Innovation and self-reliance keys to China’s new five-year plan

If it manages to sticks to its latest five-year plan, by 2025 China will be technologically more self-reliant. particularly when it comes to chip design and manufacturing. With concern growing among the party’s top tier that the ongoing US-China trade war is depriving the country’s tech sector of the components it needs to flourish, the broad-brush strategy agreed at the 15th plenary session of 19th CPC Central Committee in Beijing made President Xi’s priorities clear.

“We will take scientific and technological self-reliance as a strategic support for national development,” his adviser Han Wenxiu told a news conference. A communiqué added that the economy is expected to have made major breakthroughs in key and core technologies, and the nation should be among the leading innovative countries by 2035. “Innovation will play a pivotal role in building a modern China, and independence and improvement in science and technology will serve as a strategic support for national development,” it said.

If China’s track record over the past 20 years is anything to go by, the results could be spectacular. It now accounts for 20% of total world expenditure on R&D, and during the course of the last five-year-plan alone, it has moved into lunar exploration project and developed a number of flagship projects including the BeiDou satellite navigation system, a ‘floating’ magnetic elevation (maglev) high-speed train capable of speeds of 600 km per hour, and the world’s leading 5G mobile telecom networks. As the building bloc for every innovation from artificial intelligence to fifth-generation networking and autonomous vehicles, China’s determination to guarantee access to future generations of chip is entirely logical.

Beijing’s confidence and ambition will have been bolstered by the Chinese economy’s performance post pandemic.The world’s second-biggest economy expanded 4.9% year-on-year in the three months to September after plunging 6.8% in the first quarter of the current calendar year.