China Innovation Index (CII), a barometer of innovation capability, increased by 6.8 percent to 196.3 points in 2017, hitting a new high since 2005, the country’s statistics authority said on Dec. 12.
The CII is a system that reflects China’s general development of innovation in four major aspects including innovation environment, input, output and effects.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 19 of the 21 innovation indicators rose in 2017, and 5 of them saw double-digit growth, including the proportion of enterprises enjoying tax breaks for research and development (R&D), per capita spending on fundamental research, proportion of enterprises with R&D institutions, trademark ownership per 100 enterprises, and technology market transactions per 10,000 people engaging in science and technology.
“From the results, we can see the rising trend of the country’s innovation index, indicating that China’s strategy of innovation-driven development has been proved effective,” said Guan Xiaojing, a senior NBS statistician.
“The continued improvement of innovation capability has provided strong momentum for high-quality development," Guan added.
China witnessed fruitful achievements regarding innovation output in 2017, granting 1.721 million domestic patents, 5.6 percent more than those in 2016.
Of all the granted patents last year, 327,000 were invention patents, increasing by 8.2 percent over the previous year. In addition, 1.7 million science and technology papers were published across the year, up by 3 percent.
Meanwhile, technology market also enjoyed rapid development. The transaction value in this sector hit 1.34 trillion last year, up 17.7 percent from a year ago.
Such fruitful innovation results could not have been made without continuously increased input. In 2017, the full-time equivalent (FTE) of Chinese R&D personnel stood at 4.034 million, up by 4 percent. On this index that reflects the scale and strength of independent innovation input, China is leading the world.
In the same year, China’s R&D spending exceeded 1.76 trillion yuan, maintaining the second most in the world. It was 12.3 percent more than that in 2016, registering a 1.7-percentage growth.
Chinese enterprises are playing a dominant role in the development of technological innovation. Chinese firms spent a total of 1.366 trillion yuan on R&D last year, or 77.6 percent of the national total.
The proportion of fundamental research continued to rise. China’s spending on fundamental research increased 18.5 percent to 97.55 billion yuan in 2017, creating the highest growth rate in recent five years. It accounted for 5.54 percent of the total R&D spending, reaching the highest level since 2005.
Guan noted that in recent years, China has continuously increased fiscal funds on science and technology and well implemented favorable policies such as tax reduction to support the development of its science and technology.
In 2017, state appropriations for science and technology reached 838.36 billion yuan, an increase of 8 percent，among which 496.21 billion yuan came from local governments, reporting a year-on-year increase of 10.5 percent and accounting for 59.2 percent of the national total. The figure was 1.3 percentage points higher than that in the previous year as local governments were becoming more positive in financing science and technology.
The medium- to high-speed economic development has laid a solid foundation for innovation, while innovation, in return, provides strong support for high-quality economic development, Guan said.
Innovation has significant influence on the restructuring of products. In 2017, new products manufactured by China’s medium and large industrial enterprises generated 16 trillion yuan of sales revenue, up 8.6 percent. These products accounted for 22.1 percent of the enterprises’ income from major businesses, up 1.8 percentage points over the previous year, hitting a new high since 2005.
(Source: People’s Daily, December 17, 2018, by Lu Yanan)