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October 24, 2009

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Innovation takes center stage in city-based forum

A GOVERNMENT initiative will be formally launched today to encourage innovation at all levels of society and to push more favorable policies to achieve the goal.

Tax breaks for medium and small scientific enterprises to attract and cultivate talent are part of the equation.

University education to encourage the younger generation to enter a scientific career was also high on the agenda, said Xu Guanhua, a former Science and Technology Minister and founder and chairman of the Pujiang Innovation Forum.

"Chinese are somewhat conservative about new things due to our culture," Xu said.

"But innovation is the engine of industrial development, not a slogan."

Though the world is in the process of globalization and China can buy advanced technology from Western countries, the cost is in many instances beyond China, according to officials.

Thus much technology is monopolized by countries where the patents are held.

"The distance between China and developed countries is just the gap in technical capability and the gap in key competitive power," said Mei Yonghong, from the Ministry of Science and Technology, which jointly set up the forum with the Shanghai municipal government."

Mei said the forum's major theme was: a new pattern of global competition.

Four accompanying themes are: innovation in small and medium enterprises; globalization of research and development and its influence; studying typical experiences in technological breakthroughs in industries of newly rising industrialized countries; and boosting development through innovation.

"China is facing a vital problem of how to maximize the full innovation power of medium and small enterprises as they constitute 99 percent of enterprises," he said.

Xu said colleges and universities should focus more on talent cultivation instead of being busy of making money through scientific projects as universities knew little about market demands.

He was critical of the present education system in not giving students enough time to both fail, try again, and succeed in projects.


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