China’s National Bureau of Statistics has released preliminary data about the nation’s spending on research and development. The spending hit a record high of 2.4% of the gross domestic product in 2020.
China’s spending on R&D has seen rapid growth during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020). 2020’s total expenditure on R&D rose 10.3% from 2019 to 2.44 trillion yuan ($377.8 billion), the bureau said in a release Sunday. Even with the record-high spending, this year’s growth is the slowest incremental growth in five years and down from 12.5% in 2019.
During the Five-Year Plan period of 2016-2020, spending on basic research achieved an overall growth rate of 16.9 percent, announced Minister of Science and Technology, Wang Zhigang. The R&D expenditure data released are subject to revisions, with the final tally of 2020 expected later this year.
According to a report by Xinhua news agency, the contribution rate of scientific and technological progress is projected to reach 60 percent in 2020, and the proportion of the scientifically literate Chinese population has surpassed 10 percent.
World Intellectual Property Organisation released the Global Innovation Index, in which China went from 29th in 2015 to 14th in 2020, Wang added.
National People’s Congress that kicks off this week will see China’s top leadership detail additional measures to support self-reliance in technology and innovation. Also at the annual gathering, the ruling Communist Party will announce economic and other policy targets for this year, the next five years, and through the year 2035.
Asia’s biggest economy is seeing a push for technology self-sufficiency as U.S. policies seek to contain its continued rise. China has pledged to accelerate the development of technologies critical to the next economic development stage, such as 5G technologies and semiconductor manufacturing.