China’s 13th Five-Year Plan: focus on innovation

It’s nothing new, but it’s on (official) paper. China’s focus for the upcoming five year is on “innovation”. The second chapter (just after the guiding principles, main objectives and development concepts) in the 13th Five-Year Plan is how to implement the strategy of an innovation-driven development in China. Science and technology’s contribution to economic growth in 2020 is pinpointed at 60%.

Every five year the Chinese government announces a “Five-Year Plan”. This plan describes goals and targets for upcoming years, and identifies main sectors to focus on. Recently the 13th Five-Year Plan, for 2016 till 2020, has been announced. Innovation is highlighted as the main driver for economic success.

Some specific goals related to innovation are: R&D spending should be 2.5% of GDP, the number of patents per 10,000 persons should be 12, and the contribution of science and technology to economic growth should be 60%.

The government would like to achieve such by encouraging (business/ tech) startups, strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights, increasing the import of advanced technology and equipment and promoting innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development. Sectors mentioned in the plan: railway and road construction, water conservancy projects, urbanization, agricultural modernization and hydropower, nuclear power, smart grids, among others.

Three topics stand out in the 13th Five-Year Plan, namely:

  1. The active involvement on air quality. There is a binding advice on PM2.5 density decrease as well as on the amount of days with good or excellent air quality in cities.
  2. Following the Made in China 2025 policy, there is a specific focus on intelligent manufacturing.
  3. In line with the Internet Plus strategy, online-to-offline (O2O) and full coverage of access to broadband is highly encouraged. China expects that 70% of all households will have a fixed broadband by 2020, and 85% mobile broadband users.

Sources, further reading

  1. https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/8696-13th-Five-Year-Plan-is- the-first-to-include-PM2-5-targets
  2. The report on the work of the government. Key points. March 5, 2016.
  3. Working translation based on the 05 March 2016 draft of the 13th Five-Year Plan. Key Indicators of Economic and Social Development During the 13th Five-Year Plan Period and 13th Five-Year Plan’s Table of Contents.

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