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Science and Technology

China ABC -- Science and Technology

1. China's Science and Technology Management System

National Steering Group on Science, Technology and Education was found in 1998 with Premier Zhu Rongji being its Group leader. Major terms of reference of the Group are: study and review national development strategy and major policies of science, technology and education; discuss and review significant S&T and education tasks and programs; coordinate important relationships related to science, technology and education between different governmental departments and between central government and local governments.

Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), is a central government agency under the State Council and it is responsible for the nation''s science and technology activities.

Departments of Science and Technology of various ministries and administrative agencies are responsible for its science and technology activities. 

Science and Technology Departments or Bureaus in the local governments are responsible for its science and technology activities. 

There are six main R&D resources in China:

  • Chinese Academy of  Sciences

  •  R&D institutions under the various ministries and administrative agencies

  • Industrial enterprises

  • Universities and colleges

  • Local R&D institutions

  •  R&D institutions affiliated to defense

2. Science and Technology Indicators (not including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) 

  •  National S&T financing indicators (1995-1999)

National S&T financing (100 million Yuan) 962.51043.21181.91289.81460.6
National S&T expenditure (100 million Yuan)846.9933.01065.21128.51284.9
Govt. S&T appropriation (100 million Yuan)302.4348.6408.9438.6544.9
As percentage of total govt. expenditure
GERD* (100 million Yuan)348.7404.5509.2551.1678.9
As percentage of GDP

GERD*: Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D

As shown by Statistical Bulletin on Investment in S&T in 1999, the China''s S&T budget had witnessed a steady growth in the gradually deepened course of S&T system reform. The financial input from the central authorities in S&T activities has been further enhanced with increased enterprises'' awareness of investment in R&D of new products. Compared with previous year, however, the growth rate of S&T input at local governmental level has dropped and the increase of R&D expenditures was slowed down.

In 1998 S&T budget collected in the nation has reached RMB 128.98 billion, RMB 10.79 billion (9.1%) more than that of previous year; per capita S&T budget in the nation went up by RMB 7.7 Yuan than previous year at RMB 103.3 Yuan. In view of financial sources, the growth rate of funds collected by implementing bodies went faster with a proportion of 50.8% of the total budget collected, 6.2% more than previous year; the proportion of governmental financial support and bank loans were 27.4% and 13.3% of the total respectively, about the same with that of previous year. As shown by preliminary statistics, S&T investment by the national financial has reached RMB 46.65 billion, RMB 5.76 billion (14.1%) up than previous year; the said S&T investment is proportioned 4.3% of the total national financial expenditures, basically at the same level of previous year. S&T investment from central authority sources has seen a faster growth with 10.2% in the total central financial expenditures; S&T investment by local authorities has been slowed down with a proportion of 1.9% in the local total. 

The total expenditure of S&T funds in the whole year amounted to RMB 112.85 billion in 1998, RMB 6.33 billion (5.9%) more than previous year. Calculated by the number of personnel engaged in the S&T activities, per capita S&T fund expenditure reached RMB 44000, RMB 4000 more than previous year. The S&T expenditures from implementing bodies such as enterprises, R&D institutions and higher learning institutions reached RMB 53.23 billion, 48.49 billion, 7.32 billion respectively with corresponding growth rates at 8.2%, 2.7% and 16.1%. Their corresponding proportion in the total S&T expenditure were 47.2%, 43% and 6.5% respectively. Being one of the main bodies of S&T investment, large and medium industrial enterprises have maintained a steady growth of their S&T budget with the total amounting to RMB 47.87 billion in the year, RMB 4.03 billion (9.2%) up than previous year.

The total expenditure in R&D development of the whole year were RMB 55.11 billion in 1998, RMB 4.19 billion (8.2%) up than previous year with a proportion of 0.69% in the nation''s GDP, a bit higher than that of previous year. Per capita R&D budget calculated on personnel engaged in R&D activities were RMB 73000 Yuan, RMB 12000 Yuan more than previous year. In terms of classified research types, the budget for basic research grew slowly with a decrease for applied research against previous year and an increase for experimental development.

  • National S&T personnel indicators (1995-1999)

Personnel engaged in S&T activities (thousand)2624.72903.22885.72814.52905.6

    Scientists and Engineers (thousand)

    R&D personnel (FTE* in 1000)751.7804.0831.2855.2821.7

    Scientists and Engineers (FTE in 1000)


    S/E** engaged in R&D per 10000 labor force

FTE*: Full-time Equivalent
S/E**: Scientists and Engineers

  • National S&T output indicators (1995-1999)

Number of patent applications (case)83045102735114208121989134239
S&T papers catalogued by SCI?ISTP and EI*2639527569353113500346188
Exports of high-tech products (US$100 million)100.9126.6163.1202.5247.0

As percentage of total exports

* SCI-Science Citation Index, ISTP-Index to Scientific and Technical Proceedings, EI-Engineering Index

The survey results on Chinese S&T papers published and quoted both domestically and internationally (not including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) in 1999 were publicized. Results have shown that in 1999 China had witnessed its 46188 S&T papers published internationally, 3.27% of the total Chinese papers published (1421520). As a result, China jumps to the 8th place after US, Japan, UK, Germany, France, Canada and Italy. 

The number of Chinese S&T papers quoted internationally has gone up from 9952 to 11549 papers and times quoted from 18434 to 21511 times. The said statistics on papers published internationally came out of three renowned international retrieval indicators, SCI, EI and ISTP, and domestic papers from 1286 national major S&T journals published in 1998.

In 1998 Chinese S&T personnel published 161692 papers in domestic journals, 21.26% up than that of previoust year. The areas enjoying most papers published are Beijing, Shanghai and Jiangsu, the universities are Nanjing University, Beijing University and China S&T University.

The annually increased Chinese S&T papers published and upgraded position have reflected the bumper harvest of basic studies in the nation. Journals collected by SCI has gone up from 9 to 11 with the ones collected by EI reaching as many as 90. The development has not only shown the increasing number of papers published but also more attention attached to by major international retrieval systems.

  • National R&D indicators in 2000

    The total expenditure on R&D in 2000 reached RMB 89.6 billion, 17.9% more than that of previous year. With a proportion of 1.0% in the nation''s GDP, the total expenditure on basic research, applied research and development were RMB 4.67 billion (5.2%), 15.21 billion (17.0%) and 69.72 billion (77.8%) respectively. It''s noted that the basic research expenditure got an increase of RMB 1.22 billion or a growth of 35.3%.

The S&T expenditures from implementing bodies such as state-owned R&D institutions, universities and enterprises reached RMB 25.82 billion, 7.66 billion and 54.06 billion respectively with corresponding growth rates at 8.3%, 20.9% and 23.9%. Their corresponding proportion in the total S&T expenditure was 28.8%, 8.6% and 60.3% respectively.

Statistics also indicated that the financial support on different industries had been increased with various growth rates. The total funding on R&D for agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery amounted to RMB 0.77 billion, which is about 0.9% of the total R&D funding. Other industries including light & heavy industry, architecture, geological exploration and water conservancy, transportation and telecommunication, computer application service, health care, education, S&T activities, and comprehensive service systems were financed respectively with amount of RMB 49.0 billion (54.7%), 0.53 billion (0.6%), 0.5 billion (0.6%), 0.97 billion (1.0%), 1.4 billion (1.6%), 1.2 billion (1.3%), 7.36 billion (8.2%), 25.82 billion (28.8%), and 2.05 billion (2.3%).

  • Mmajor indicators of the year 2000

1. GDP: RMB 8.9404 trillion, 8.0% more than 1999

2. Hi-Tech international trade: Trade volume reached US$ 89.55 billion (43.7% up than last year), in which export occupied US$ 37.043 billion with an increase of 50%.

3. In the fiscal year 2000 the financial allocation on S&T was RMB 57.56 billion, a proportion of 3.6% of the total fiscal expenditure. Among the three special project funds for S&T were RMB 27.72 billion (48.2%), S&T operating expenses was RMB 18.9 billion (32.8%), the expenditure on infrastructure and others was RMB 10.94 billion (19.0%). It should be noted that the funding on S&T from local governments were increasing fast, which was RMB 22.6 billion with a proportion of 2.1% of total fiscal expenditure. The funding on S&T from central government was RMB 34.96 billion, or 6.3% of the total fiscal expenditure.

Reforms of the R&D Management System

A major S&T reform plan was approved by China''s State Council for the implementation. According to this reform plan, 242 research institutions subordinated to 10 governmental agencies under the jurisdiction of National Economy and Trade Commission, in accordance with detailed requirements of industrialization while taking into account their own conditions, shall select their own reform approaches including spinning off into S&T related enterprises, being wholly or partially merged into enterprises or becoming technical service and intermediary firms. A limited number of research institutions who are approved to maintain their existing structures shall also introduce the operational mechanism of S&T enterprises. Research institutions who are required to restructure will work upon the new mechanism starting from July 1st, 1999.

As required by senior officials of State Council, heads of these 242 institutions attended a discussion meeting jointly held by Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and State Economy and Trade Commission. The major purpose of the meeting is to promote the smooth restructuring of these institutions and accelerate their industrialization.

To ensure the smooth restructuring, a number of favorable policies have been worked out in addition to detailed implementation plan. After restructuring, state budget will be made available as before so as to address social security issues such as pension of retired employees. Starting from 1999, the restructured institutions will enjoy exemption of industrial income tax, business tax for technology transfer and land use tax for structural development on their own land in a period of five years. They are also allowed to enjoy import and export rights for their own manufactured goods and state preferential treatment for S&T enterprises, national research programs or projects bidding and other rights enjoyed by similar research institutions.

On the platform of national innovation system, the technology development is intensively emphasized as an important issue in the reform. In particular the application research institutions are required to run their business like enterprises, totally in terms of market needs. There were 5014 state-owned R&D institutions above the county level, with a number of 330 thousands researchers. These applied research bodies were asked to become S&T-based enterprises or to merge with business companies by the end of 2000.

4. Major Scientific and Technology Achievements

Since the implementation of its S&T blueprint for the 9th Five-Year Plan, China has seen concentrated efforts on tackling a number of key technologies and major progress or remarkable achievements in the first three years.

It is reported that 240 projects and 3600 dedicated topics centering around agriculture, basic industries, pillar industries, high tech industries and social sustainable development were defined by the blueprint with participants of 70000 person-time and a total estimated budget of RMB 19 billion, of which RMB 5 billion comes from state appropriations. During the first three years of the 9th Five-Year Plan period, the state has allocated RMB 3.2 billion for the implementation of blueprint, 65% of the total budget expected from the state.

As shown by the mid-term projects inspection and individual major projects appraisal, 90% of the dedicated topics have reached their phased targets on time or in advance with 42% of them reaching international advanced level and an increasing number of projects being directly translated into products for enhanced economic benefits. According to the statistics on 98 projects, the first three years have registered an increased output value of RMB 31.33 billion, net profits of RMB 3.16 billion, paid tax of RMB 540 million and export volume of US$ 330 million.

By the end of 1998 the Torch Program launched by MOST had passed its 10-year implementation phrases with a total number of 12599 projects (state level 3536, local level 9063) approved. In 1997 the implementation of the Torch Program resulted in an output of RMB 125.6 billion, revenue of RMB 113.8 billion, profit of RMB 21.2 billion and an export income of US$ 1.77 billion. Statistics shows that by the end of 1997, the total industrial output amounted to RMB 414.7 billion with profit of RMB 72.1 billion and an export income of US$ 6.04 billion. 4548 Torch Program projects were approved on state level during 1988-1998, more than 90% of the projects were based on the technologies developed by China itself. With the support from Torch Program more hi-tech pillar industries have been enhanced a lot and are recognized as an incitant of economic development in China. As an important part of the Torch Program, 53 national hi-tech development zones have been set up since early 1990s and have been taking roles of delivering service systems for technology fostering. There''s no doubt that the hi-tech development zones have become the bases for China to develop the hi-tech industries of its own. In 1997 the number of hi-tech companies in the hi-tech development zones reached 13700 and more than 14300 new products were introduced to market, producing an income of RMB 338.8 billion, a industrial output of RMB 310.9 billion, a profit of RMB 34.99 billion and an export income of US$ 6.48 billion. These four indicators were increased within 7 years with annual growth rate of 83.1%, 88.6%, 73.1% and 81.8% respectively. The productivity in the hi-tech development zones rose as much as four times from RMB 52000 per capita per year in 1991 to 230000 RMB in 1997. The number of hi-tech enterprises with revenue of over RMB 100 million has reached 530 since 1991 when there were only 7 hi-tech companies. In addition, 47 large-scale companies have reached the revenue of more than RMB 1 billion each but no one could achieved so much in 1991. Nowadays five hi-tech development zones in Beijing, Suzhou, Hefei, Xi''an and Yantai have been issued to open to the members of APEC.


Historic Achievements Gained in China's Science and Technology

Since the Fourth Plenum of the 13th CPC Central Committee, China's science and technology undertaking has entered a new period of development under the correct guidance of the Party's third-generation leadership with Comrade Jiang Zemin at the core; by placing the development of science and technology in an unprecedented strategic height that concerns the rise or decline of the country and the life or death of the nation, the Party has scored a series of historic achievements and composed a new, glorious chapter.

Xu Guanhua, minister of science and technology, made the remarks at the Report Meeting on the Achievements Gained in China's Reform, Opening Up and Modernization Drive Since the Fourth Plenum of the 13th Party Central Committee, which was held on October 9 at the Great Hall of the People.

Over the last 13 years, China's science and technology innovative capabilities have risen by a big margin. Xu said that since the 90s, input in science and technology has kept increasing, in 2001, input in the country's R&D was 96 billion yuan, accounting for 1.0 percent of GDP, whereas in 1990, the two figures stood at 12.534 billion yuan and 0.68 percent respectively; at the same time, through implementing the 973 (March 1973) State Hi-tech Program, the 863 State Hi-tech Project, and a series of other hi-tech programs, a large number of innovative achievements have been created in many major fields. Generally, China's scientific and technological strengths have been placed in the front ranks of the developing countries.

Basic research and high and new technological studies are advancing side by side, and have achieved remarkable successes: China, as the only developing country which has taken part in the international human genome program, called the "lunar program) and has accomplished 1 percent of the procedural-surveying task with high efficiency and high quality, which has attracted the attention of the world; it has smoothly completed the frame chart of its super-class hybrid rice; the breakthrough made in key technology of the high-performance computer has given China a niche in the intensely competitive world computer field.

Xu pointed out that in the knowledge-oriented economic era, the focus of competition among various countries around the world is manifest not only in the discovery and creation of new knowledge, more importantly, it is also manifest in the conversion of research results into actual productive forces. Over the past 13 years, China's hi-tech industry, which has developed from small to big and from weak to strong, has become an important force boosting the country's national economic growth.

In the last 10 years, the output value of China's high-tech industry has grown from 300 billion yuan to 1.8 trillion yuan, with average annual growth exceeding 20 percent, surpassing the average annual growth rate of the whole industry by more than 10 percentage points in the same period, making it the most vigorous part in the development of the national economy. In the composition of the national economy, the proportion of high-tech industry has risen from 1 percent 10 years ago to 15 percent at present.

Along with the development of science and technology, the contribution made by progress of science and technology to social and economic development has been on the increase. Xu remarked that scientific and technical advancement exerts an important, supporting role in transforming the traditional industry and promoting sustainable development.

Take agriculture as an example. Over the past two decades, although China's population has increased by several hundred million, the country's annual per-capita food supply has still increased from 300 kg to 400 kg, this is attributable to the contribution made by the progress of agricultural science and technology. Over the past 10 years and more, China's agricultural new variety has been updated once every five years and it has brought about increased food production by over 10 percent each time.

Xu said the tremendous achievements gained in science and technology is closely related with China's correct and far-sighted science and technology development strategy. Over the past 13 years, China's science and technology have surged forward in close connection with the needs of national economic development and social progress. Targeted at closely linking the enhancement of innovative abilities for science and technology and the promotion of science and technology and economy, China has placed science and technology in a strategic position of priority development. Over the past 13 years, China has made historic breakthroughs in the structural reform of its science and technology which proceeded around the core issue of promoting the combination of science and technology with economy.

From 1989 to 1992, China reformed the money allocation system and expanded the technology market with commercialization of research results as the breakthrough point; between 1992 and 1998, taking "stabilizing one end, decontrolling one area" as the guideline, China carried out structural adjustment and the spinning-off surplus personnel; from 1999 up to the present, China has focused on strengthening the innovation of science and technology and promoting the industrialization of the achievements of science and technology and made fundamental change in the system of science academies and institutes.

Through creative practices over the past 10 years and more, particularly over the past three years, breakthrough progress has been made in liberating and developing science and technology as the primary productive forces, the combination of science with economy, and knowledge with capital has become closer, enterprises of a science and technology type, has emerged in large quantities, the basic role of the market has become increasingly prominent in the operation of science and technology and in the allocation of resources, the innovative enthusiasm of scientific and technological personnel has been notably enhanced.

Xu Guanhua gave an account on the achievements gained in the construction of the scientific and technological contingent, science popularization work, and international cooperation in science and technology.

Xu said in conclusion that during the 10th Five-year (2001-2005) Plan period, the Ministry of Science and Technology will strengthen cooperation with relevant departments, step up the organization and implementation of three major strategies-personnel, patent and technical standard, carry out major special projects of science and technology and strive to provide long-term reliable motive force for national economic development and social progress.

(Source: People's Daily Online)

Sponsor:Department of International Cooperation Ministry of Science and Technoplogy PRC
Maintenance:China Science & Technology Exchange Center
Technical support:Intergrated Information System Research Center Institute of Automation Chinese Academy of Science