Innovation is not only on participants’ lips but also in their future plans at the ongoing 2009 Summer Davos, where about 1,400 business leaders and policy makers gathered to find ways to relaunch world economic growth.
At the summit’s opening ceremony, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao hailed the scientific and technological innovation, calling it “an improvement pillar.”
“We will make China a country of innovation. We will seek breakthroughs in key technologies that are vital to industrial transformation and upgrading,” he said.
The premier’s statement resonated among experts and entrepreneurs at the summit.
He Fan, a senior finance researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told Xinhua on the sideline of the summit that “only a new technology revolution can save the world’s economy.”
“With the change of scenarios against the backdrop of global financial crisis, Asia’s growth pattern, which depended on low costs and overseas markets, should change accordingly,” said Xu Xiaonian, professor with China Europe International Business School.
“The next round of economic growth depends on technology innovation and institutional innovation,” he added. “Such innovation hinges on the market, enterprises and individuals.”
Professor Denis Simon, director of the program on US-China Technology, Economics and Business Relations at the Pennsylvania State University, said the financial crisis made faster the process of restructuring, where there is now greater interest in green technology and renewable technology.
For businessmen, innovation means much more than an engine to pull the world out of recession. It means real money and more market share.
With innovation, a newly tapped domestic market in China is expected to offset the losses in the shrinking overseas market.
“Innovation generates consumption,” said Liu Jiren, chairman and chief executive officer with China’s Neusoft Corporation. “Nowadays, young people in China are always willing to buy something new, something with the latest technology. So innovation and new technologies revealed us larger market.”
Liu said the world needs to change the original innovation ways and turn to “open innovation” through a collaborative framework because no one could do it single-handedly.
Deepak Puri, chairman and managing director of India’s Moser Baer India Ltd., said that technical innovation could be well integrated with new energy.
He said more people had realized that technical innovation would give a strong push to the new energy development.
“I strongly believe in innovation. New technology can bring the cost of solar energy down,” he said.
As some companies tighten their budget for everything, Microsoft Corporate allocated 9.5 billion U.S. dollars in research and development in the 2009 fiscal year, up by 15 percent.
Ya-Qin Zhang, the corporate’s vice president, said they are preparing for “a fast development after the financial crisis.”
For government officials like Wan Gang, China’s Minister of Science and Technology, how to turn the technological innovation into real economic growth is their concerns.
“Government should be a driving force in the process, especially when the new technology first appears in the market,” he said at a penal discussion at the summit.
“The government should also help the small and medium-sized enterprises, major innovative forces in the society, to get started by providing them funds and helping them have access to the assistance from the academic community.
(Xinhua News Agency September 12, 2009)