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First batch of innovative firms named
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Ninety-one out of 103 trial innovative firms were named "National Innovative Enterprises" yesterday after a two-year long trial operation to accelerate the country's technical innovation, Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) said yesterday.

The 91 companies, including China Aerospace Science and Technology Co, China Aluminum Co and Lenovo Group, are the first batch of firms to win the honor.

They have passed expert panel evaluations jointly conducted by MOST, the State Council's Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) and the All-China Federation of Trade Unions.

The three government organizations selected the first 103 trial innovative firms, all of which have patented technologies and well-known brands, a strong international competitive edge and technological sustainable development potential, in July 2006.

"Key national laboratories and industrial R&D centers will be set up within these national innovative enterprises that provide management and IPR protection training," Wan Gang, minister of science and technology, said yesterday at the ongoing China-ASEAN education exchange week in Guiyang, Guizhou province.

"We will also increase investment in technical research and personnel training to promote innovation," he said. "Qualified enterprises and organizations are encouraged to invest in basic technical research, establish laboratories jointly with universities and institutes and actively carry out technological innovation."

"Joining the trial innovative firms program has helped companies strengthen their innovative capacity," SASAC Deputy Director Shao Ning said.

The 91 firms' R&D funds increased to 82.9 billion yuan ($12 billion) in 2007, 52.1 percent higher than 2005. The average R&D fund accounted for 6.74 percent of each company's sales revenue in 2007, as compared with the country's large and medium-sized industrial enterprise average of 0.77 percent.

The companies' total patent applications rose to 17,180 in 2007, 84.7 percent higher than 2005, and their total R&D personnel hit 220,100 in 2007, 26.4 percent more than in 2005.

"These firms, all of which are large, are already leaders in their sectors. Their independent core technology will help them become the country's technology leaders," Shao said.

Chinese companies now have a greater interest in controlling core technologies by developing major equipment manufacturing industries, such as automobile and shipbuilding, in which homegrown or innovative hi-tech technologies products can substitute for imports, said Liu Yong, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

(China Daily July 29, 2008)


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