China is witnessing an increase in better-educated laborers and a booming talent pool, official figures show.
The country was home to 120 million managerial, professional and skilled workers at the end of 2010, up by 7.8 million from 2008. They accounted for 11.1 percent of the country's labor force, according to statistics released on Monday.
Among the talent pool are nearly 30 million business management personnel, 55.5 million technical professionals, 28.6 million highly skilled personnel and around 10.5 million rural staff with practical skills.
The investment in human capital was equivalent to 12 percent of GDP in 2010.
Such investment includes spending in education, health, and research and development, according to the latest figures.
One-eighth of the working-age population has received higher education, up from less than one in 10 in 2008.
China plans to enlarge its talent pool to 180 million by 2020, which would account for 16 percent of the labor force, according to the country's talent development plan for 2010-2020.
The plan also forecasts that one-fifth of its population of working age would have received higher education by that time.
Liu Xin, a professor at the institute of organization and human resources under Renmin University of China, said the increases show that the country is shifting its focus from an investment-led growth model to one led by skills and education.
Liu said China's fast development in the past three decades was based on massive investment but was actually driven by inexpensive labor.
"The government has realized that it's wiser to adjust the development model and sustain growth through creating and using talent. It's in line with the country's goal of building an innovative country," he said.
Liu said China has the largest number of scientific research staff in the world but still lags behind many countries in its ability to innovate and invent.
He suggested that talented researchers and developers in the private sector should be given a bigger role to help innovation.
In many other countries, not all key innovations are made by government think tanks, as the private sector plays an important role in this regard, he said.
"China should create a more favorable environment for talent to grow and function, rather than simply rely on imported technologies," he said.