China

China Spending on Research and Development to Rise 7% Per Year in Push for Major Tech Breakthroughs

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  • China's research and development spending will increase by more than 7% per year between 2021 and 2025, Premier Li Keqiang said.
  • R&D will account for a higher percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) than in the previous 5 years.
  • China is going to focus on developing a number of technology areas including semiconductors, health care, quantum computing and cloud computing, according to a draft of its five-year plan.

GUANGZHOU, China — China will increase its spending on research and development over the next five years in a push to make "major breakthroughs" in technology, Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday.

The comments came during a speech at China's annual parliamentary "Two Sessions" meeting as Beijing lays out its priorities for the coming years.

Tensions between the U.S. and China over the past few years have spilled over into the technology space hitting China's biggest companies like Huawei and hurting critical industries like semiconductors.

China has tried to focus on boosting its domestic capabilities in a number of technological areas.

Li said China's research and development spending will increase by more than 7% per year between 2021 and 2025. R&D will account for a higher percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) than in the previous 5 years. He did not give details on how much the government would spend in absolute terms.

China's spending on R&D climbed 10.3% to 2.44 trillion Chinese yuan ($378 billion) and accounted for 2.4% of GDP in 2020, according to official statistics.

Meanwhile, central government expenditures on basic research will increase by 10.6%, Li said.

The Two Sessions this year marks the start of China's 14th five-year development plan which lays out priorities and goals over the coming years. The current plan runs from 2021 to 2025.

In the past, the annual gathering of delegates has overseen major changes including President Xi Jinping's abolition of term limits in 2018.

In his report, Li laid out China's vision for the next five years.

"To improve China's innovation system, we will work faster to enhance our strategic scientific and technological capability underpinned by the development of national laboratories, strive to make major breakthroughs in core technologies in key fields, and formulate and implement a ten-year action plan for basic research," he said.

China is going to focus on developing a number of technology areas including semiconductors, health care, quantum computing and cloud computing, according to a draft of its five-year plan.

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