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State-owned labs to open to foreigners in Shanghai
( 2003-12-24 02:38) (China Daily)

All of Shanghai's State-owned laboratories and scientific platforms, except for those that concern sensitive technology and State secrets, will open to foreign businesses and institutions next year.

Services will be available to multinationals and foreign institutions, especially those that are currently operating in Shanghai, China Daily was told yesterday.

Some laboratories and platforms will continue to be closed to overseas organizations, however, in order to defend national interests, said Li Yiping, director of the Shanghai Science and Technology Commission (SSTC).

And all these institutions can bid for government-financed projects, he said.

The city government has pledged to increase its investment in science and technology innovation in order to boost its technological strength, making it a driving force to support Shanghai's development.

Research and development (R&D) funding will account for 2.5 per cent of Shanghai's gross domestic product by 2007 from last year's 1.89 per cent, Li said.

The level of around 2.5 per cent of GDP is close to current R&D input in the United States and European Union nations.

The local government mapped out a strategy last week to develop science, technology and education in the city.

Shanghai plans to establish itself as the nation's important centre of knowledge resources, services centre and high-tech industrial base by 2010.

Current R&D input in China is about 1.1 per cent of its GDP.

The government also expects to produce a number of core technologies with self-owned intellectual property rights and boost enterprises' core competitiveness.

The government will direct and lead the process, focusing on overall layout and sustainable development, while implementation of the strategy requires the participation of all sectors, he added.

Indeed, enterprises have replaced research institutions to become the mainstay of scientific and technological innovation in the city.

Enterprises now play a major role in over 50 per cent of SSTC funded projects and own the key technology in nearly 30 per cent of such projects.

More than half of the city's R&D investment is from enterprises.

"The government will earmark more money for R&D and attach more importance to enterprises' role in science and technology innovation,'' Li said.

His commission will continue to support small and medium-sized technology start-ups through government venture capital funding.

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