China Daily (Canada) - - ANALYSIS -

peo­ple are in­volved in R&D

in China mil­lion in the sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy sec­tor and 5.35 mil­lion are in­volved in R&D.

Over the past five years, 1.1 mil­lion Chi­nese grad­u­ates ed­u­cated over­seas have re­turned to China — three times the num­ber be­tween 1980 and 2010.

Also, Chi­nese com­pa­nies are in­creas­ingly buy­ing Euro­pean com­pa­nies for their R&D strengths, the lat­est ex­am­ple be­ing ChemChina’s ac­qui­si­tion of the Ger­man in­dus­trial ma­chin­ery maker KraussMaf­fei Group for $1 bil­lion on Jan 11.

From an av­er­age of $1 bil­lion a year from 2004 to 2008, Chi­nese in­vest­ment in Europe surged to $18 bil­lion in 2014.

Chi­nese com­pa­nies have be­come ac­tive in buy­ing Euro­pean busi­nesses since 2008-09 fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

Den­nis Pam­lin, founder of 21st Cen­tury Fron­tiers in Swe­den, a con­sul­tancy that has long tracked the de­vel­op­ment of China and In­dia and how they fare in in­no­va­tion com­pared with Euro­pean pow­ers, said: “It is clear that a new gen­er­a­tion of en­trepreneurs in China has the con­fi­dence to pro­vide world-class in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy (ICT) so­lu­tions.”

Pam­lin said that the im­pact of role mod­els such as Alibaba founder Jack Ma can­not be un­der­es­ti­mated.

“So China is ex­pected to en­cour­age the link be­tween high-tech re­search, ICT im­ple­men­ta­tion, trans­for­ma­tive so­lu­tions and sus­tain­able ur­ban de­vel­op­ment, in­clud­ing in the next five-year plan,” said Pam­lin.

Niels B. Christiansen, CEO of Dan­foss in Den­mark, a global busi­ness that of­fers heat­ing and cool­ing so­lu­tions for in­dus­trial and res­i­den­tial pur­poses, said China needs a new ap­proach to shift its growth model to a higher level by fo­cus­ing more on in­no­va­tion.

“In my opin­ion, go­ing smarter, greener and more global will be some of the key com­po­nents for China to suc­ceed in this grand strat­egy for tran­si­tion.”

Li Yan, CEO of Bei­jing Weipass Panorama In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Co Ltd, which of­fers pay­ment and trans­fer so­lu­tions, said one ad­van­tage China has over other coun­tries is the largest num­ber of in­dus­trial clus­ters of high tech elec­tronic de­vice man­u­fac­tur­ing, which al­lows high lev­els of skill in­te­gra­tion.

“For ex­am­ple, you can find all kinds of com­po­nents and ma­te­ri­als very eas­ily in Shen­zhen, Guangzhou prov­ince, and lots of well-trained pro­fes­sional work­ers. That is why tech gi­ants such as Ap­ple make China their man­u­fac­tur­ing base,” Li said.

“That is not just an ad­van­tage of cheap la­bor, but the in­dus­trial clus­ters formed over th­ese decades.”

China has 146 na­tional high­tech parks and 2,500 hatching zones, in which about 100,000 com­pa­nies are in high-tech busi­nesses.

Li also said many new Chi­nese hi-tech com­pa­nies have their own tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tion and unique busi­ness mod­els.

Pam­lin of 21st Cen­tury Fron­tiers said China has built key ICT in­fra­struc­ture and al­lowed use of smart high-tech so­lu­tions in a way that makes a rapid tran­si­tion to a smart so­ci­ety pos­si­ble.

It has also en­cour­aged the new gen­er­a­tion to use new tech­nol­ogy in ways that sup­port the tran­si­tion to more sus­tain­able life­styles.

“Now the chal­lenge is, as it is all over the world, more on the or­ga­ni­za­tional and cul­tural side,” said Pam­lin.

He also said the use of de­ma­te­ri­al­ized so­lu­tions, more tele­work­ing, co-shar­ing, in­vest­ments in smart build­ings that are net pro­duc­ers of re­new­able en­ergy and a fo­cus on non-ma­te­rial goods among the richer parts of so­ci­ety will re­quire new role mod­els as well as new pol­icy frame­works.

“It is im­por­tant to re­view cur­rent struc­tures and in­cen­tives for busi­ness, but maybe more im­por­tant to ques­tion cur­rent im­ages of a suc­cess­ful life and see how sus­tain­able life­styles can drive in­no­va­tion and al­low 9 bil­lion peo­ple to live a good life.”

Pam­lin warned that the ma­jor ob­sta­cle for China is to avoid only fol­low­ing best prac­tices from the West and be­gin to ex­plore “next prac­tice”, so­lu­tions that no one else has im­ple­mented.

Gao Shuang in Brus­sels con­trib­uted to this story.

Con­tact the writer at fu­jing@chi­

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