onsdag 4. november 2020

China's Fifth Plenum places innovation at the center of China’s modernization

Given China’s persistent high-tech development and self-sufficiency drive, it comes as no surprise that innovation featured prominently on the CCP’s list of development priorities. However, it is the first time that a five-year plan will position science and technology independence and self-reliance (科技自立自强) as a “strategic pillar” for national development. This is a strong indicator that China’s tech and industrial policy will stay the course, even amid – or precisely because of – tensions with the US. The inclusion of other buzzwords in the high-level communiqué, such as China’s ambitions to become a manufacturing, cyber and transportation “superpower” with an advanced industrial base, further confirms that China’s leadership is going to continue pursuing its tech-driven industrial upgrading goals.

The communiqué itself did not specify technology areas that will receive priority treatment. The Central Committee’s formal proposal for the formulation of the 14th FYP - published only today – offers slightly more detail. Taken together with extensive signaling in the weeks leading up to the plenum, this indicates that key emerging technologies and ‘new infrastructure’ such as advanced semiconductors, new energy vehicles, 5G and artificial intelligence are slated for special policy support.