SCIO briefing on China's strategy of promoting innovation-driven development and efforts to build China into an innovation-oriented country

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China National Radio (CNR):

To our knowledge, a number of new key scientific and technological programs and projects were introduced under the 13th Five-Year Plan, and they have played a fairly important role in China's social and economic development. Could you elaborate on some of the typical achievements in cutting-edge technologies? And how big of a part do they play in supporting the construction of major national projects, fostering and developing new growth drivers, and promoting high quality development? Thank you.

Qin Yong:

Thank you for your questions, and I will brief you on the situation accordingly. China's socio-economic development has been transitioning to a high-quality stage under the 13th Five-Year Plan, which requires strong support of technologies and innovation. In accordance with the plan deployment, the Ministry of Science and Technology has been focusing on the development of both emerging and cutting-edge technologies and strengthening R&D efforts on sectors. Positive progress has been made to foster and develop new growth drivers, supporting the construction of major national projects, and promote high quality economic development, specifically in the following aspects:

First, a series of emerging and cutting-edge technologies and major advancements in key areas have been introduced, further enhancing our capacity of sci-tech innovation. During the 13th Five-Year Plan, the Ministry of Science and Technology has redoubled its efforts in planning advances the strategic high technologies, and a series of breakthroughs have been made in fields such as supercomputing, rail transit, quantum information, and additive manufacturing. China remains competitive in supercomputing. The number of our supercomputers accounts for 45% of the world's Top 500 rankings. Meanwhile the country is developing an exascale supercomputer after completing the development of a prototype exascale computer. In terms of advanced rail transit, a prototype magnetic levitation train, with a speed of 600 kph, has completed system checks on a test track. A prototype of a high-speed train with a speed of over 400 kph rolled off the assembly line in Changchun city on Oct. 21. All these breakthroughs contribute to the development of a high-speed rail system with a Chinese brand name. In regard to quantum information, with the experiments including the quantum science satellite Mozi and the line between Beijing and Shanghai, the prototype of the first space-ground integrated quantum communication network has taken shape.

Second, new growth drivers have been fostered and developed to support China's high-quality economic development. During the 13th Five-Year Plan, the distribution of emerging and cutting-edge technologies has been highlighted, and progress made in the fields such as new energy vehicle (NEV), telecommunications, third-generation semiconductors and new-type displays. These have effectively guided the development of strategic emerging industries. With more R&D efforts made in NEV's batteries, electric-powered engines and electronics controllers, China has been working to establish a relatively complete industry chain of NEV, which has enabled it to lead the world for five consecutive years in manufacturing and sales of NEVs. The number of NEVs exceeded four million, accounting for over 50% of the world's total. In terms of telecommunication, China has led the world in 5G technology with the largest number of core 5G patents. It also spearheads the commercial use of 5G technologies. There are over 600,000 5G base stations in China, and the number of users has exceeded 110 million. As for new-type displays, by promoting the integration between the innovation value chain and industry chain, China has quickly improved the overall competitiveness of its new-type displays industry. The sales of this sector in 2019 exceeded 300 billion yuan, ranking first in the world.

Third, efforts have been made to bolster the construction of major national projects in order to meet the strategic needs of the country. For the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, significant technological support was provided by systematically arranging key R&D efforts of the cross-sea cluster project. For the construction of the Sichuan-Tibet railway, MOST has provided sci-tech support for the construction's feasibility study, while planning in advance the study on major equipment. The ministry has intensified efforts to solve difficulties in core technology concerning the whole system of hard-rock tunnel boring machines and their core components. All of these efforts will provide self-reliant equipment support to the construction of Sichuan-Tibet railway, known as "a project of the century."

Looking ahead to high-tech development for the 14th Five-Year Plan, MOST will fully implement General Secretary Xi Jinping's guidance that scientific and technological development must target the global science frontiers, serve the main economic battlefield, strive to fulfill significant needs of the country and benefit people's lives and health. In accordance with the strategic requirement of fostering a new, dual-cycle development architecture, and in order to solve the contradiction between the need for high-quality development and the lack of sci-tech innovation capacity, we will make more efforts to develop high technologies. First, the Ministry of Science and Technology will strengthen its efforts in forward-looking deployment work, developing new-generation high technologies featuring intelligent and quantum technologies, so as to foster China's first-mover advantages in the sector. Second, the Ministry of Science and Technology will strengthen R&D efforts in key fields and links, providing more high-tech supplies for high-quality development. Third, it will accelerate its efforts to develop the new-generation high-tech industries, further fostering the new growth drivers. Thank you.

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