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NE China looking for innovation growth


Jilin province is justifiably proud of its own advantages in economic innovation because of the industrial foundation, one that is not like a stereotypical, problematic Northeast Industrial base.

These words come from the provincial Party secretary, Bayanqolu, who was present at meeting in Changchun for Jilin delegates, on March 16 who went on to say that, nonetheless, the province now faces new challenges as the nation’s economy enters "new normal" growth.

Banyanqolu made the remarks to accelerate provincial development under those conditions, because its GDP growth was 6.5 percent year-on-year, in 2014, or below the national average of 7.4 percent, and then added, "And we need to unlock our enormous, untapped potential through innovation to reach the ultimate development goal."

When China’s president, Xi Jinping, attended a discussion of deputies from the province, in Beijing on March 9, he said that rejuvenating China’s traditional industrial base mean abandoning old industrial capacity as quickly as possible to make way for new industries and services and that, "Sticking to the old path can only lead us further astray," according to a China Daily report.

That region has been trying to make best use of its industrial structure by upgrading its traditional automobile, petroleum, agricultural, pharmaceutical, and tourism industries and has developed emerging industries such as bio-technology, new energy, and culture.

And it has seen progress in industrial applications, which it expects to do at a faster pace, he said, with its national technology ability ranking 16th nationwide, in 2013, and its turning inventions into actual products in 10th place, according to the Science and Technology Ministry.

It has 165 enterprises in 198 research projects worth 2.43 billion yuan, cooperating with universities and institutions, in 2014. The Changchun BCHT Biotechnology Co, for example, has been working closely with Jilin University’s College of Life Sciences in vaccine R&D, by establishing a National Engineering Lab for AIDS vaccine, which produces two leading vaccines for varicella and rabies that earned 220 million yuan in 2014.

And, in spite of a sluggish economy, the province made a great effort to find new sources of economic growth from high-tech companies, especially those with their own brand. One example of this can be seen in Jilin THT Heat Transfer Technology, a major manufacturer of plate heat exchangers in China and its many giant clients, including the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Operations and Management Co, Sinopec, and South Korea’s LG Electronics.

However, the road to innovation-oriented growth is a rocky one and, in fact, the province is facing a painful struggle to get rid of its outdated industries and build new growth sources for the economy, according to China Daily.

A Dongbei University of Finance and Economics professor, Qi Yingfei, has said that local governments will have to learn to help enterprises develop higher quality products and services, and then concluded, "So, this year we’re at a critical point. If they lower their growth target, local governments may leave more room for reforms and hopefully give more help to businesses looking to transform themselves."