China / Government

Official: More centers for innovation coming

By Wang Yanfei (China Daily) Updated: 2016-04-02 07:29

China will establish several new centers for driving innovation in eastern areas of the country this year, a senior official at the Ministry of Science and Technology said on Friday.

The announcement was made only two days after an additional three regions were approved by the State Council, including areas in Henan, Shandong and Liao-ning provinces.

A total of 14 self-governing innovation areas have been established since the Zhongguancun technology hub in Beijing became the first in 2009.

"We have seen how demonstration areas are able to boost economic transformations, and we hope that a successful experience in eastern regions will gradually be adopted by western regions faced with greater structural challenges amid downward economic pressure," Vice-Minister Yin Hejun said on Friday.

With abundant educational resources and flexible policies attracting foreign investment and research funding, innovation demonstration areas have achieved "remarkable progress" in helping boost industrial upgrades, Yin said, adding that growth in seven areas contributed more than 20 percent of provincial or regional GDP growth.

Yin did not specify a number and the locations to be approved. But second-tier and even third-tier cities are expected to be selected, as long as they are equipped with "a certain level" of potential for innovative development and are located in key places, according to Liu Jian, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development.

"Shenyang and Dalian, newly approved cities in Liao-ning province, are good examples," Liu said. "There is ample potential in more than 60 percent of the research institutes, and 70 percent of high-technology industries are located in these two cities.

"With more freedom and power for local policy design, these regions and others with similar economic structural challenges are expected to quicken the pace to move away from traditional engines of growth and find new motives."

Cao Heping, a professor of economics at Peking University, sees great potential in science and high-tech institutions. Such resources are able to help local governments find new ways to drive growth, Cao said.

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