New engine for development

By Zhou Tianyong
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, October 25, 2013
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After two debt crises, the United States, European countries and Japan, the traditional science and technology powerhouses, have focused on facilitating scientific and technological progress to maintain their competitive edge and create more job opportunities by renewing consumption through innovation. New technologies will inevitably reduce employment in the manufacturing sector, but they will boost more personalized designs and production that help create new jobs.

Developed countries, such as the US, have had success in employing scientific and technological innovation to revive their economies even amid recession. From the 1980s onward, corporate alliance in the field of science and technology has grown by 10 percent on average on a yearly basis. High-tech trade has doubled its contribution to the exports and imports of the manufacturing sector. The US recorded rapid growth in the 1990s, for which scientific and technological advances were the most important source of impetus. In the new century the deepening development of information technology and the shale gas revolution have also played a key role in cushioning the US against the economic downturn and forged the conditions necessary for the US' re-industrialization and manufacturing revival. These are lessons China can learn from the US.

Despite the obvious advantages, however, China should be aware of the challenges posed by the world's third industrial revolution and the re-industrialization of the Western world. The 21st century is witnessing the growing importance of technology and the green development pathway. If China fails to accomplish something concrete and significant, it will be downgraded to a second or even third-tier country. Should China fail to realize self-innovation, it will face the risk of becoming a dumping ground for outdated technologies and equipment. Industries awash with excess capacity may spread from traditional to emerging ones, as technologies further upgrade and ways of production and spending are directed toward an ecologically friendly way.

If China succeeds in raising the 50 percent contribution of science and technology to economic growth by 1.5 percentage points every year, then innovation-driven GDP growth will be equivalent to about 1 trillion yuan ($163 billion), and accordingly the pace of economic growth will rise by 1.8 percentage points. With greater importance attached to innovation and concrete implementation of the strategy of innovation-driven development, the Chinese economy will harvest even greater dividends. The constant progress in science and technology and the development of newly emerging industries will produce a steady momentum for China's economic growth.

The Chinese version of the article appeared in Study Times.


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