China will remain an attractive market for the world's high tech sector

China Plus Published: 2019-03-15 22:51:53
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Note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs".

China's Premier Li Keqiang has once again stressed that the country will be able to keep its economic growth within a reasonable range this year and continue to achieve high-quality development. The pledge, made on Friday at the press conference held after the annual session of the country's top legislature, came as the government continues China's transition to a more innovation-driven growth model.

The premier's promise is underpinned by a slew of new measures. These include the new Foreign Investment Law that passed the National People's Congress on Friday, a bigger-than-expected tax and fee reduction plan that lightens the financial burden on enterprises, and a plan to create more than 11 million new urban jobs.

Premier Li Keqiang meets the press after the conclusion of the second session of the 13th National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday, March 15, 2019. [Photo: Xinhua]

Premier Li Keqiang meets the press after the conclusion of the second session of the 13th National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday, March 15, 2019. [Photo: Xinhua]

The government has also made it a priority to support industry sectors working on artificial intelligence (AI) technology. By doing so, they aim to give a further push to encourage industrial upgrades, which in turn will generate new opportunities in China for technology-related multinationals. More than 20 provinces have already published policies to support the growth of the AI technology industry. China is home to the second-largest market of AI companies – nearly 1,500 last year. And official figures show that China's AI industries were worth 68 billion yuan (around 10 billion U.S. dollars) at the end of last year. And that's to say nothing of China's already-booming digital economy sector, which analysts at IDG estimate will be worth 8.5 trillion U.S. dollars by 2021.

Behind the progress in cutting-edge technologies like AI are the government's massive investments in research and development. Official data shows that the country's input into R&D reached nearly 300 billion U.S. dollars last year, up more than 10 percent on the investment made in 2017.

The fruits of this investment can be seen in the growing number of patents related to AI technology. The World Intellectual Property Organization released its first report on AI patents in January. The number of AI-related patents lodged by applicants in China has increased rapidly over the past decade, overtaking both the United States and Japan, who dominated this sector from 1950 through to 2016. A recent article carried by the Nikkei Asian Review said that companies in China have surged ahead of their American counterparts on a Nikkei ranking of the top 50 patent filers for AI technologies. China had more than double the number of companies in the top 50 – from eight to 19 – than it did three years ago, Meanwhile, the United States only had 12 companies in the top 50 – down from 19 in the previous ranking.

At Friday's press conference, Premier Li Keqiang emphasized that the government is sticking with an inclusive and prudent approach when it comes to fostering new industries and new business models. It is committed to promoting fair access and supervision, and providing entrepreneurs with both room for growth and an environment that encourages it. This is why investors with long-term vision will continue to see China as an opportunity for high-quality development.

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LU Xiankun Professor LU Xiankun is Managing Director of LEDECO Geneva and Associate Partner of IDEAS Centre Geneva. He is Emeritus Professor of China Institute for WTO Studies of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Wuhan University (WHU) of China and visiting professor or senior research fellow of some other universities and think tanks in China and Europe. He also sits in management of some international business associations and companies, including as Senior Vice President of Shenzhen UEB Technology LTD., a leading e-commerce company of China. Previously, Mr. LU was senior official of Chinese Ministry of Commerce and senior diplomat posted in Europe, including in Geneva as Counsellor and Head of Division of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO and in Brussels as Commercial Secretary of the Permanent Mission of China to the EU. Benjamin Cavender Benjamin Cavender is a Shanghai based consultant with more than 11 years of experience helping companies understand consumer behavior and develop go to market strategies for China. He is a frequent speaker on economic and consumer trends in China and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Channel News Asia. Sara Hsu Sara Hsu is an associate professor from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a regular commentator on Chinese economy. Xu Qinduo Xu Qinduo is CRI's former chief correspondent to Washington DC, the United States. He works as the producer, host and commentator for TODAY, a flagship talk show on current affairs. Mr. Xu contributes regularly to English-language newspapers including Shenzhen Daily and Global Times as well as Chinese-language radio and TV services. Lin Shaowen A radio person, Mr. Lin Shaowen is strongly interested in international relations and Chinese politics. As China is quite often misunderstood in the rest of the world, he feels the need to better present the true picture of the country, the policies and meanings. So he talks a lot and is often seen debating. Then friends find a critical Lin Shaowen criticizing and criticized. George N. Tzogopoulos Dr George N. Tzogopoulos is an expert in media and politics/international relations as well as Chinese affairs. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre International de Européenne (CIFE) and Visiting Lecturer at the European Institute affiliated with it and is teaching international relations at the Department of Law of the Democritus University of Thrace. George is the author of two books: US Foreign Policy in the European Media: Framing the Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism (IB TAURIS) and The Greek Crisis in the Media: Stereotyping in the International Press (Ashgate) as well as the founder of, an institutional partner of CRI Greek. David Morris David Morris is the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, a former Australian diplomat and senior political adviser. Harvey Dzodin After a distinguished career in the US government and American media Dr. Harvey Dzodin is now a Beijing-based freelance columnist for several media outlets. While living in Beijing, he has published over 200 columns with an emphasis on arts, culture and the Belt & Road initiative. He is also a sought-after speaker and advisor in China and abroad. He currently serves as Nonresident Research Fellow of the think tank Center for China and Globalization and Senior Advisor of Tsinghua University National Image Research Center specializing in city branding. Dr. Dzodin was a political appointee of President Jimmy Carter and served as lawyer to a presidential commission. Upon the nomination of the White House and the US State Department he served at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. He was Director and Vice President of the ABC Television in New York for more than two decades.