The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the China Innovation Index, a barometer of the country's innovation capability, rose at an accelerated pace and reached 228.3 point in 2019, up 7.8 percent year-on-year.
Besides that, China's ranking on the Global Innovation Index (GII) released by the World Intellectual Property Organization jumped from 29th in 2015 to 14th in 2020, remaining the only middle-income economy in the top 30 of the GII list in terms of innovation capacity and output. China has high ranks in patents, utility models, trademarks, industrial design applications and creative products exports and other important metrics.
The period of the 13th Five-Year Plan from 2016 to 2020 was a decisive stage and a crucial period in making China an innovative country. In particular, the accelerated application of 5G, artificial intelligence, blockchain and new energy have made remarkable progress in supporting and leading high-quality development of the Chinese economy.
China is placing increasing attention on technological innovation as a key inventor in the world instead of merely the world's factory. This push already started in the 13th Five-Year Plan which ends in 2020, but is an even more important focus in the 14th Five-Year Plan.
The newly-released communique of the fifth plenary session of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee stressed that China will uphold the central role of innovation in its modernization drive and implement an innovation-driven strategy. Innovation was at the heart of CPC discussions, mentioned 15 times in the 22-paragraph official communique.
The rapid improvement in innovation capability was the result of continuous improvement in innovation environment. China's investment in research and development (R&D) maintained rapid growth, reaching 2.21 trillion yuan in 2019, second in the world. China's spending on fundamental research, which reflects the level of original innovation investment, reached 133.56 billion yuan in 2019, up 22.5 percent over the previous year, the fastest growth in eight years.
A new "dual circulation" development pattern, where domestic and foreign markets can boost each other with the domestic market as the mainstay, and a focus on technological innovation, is leading the Chinese market. It should be pointed out that achieving technological self-reliance in China does not mean pursuing innovation behind closed doors. On the contrary, China's sci-tech innovation cannot be achieved without the world, and the world's sci-tech progress also needs China.
An innovation-oriented country is not for its own sake only, but for the betterment of mankind. For example, an important attribute of China's BeiDou satellite global navigation system is internationalization, which enables ASEAN countries, Pakistan and other "Belt and Road" countries to share BeiDou system technology, products and application results. Besides that, China is ready to share with other countries the latest achievements in scientific research, including 5G technology, and pledges that the COVID-19 vaccine will become a global public product when it is developed and put into use.
Although China's sci-tech innovation continues to improve, the shortcomings of basic scientific research are still prominent, and the situation that key and core technologies are subject to others has not been fundamentally changed. China must improve its innovation capabilities and achieve breakthroughs in key and core technologies as soon as possible.
Innovation-driven growth is necessary for achieving high-quality development. In the next few years, it will be a top priority for China to drive economic growth by increasing the country's innovation capacity, which is also a key area for China to compete with developed countries. A more innovative China will become a better destination for global innovation entrepreneurs, and inject greater momentum into world recovery and development as well as human scientific and technological progress.