China to Break Through Technological Bottleneck

China has made remarkable progress over the past few years in breaking through the technological bottleneck in economic development.

The booming high-tech industries have begun to play an important role in changing China's economic growth manners and economic restructuring, an official at the State Development Planning Commission (SDPC) said Friday.

In 1996 the central government made clear the necessity of vigorously developing high-tech and related industries. And in the ensuing years, the state adopted a series of major policies to encourage technical innovations, giving unprecedented priority to the development of science and technology as well as high-tech industrialization.

Last year, the SDPC issued a directory for major high-tech areas China was paying special attention to, aiming to guide social investment, promote industrial restructuring and upgrade technologies.

Meanwhile, the SDPC began to work on a development plan for high-tech industries during the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-2005), the first in history, the official said.

The Fifth Plenum of the 15th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, which was convened on October 9-11, called for greater efforts in the research of high-tech areas of strategic importance.

In 1999, the central government for the first time earmarked treasury bonds to finance 172 high-tech projects, including a project to encourage domestic manufacture and use of digital mobile communications equipment.

Implementation of those projects, along with others this year, has been instrumental in breaking through technological bottlenecks blocking the country's economic development, and helped form some new economic growth areas and high-tech industries.

Increased support from the state helps expand the total volume of high-tech industries rapidly. Statistics showed that the industrial output value of China's high-tech industries rose from 440 billion yuan in 1993 to more than 1.1 trillion yuan in 1999, an average increase of 22.7 percent, 5.8 percentage points higher than that of the total industrial output value.

High-tech exports and imports have also been on a fast track. Statistics show that the total high-tech foreign trade volume climbed from some US$20 billion in 1993 to more than 62 billion in 1999, contributing greatly to reversing China's downhill exports, brought about by the Asian financial crisis.

In addition, high-tech has been boosting the traditional industries, raising their technological level and competitiveness, and unfolding further options for development on a more technically advanced level.

(People's Daily 10/13/2000)