Multinationals have set up 1,160 research institutions in China by the end of 2007, according to figures with the Ministry of Commerce.
Given its huge market, large number of qualified staff and competitive costs, 62 percent of the global companies rated China as the most attractive location for prospective R&D, said a ministry official, citing a survey conducted by the UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development).
"China welcomes more international hi-tech companies to set up regional headquarters, R&D centers, procurement centers and training centers in China," said Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission.
China's hi-tech industry in the three coastal regions of the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and Bohai Bay accounts for more than 80 percent of the national total in terms of scale of industry. Major industries include bio-medicine, aviation and aerospace, micro-electronics, photoelectron and software.
In 2006, the total revenue of the hi-tech industry exceeded 5.3 trillion yuan (US$706 billion), with its added-value contributing 8 percent of GDP growth.
Meanwhile, experts warn China remains highly dependent on foreign input and lacks core technologies.
Zhang Weixing, an official from the Chinese Science and Technology Ministry, said this January that China's invention patent applications amounted to 210,000 in 2006, the fourth largest in the world. More than 40 percent of these applications came from foreign companies.
(Xinhua News Agency February 7, 2008)