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China to turn Pearl River Delta into 'technological innovation lab'
Updated: 2009-01-08 17:10

The Pearl River Delta, an export-oriented region severely hit by the financial crisis, aims to become a "significant innovation center" in the Asia-Pacific region by 2020, according to a statement by China's top economic planner Thursday.

In next three years, about 100 State laboratories for engineering innovation and research and development (R&D) will be established, under a plan released Thursday by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The plan sets the goal that by 2012, three to five industrial clusters powered by high-technology should come into place, generating more than 100 billion yuan ($14.60 billion) in aggregate industrial output.

The delta region was also expected to incubate three-to-five multinationals whose annual sales would reach 100 billion yuan by 2012.

Manufacturing powered by high-technology should generate at least 30 percent of the region's total industrial output by 2020.

Big cities including Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Macao will jointly form a regional innovation hub that will serve as the base for regional and international cooperation in science and technologies.

The government will also provide support for about 50 leading innovative enterprises at home and 10 internationally competitive enterprises, encouraging them to strengthen R&D investment by reducing their taxes and purchasing their products.

The commission said the delta region is expected to obtain 600 patent applications per one million people annually by 2012, with priority given to independent technological innovations.

The R&D expenditures will account for 2.5 percent of the region's annual GDP by 2012, creating a fitting environment for innovations while beefing up intellectual property rights protection and making financing more accessible for companies engaged in technological development, according to the statement.

A high-tech industrial cluster encompassing biology, wireless telecommunications, advanced Internet network building, new materials, environmental protection and new energy, among others, will be established by 2012, generating more industrial momentum for the region, according to the NDRC.

While some traditional competitive industries such as household appliances, textile and garments, paper-making and Chinese herbal medicine, will be upgraded to increase competence, inefficient energy-consuming sectors will gradually be phased out.

The central and the local governments will work together to create about 100 provincial technology R&D alliances, and establish research institutes and units affiliated to universities, bringing research results into the production line, according to the NDRC.

The region would also build a modern agricultural industry by upgrading technologies and facilities, setting up big production areas, and developing convenient logistics.

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