BEIJING -- The Chinese government is going to invest 377.7 million yuan (US$51.04 million) in transforming military technologies for civilian use in 2008, 20 percent more than this year's budget.
The Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (COSTIND) released the news Tuesday on its website, www.costind.gov.cn, saying that the funds will go towards alternative energy, electric equipment, information technology, heavy equipment, and to energy-efficient and environment-friendly equipment.
The website says the fund will be channeled into 17 projects, but does not elaborate on what specific technologies the commission has an interest in developing in the coming year. The total fund for the new year is nearly 20 percent more than the 2007 budget at 315.5 million yuan.
The COSTIND, which is responsible for China's defense industry and is mandated to organize technological development and production of national defense contractors, leads China's first moon exploration effort.
However, the launch and operation of the Chang'e orbiter is funded from a separate and more costly space program. The first phase of the moon exploration program cost roughly 1.4 billion yuan, according to the government.
In recent years, the COSTIND has encouraged defense manufacturers to develop more dual technologies and products for a better performance in their balance sheets.
The so-called "dual-use technologies" are those developed by the defense sector primarily for military use, but which may later have a use in hi-tech civilian-use products.
An official with the COSTIND said that more dual technologies should be commercialized in the civilian market, and in so doing creating a defense sector which is both more competitive and more profitable.