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China Boosts Technological Intermediary Service
China is working to boost its technological intermediary service sector to help small and medium-sized businesses sharpen their competitive edge through the application of high-tech research results.

The number of productivity promotion centers (PPCs), the leading provider of a technological intermediary service in China,is expected to climb to 1,000 by the year 2005 from some 700 at present, the Ministry of Science and Technology predicted in Beijing on Wednesday.

More than 300,000 businesses will benefit from the service.

The first group of PPCs emerged in 1992 when China's policy makers decided to reform the planned economy into a market-oriented one. The role of high and new technology in propelling economic growth became increasingly prominent.

However, China lags behind in applying high-tech research results to industrial production, said Li Jian, director of the ministry's Department of High Technology Development and Industrialization.

Only some 20 percent of some 30,000 research results nationwide are used in actual production each year, according to a ministry survey.

"Industrial competitiveness relies much more on the research and development phase than on the production phase," Li noted.

But Chinese businesses, particularly small ones, often found it hard to utilize new technology due to the lack of an intermediary service to provide an information exchange, consultancy advice, and transferral of technology, he said.

Productivity promotion centers operate in all 31 Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, and in such industries as machine-building, textiles, construction and electronics.

A new national law promoting the growth of small and medium-sized businesses stipulates that governments are obliged to support PPCs.

(People's Daily July 11, 2002)

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