Post excerpted from www.chinaview.cn. Minister of Science and Technology Xu Guanhua (at a press briefing during the National People’s Congress) said that China will become an "innovative country" by 2020 despite arduous tasks ahead. "Our per capita supply of energy, water and land resources is becoming more stringent as we face pressing problems in resources and environment," Xu said. Only by promoting science and technology can China solve these problems, he noted. According to Xu, Chinese enterprises are under increasing pressure from international competitors in globalization. To change the situation, the budget for science and technology this year will reach 71.6 billion yuan (US$8.9 billion), up 19.2 per cent year-on-year, according to Zhang Shaochun, assistant minister of finance. He said the government will ensure that expenditures on research and development (R&D) grow at a faster pace than fiscal revenues in the next five years. The government will also offer tax incentives to innovative businesses, he said. The new tax policies will allow an enterprise to use 150 per cent of its spending on R&D to offset payable income tax of that year. "In other words, the government will give tax rewards to companies that are actively involved in R&D," said Fang Hanting, a senior researcher with the National Research Centre for Science and Technology Development. Fang said the tax allowance will help reduce the financial risk of research-oriented companies and catalyze the emergence of more innovative firms. Besides, the new policy encourages companies to accelerate depreciation of research-related facilities. Zheng Chaocai, a tax official in Xiamen, Fujian Province, said the policy gives companies more tax preference. He called it a breakthrough in the country's tax policy. Beijing Vimicro Corporation said it is expected to double its sales income with the help of the tax incentives. At the end of last month, the government released a 58-point package of policies to help carry out its medium and long-term science and technology development programme. One of the highlights is to allow China Development Bank to issue loans with low interests to high-tech companies as an investor, Fang said. The bank has already started 50 such projects by investing 5 billion yuan (US$ 625 million) altogether. During the press briefing on Friday, Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, unveiled China's plans to build many major technological infrastructure projects in the next five years.
The following are the major high-tech projects China is set to undertake during the 2006-2010 period, listed in the draft guidelines of the five-year development blueprint being deliberated by Chinese lawmakers at their ongoing annual session:
-- Integrated circuits and software: establishing integrated circuit research and development centers, industrializing the technology for 90-nanometer and smaller integrated circuits, and developing basic software, middleware, large key applied software and integrated systems.
-- New-generation network: building next-general Internet demonstration projects, a nationwide digital TV network and mobile communication demonstration networks with independent property rights.
-- Advanced computing: making breakthrough in technology for pet flop computer systems, building grid-based advanced computing platforms, and commercializing the production of teraflop computers.
-- Biomedicine: Building a number of demonstration projects for commercial production of vaccines for major diseases and gene-modified medicines, improving the modern traditional Chinese medicine system, and enhancing the capability for new medicine invention and production.
-- Civil airplane: developing planes for trunk and feeder lines, general-purpose planes and helicopters, as well as advanced engines.
-- Satellite application: developing new meteorological, oceanographic, resource and telecommunication satellites, and poison- and pollution-free thrust augmented carrier rockets; building earth observation and navigation positioning satellite systems and facilities and application demonstration projects for civil satellite ground systems.
-- New materials: building demonstration projects for commercial production of high-performance new materials badly needed in information, biological and aerospace industries.