Chinese president Xi seeks innovation independence

‘Self-innovation is the only way for us to climb the world's technological peaks’

Chinese president Xi Jinping has given a major speech on the country’s science and technology agenda, and signalled that China will innovate for itself rather than source technology from the rest of the world.

Xi’s speech to the 19th Academician Meeting of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the 14th Academician Meeting of the Chinese Academy of Engineering saw the president say “To achieve the great goal of building a socialist modernized nation and realize the Chinese dream of a great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, we must have strong scientific and technological strength and innovation capabilities.”

But not many paragraphs later he criticised the current state of Chinese innovation, saying “enterprises do not pay enough attention to basic research, major original results are lacking, the underlying basic technology, basic process capability is insufficient” and naming “high-end chips, basic hardware and software, development platform, basic algorithms” as areas in which China lacks local capacity.

He also criticised links between research and industry, and links between innovation policy and economic policy.

Xi went on to say that “If China is to flourish and rejuvenate, it must vigorously develop science and technology and strive to become the world's major scientific center and innovative highland.”

“Self-reliance is the basis for the struggle of the Chinese nation to stand on its own footing in the world,” he added.

Xi’s keen on China improving its own technology because he believes “The world is entering a period of economic development led by the information industry. We must grasp the opportunities for the development of digital, networked, and intelligent integration and use information and intelligence as levers to cultivate new momentum.”

He then articulated some of the goals of China’s Internet Plus policy, that aims to “promote the deep integration of the Internet, big data, and artificial intelligence with the real economy to make the digital economy bigger and stronger.”

Doing so, Xi said, will evolve and protect China’s manufacturing industries even as the nation’s economy moves more towards services.

Xi’s speech has already been published as a book, a sign that the president-for-life’s utterances should be considered policy and guiding principle, rather than just stirring words at a big event. The president’s calls “to strengthen the national strategic scientific and technological forces and enhance the overall effectiveness of the national innovation system” will therefore be taken very seriously. Xi also called for more science to flow from China’s military to civilians.

He also signalled private enterprise must have a role in those changes, quoting Engels and calling for businesses to do more research and expressing a desire for China to foster “a group of innovative leading companies with outstanding core technological capabilities and integrated innovation capabilities.”

Xi’s remarks are fascinating because in recent years China has only permitted western technology companies access to its markets through local partners, while fostering giant local concerns like Huawei, Tencent and Alibaba. Chinese firms have also become some of the biggest contributors to open source projects: The Register has heard OpenStack referred to half-jokingly as ChinaStack. Whether building on tech derived from foreign innovation is true to Xi’s plans is not clear. It is, however, utterly apparent that China wants to grow more of its own tech and to reap the rewards of that with a stronger economy and society. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Other stories you might like

  • DuckDuckGo tries to explain why its browsers won't block some Microsoft web trackers
    Meanwhile, Tails 5.0 users told to stop what they're doing over Firefox flaw

    DuckDuckGo promises privacy to users of its Android, iOS browsers, and macOS browsers – yet it allows certain data to flow from third-party websites to Microsoft-owned services.

    Security researcher Zach Edwards recently conducted an audit of DuckDuckGo's mobile browsers and found that, contrary to expectations, they do not block Meta's Workplace domain, for example, from sending information to Microsoft's Bing and LinkedIn domains.

    Specifically, DuckDuckGo's software didn't stop Microsoft's trackers on the Workplace page from blabbing information about the user to Bing and LinkedIn for tailored advertising purposes. Other trackers, such as Google's, are blocked.

    Continue reading
  • Despite 'key' partnership with AWS, Meta taps up Microsoft Azure for AI work
    Someone got Zuck'd

    Meta’s AI business unit set up shop in Microsoft Azure this week and announced a strategic partnership it says will advance PyTorch development on the public cloud.

    The deal [PDF] will see Mark Zuckerberg’s umbrella company deploy machine-learning workloads on thousands of Nvidia GPUs running in Azure. While a win for Microsoft, the partnership calls in to question just how strong Meta’s commitment to Amazon Web Services (AWS) really is.

    Back in those long-gone days of December, Meta named AWS as its “key long-term strategic cloud provider." As part of that, Meta promised that if it bought any companies that used AWS, it would continue to support their use of Amazon's cloud, rather than force them off into its own private datacenters. The pact also included a vow to expand Meta’s consumption of Amazon’s cloud-based compute, storage, database, and security services.

    Continue reading
  • Atos pushes out HPC cloud services based on Nimbix tech
    Moore's Law got you down? Throw everything at the problem! Quantum, AI, cloud...

    IT services biz Atos has introduced a suite of cloud-based high-performance computing (HPC) services, based around technology gained from its purchase of cloud provider Nimbix last year.

    The Nimbix Supercomputing Suite is described by Atos as a set of flexible and secure HPC solutions available as a service. It includes access to HPC, AI, and quantum computing resources, according to the services company.

    In addition to the existing Nimbix HPC products, the updated portfolio includes a new federated supercomputing-as-a-service platform and a dedicated bare-metal service based on Atos BullSequana supercomputer hardware.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022