major scientific research infrastructure with an emphasis on materials science logistics energy and space technology.The Beijing Future Science Park will prioritize public health and biosciences research as well as the commercialization of new technologies.The Beijing EconomicTechnological Development Area will aim to become a hub for highend manufacturing such as producing integrated circuits.At the same time Beijing will bolster intellectual property rights protection and related services including harsher punishments for copyright infringements and allowing small tech companies to pledge their intellectual property for loans Sui said.Justin Yifu Lin a senior economist and honorary dean of the National School of Development at Peking University said in a seminar in Shenzhen Guangdong province last week that innovation collaboration being green openness and sharing are the five key characteristics of new development.The combination of an effective market and a capable government to support businesses is instrumental in achieving quality economic growth he added.Yu Jian deputy director of the Ministry of Science and Technologys department of strategic planning said at a seminar in Beijing in April hosted by the citys science and technology commission that the capital should set its eyes on becoming a global science and technology center and create an innovative ecosystem with international influence.Liu Qiyan deputy director of the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China said at the seminar that Beijing should enhance its ability to quantify and keep track of tech companies and their resources and expand the influence of innovation to more local levels.Li Guoping president of the Beijing Development Institute at Peking University said at the same event that innovation cannot do without industrialization and Beijings path toward an innovation center will require support from various industries especially highend manufacturing.