High-quality development, which entails innovative, coordinated, green and open development and development for everyone, was one of the buzzwords during China’s just concluded Two Sessions, which mapped out the 2023 development priorities of the world’s second-largest economy.
While attending a deliberation with his fellow National People’s Congress (NPC) deputies from the delegation of Jiangsu Province during the session, President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of pursuing high-quality development, calling it the “first and foremost” task in China’s modernization endeavor. The president pointed out that speeding up efforts to achieve greater self-reliance and strength in science and technology is the path the country must take to promote high-quality development.
China should work to achieve greater self-reliance and strength in science and technology, promote industrial transformation and upgrading, advance coordinated urban-rural and regional development, and foster green and low-carbon economic and social development, Xi reiterated when addressing the closing meeting of the first session of the 14th NPC on Monday.
Chinese Premier Li Qiang also pledged to focus effort on promoting high-quality development, noting China will enhance the capacity in science and technology as well as innovation, accelerate the building of a modern industrial system and advance transition toward green development.
China has made strides in recent years in boosting research and development spending, expanding clean energy production, and nurturing growth poles with regional development strategies, alongside progress in other areas to seek innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared growth.
Sci-tech innovation props up China’s high-quality development
As early as 2014, in an inspection tour of Jiangsu Province, Xi highlighted the role of innovation in economic development, saying that China must rely on innovation to achieve continuous and healthy economic development.
China fully implemented the innovation-driven development strategy and improved and upgraded the industrial structure over the past five years, according to the 2023 government work report.
China promoted development of the real economy through innovation and continued to foster new drivers of growth, said the report. The leading role of technological innovation was reinforced, it said, adding that China launched a number of major sci-tech innovation projects and stepped up efforts to secure breakthroughs in core technologies in key fields.
In the pursuit of high-quality development, China is also doubling down on technological innovation as a primary driver of growth. In 2022, China spent a record 3.09 trillion yuan ($449 billion) on research and development, a 10.4-percent year-on-year increase that could be credited with the nation’s accelerated efforts to enhance its innovation capability for more breakthroughs.
China saw its ranking in the Global Innovation Index jump from 34th in 2012 to 11th last year, with the economy expanding at an average annual rate of 6.6 percent between 2013 and 2021, contributing over 30 percent to world economic growth.
China makes sci-tech innovation global public goods
When reinforcing its strength in science and technology, China has also been committed to sharing its technology with worldwide partners and cooperating to improve global science and technology governance.
Boasting the world’s longest and most extensively used high-speed rail network, China has been helping multiple countries construct and upgrade their rail transit with its advanced railway technology. World Bank Vice President for South Asia Martin Raiser said China’s rail technology would bring urban development, tourism and regional economic growth.
Take the China-Laos Railway, a landmark Belt and Road project. Since operations began in December 2021, landlocked Laos has become a land-linked hub in Southeast Asia. The railway’s Lao section has created more than 110,000 local jobs.
Through multilateral mechanisms such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, China’s sci-tech achievements have delivered new options in 5G communications, biomedicine and numerous realms, while also providing growth momentum.
China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) is another example of Chinese products, technology and services that have been utilized in more than 120 countries and regions.
China has set up overseas BDS application and industrialization promotion centers, and strives to build solid foundations for the satellite navigation industry, according to the white paper titled “China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System in the New Era”, which was published in November 2022.
China is strengthening cooperation with regional organizations such as ASEAN, the African Union, the League of Arab States, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, and releasing BDS-based solutions in the fields of smart cities, public security, precision agriculture, digital transport, and disaster prevention and mitigation, which are being piloted in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, according to the white paper.