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  • China to Double Research Funding
Feb 2006
BEIJING, Feb. 10, 2006 -- China this week announced a plan to increase its research programs over the next 15 years to enhance its international competitiveness, promote a sustainable development and achieve breakthroughs in science and technology for both the military and industry, reported Xinhua, China's news agency.

A strategy outlined Thursday by the State Council, or cabinet, lists research in broad areas, such as nanotechnology, and 16 "key technologies" -- including computer software, telecommunications, nuclear energy and a military-managed space program that already has launched two manned flights -- that should receive more support from government and private industry. To speed progress in these areas, it said, R&D spending should rise dramatically to reach 2.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2020.

"As a rapidly developing country, China must put the emphasis on basic research in order to achieve national goals and solve key problems that would appear in the future," said the cabinet in its report, "National Guideline on Medium- and Long- Term Plan for Science and Technology Development (2006-2020)."

Also this week, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce reported that foreign investors are setting up an increasing number of research and development facilities in China. There are about 750 of these centers in China, primarily in Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen, where foreign investment is concentrated.

"In response to China's hunger for advanced overseas technologies, many multinationals have redeployed their global strategy and have made China one of their priority locations for R &D centers," Xinhua reported.

The ministry said the centers mainly focus on high-tech industries such as electronic and telecommunications equipment, manufacturing of transport equipment, pharmaceuticals and chemical materials.

Multinationals such as Microsoft, IBM, Motorola, Nokia and Toyota have all established R&D centers in China. These corporations also employ a large proportion of Chinese talent. The ministry said high-school graduates and students who have returned from overseas have been the main target for recruitment. The R&D centers also have close ties with Chinese universities and scientific research institutions, said the ministry, and many have combined with Chinese scientific institutions to work on new products and technologies.

"Economic observers said by attracting more and more localized foreign R&D centers, China can climb the hierarchy within the global economy, and the technological innovation of Chinese companies can be improved," Xinhua said.

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