Patcay.com – China, along with its major corporations, is making substantial investments in research and development to pioneer cutting-edge technologies. The goal is not only to integrate innovation into economic growth but also to establish a global competitive advantage. In 2022, China allocated 3.08 trillion yuan ($420.9 billion) for R&D, a 10.1 percent increase from the previous year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The future promises even more significant investments in this direction.
Enterprises contributed significantly to R&D spending, reaching 2.39 trillion yuan in 2022, marking an 11 percent year-on-year increase. These enterprises accounted for 84 percent of the country’s R&D growth, a 4.6 percentage point increase from the previous year.
Deng Zigang, a researcher at Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu, Sichuan province, embodies China’s recent commitment to R&D. Five years ago, Deng embarked on the ambitious project of developing a vacuum-tube maglev. At the outset, he aimed for a 45-meter loop and a top speed of 50 kilometers per hour. Some experts were skeptical, dismissing his research as “a toy” rather than a viable transportation option.
Despite the discouragement, Deng persevered in pursuit of his dream. He continued his research without much recognition. Ultimately, his dedication to pioneering technologies paid off. He received the Xplorer Prize co-initiated by Ma Huateng, Tencent Chairman and CEO, and founder of the Tencent Foundation, along with several renowned scientists.
Launched in 2019, the Xplorer Prize encourages young scientists to focus on basic research and R&D in cutting-edge technologies. This recognition empowered Deng and his research team, boosting their confidence and motivation. His specialized area of research has now become a key focus, both in China and internationally.
Over the past five years, Deng and his team have developed a high-speed maglev experimental loop in China, continuously improving the project. Theirs is the world’s first high-temperature superconductor vehicle test platform, capable of reaching speeds of up to 620 kilometers per hour. This promises a new generation of transportation technology with potential global benefits, an area where multiple countries and regions are striving for breakthroughs.
During the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), China plans to increase its R&D budget by more than 7 percent annually. Consultancy McKinsey & Co predicts that this growth target will make China the largest global spender on R&D.
In 2022, China’s R&D expenditure accounted for 2.54 percent of GDP, an increase of 0.11 percentage points from the previous year. However, this figure still places China 13th globally, trailing behind some developed economies like the United States.
To address this, experts argue that China needs to invest more in basic R&D to break free from the grip of developed countries on key technologies. Increasing investment in basic research is crucial, as it has a high degree of uncertainty and requires experimentation and trial and error.
Encouraging R&D and supporting young research professionals, Ma Huateng and a group of renowned scientists initiated the Xplorer Prize, which covers various fields, including mathematics, physics, chemistry, new materials, astronomy, geoscience, advanced manufacturing, and other frontier technology areas. Each prize winner receives 3 million yuan over five years, a significant award for scientific research in China.
China’s top leadership has also emphasized the importance of increasing financial investment in basic research and encouraging enterprises to invest in R&D through various means, such as tax incentives and establishing scientific funds.
Several major tech companies in China, including Huawei Technologies Co, Baidu Inc, and iFlytek, are increasing their investments in R&D, laying a strong foundation for advancements in core technologies across key sectors. Initiatives like the Damo Academy Youth Orange Award by Alibaba Group aim to incentivize young researchers to pursue innovations in various fields.
In conclusion, China is poised to become the world’s largest investor in research and development, with a strong focus on basic research and breakthrough technologies. These efforts are not only strengthening China’s position in the global arena but also encouraging innovation and providing opportunities for young scientists to make significant contributions to the field.