China’s local governments double down on innovation to drive growth -Xinhua

– China’s local governments have promised to further develop future industries, from the metaverse and blockchain to artificial intelligence and augmented reality, reflecting their growing desire to look at innovation as a key growth factor.

– The development of “specialized and innovative” small and medium enterprises was at the top of the industrial policy agenda of many local governments.

TAIYUAN, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) – Shortly after the metaverse became a buzzword in the world of technology, raising hopes that it could unleash new possibilities for the Internet, the term entered the sectoral policies of China’s local governments.

As part of their economic planning for 2022, local decision-makers have pledged to further develop future industries, from the metacosm and blockchain to artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality, reflecting their growing desire to innovate as a key factor. growth.

Employees work at Sany Group smart factory in new district of Liangjiang in Chongqing, southwest China, July 19, 2021 (Xinhua / Xu Qin)

NEW ECONOMIC MILESTONES

In recent weeks, China’s provincial regions have held their annual consultative meetings on legislative and political issues, known as “two sessions”. Economic data from the meetings showed that various parts of China continue to recover steadily from the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Last year, Hubei’s gross domestic product (GDP) reached 5 trillion yuan (about $ 789 billion), a new height for the province, which was once badly affected by the epidemic.

Calling 2021 “extraordinary and challenging,” Hubei Provincial Governor Wang Zhonglin said it was a year full of achievements in post-pandemic recovery.

With the GDP of Dongguan, a city in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong that exceeds one trillion yuan, Guangdong now has four cities in the “one trillion yuan club”. The province’s own GDP for the first time exceeded 12 trillion yuan, taking the lead in all provincial-level regions.

In 2021, the GDP of North China’s Shanxi Province exceeded two trillion yuan. The traditional energy base has also seen a steady shift to high-tech industries, with the added value of developing industrial strategic sectors and high-tech manufacturing increasing by 19.5 per cent and 34.2 per cent respectively.

People visit the Huaqianbei Museum, which showcases exhibits about the earliest Chinese electronics market, in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, South China, January 7, 2021 (Xinhua / Liang Xu)

BUILDING OF FUTURE GLANDS

High-tech industries are playing an increasingly important role in stimulating growth in different parts of China, and local authorities have high hopes for the development of new sectors such as artificial intelligence and quantum information.

The Beijing Municipal Government is committed to launching 20 key application scenarios to promote the formation of industrial clusters such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and ultra-high definition display.

With a strong digital economy, Zhejiang Province in eastern China will promote future industries such as brain-like intelligence and quantum information, and will seek to increase the value added of the major industries of the digital economy by 12 percent.

The development of the digital economy also contributes to the modernization of traditional industries. Chongqing Municipality of Southwest China plans to accelerate the intellectual transformation of production equipment and key chains, as well as set up 10 new smart factories and 100 digital workshops.

Among the many latest technologies and new concepts, the metaverse has become one of the most compelling words in discussions by local lawmakers and policy advisers.

“The concept of the metaworld can be seen as a comprehensive development and innovative expansion of the digital economy,” said Tong Zhilei, a member of the Beijing People’s Congress, adding that Beijing must use its resources and talents to gain a head start. in the area.

Some regions are already on the move. Hefei, the capital of Anhui province in eastern China, plans to cultivate a group of leading enterprises in border areas such as metaversion over the next five years, while Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, aims to build a national pilot zone on next-generation artificial intelligence through metal integration. , big data, cloud computing and blockchain with real economy.

An aerial photograph taken on August 4, 2021, shows a photovoltaic power plant in Tuzing Village, Yunzhou District, Datong, Shanxi Province in northern China. (Xinhua / Cao Yang)

REAL ECONOMY, HIDDEN TECH

“Within a month, our newly formed company received a license to manufacture medical devices,” said Lee Lee, chairman of Masterwork Group Co., Ltd., a high-tech firm based in Tianjin.

In recent years, Masterwork has continued to enter new markets through innovations from printing equipment manufacturing to medical devices.

“The effectiveness of the government’s approval not only allowed us to meet domestic demand during the pandemic, but also helped us export our products on time,” Lee said.

In Tianjin, pro-innovation policies have led to a boom in high-tech firms. Last year, 130 businesses in the northern port city were classified as national small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are specialized and innovative.

The development of these “specialized and innovative” SMEs has been high on the industrial policy agenda of many local governments.

In Shandong Province in eastern China, it is planned to incubate 400 such SMEs by 2025, while Zhejiang plans to add 100 similar companies in 2022. Some local authorities have promised these companies favorable tax and credit policies.

Liu Xiangdong, a researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said SME development plays an important role in enhancing the competitiveness of the real economy, especially in manufacturing, and helps boost the modernization and international competitiveness of industrial chains and supply chains.

In addition, many local governments have pledged to provide sufficient funding for research.

For example, Anhui Province is looking to increase the share of R&D funding in its GDP to about 2.5 percent in 2022. Guangdong plans to implement a 10-year basic research project in which more than a third of the province’s research fund will go on.

“Guangdong will give scientists more power to choose research and use funds and resources to promote greater technological breakthroughs,” said Chen Hongyu, a former vice president of the Guangdong Provincial Communist Party’s China Party School.

(Video reporters: Xie Yuan, Liu Weizhen; video editors: Wu Yao, Cao Ying, Zheng Xin)

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