2020 Targets Set by the Chinese Government

Last Monday saw the release of the latest State Council Plan which lists various targets for science and technology between now until 2020. Within this plan also included information regarding how the Chinese government will help achieve these targets.

One key area that the country expects to continue its growth is knowledge-intensive services. Last year (2015) this sector contributed to 15.6% of the country’s GDP, however, by 2020 the government aims this figure to be 20%.

The plan also encourages the introduction of international big science plans and programs. Where the hope is that the country can lead the way in advanced basic fields of science as well as discover new breakthroughs in strategic areas.

Other key target areas include the number of patent applications, in which the volume to be achieved is double the current rate by 2020. Furthermore, by 2020 the level of workers within the research and development sector should increase from the current level of 48.5 workers in every 10,000 to a level of 60 in every 10,000.

Select areas will also see further funding and resources allocated to them, while the government also seeks to cut down on red tape which harms innovation and discourages creativity.

Research and development relating to areas of national strength and security should also receive substantial funding. This includes nuclear power, medicine, lunar exploration, integrated circuit equipment, genetic modification among others.

However, it is not just in funding where the Chinese government looks to support the rapidly growing research and development sector. As mentioned earlier, reducing the level of red tape as well as creating favourable policies are planned. Specifically, the private sector will also be directly encouraged to invest further into research and development through preferential policies. Also, universities and research institutes have been identified to play a crucial part, and will be encouraged to improve their efficiency.

The dedication shown by the government stretches further than just from within China. Joint research projects between foreign and Chinese institutes are to be encouraged, with the aim of attracting foreign experts into the country for work.

Currently China is ranked 18th in the world for comprehensive innovation abilities, and one of the targets include rising up to 15th by 2020. While 15th may still be relatively low down in the rankings, Chinese authorities believe this ranking to be the signal that a country has become a globally recognised innovative country.

Recent years have already seen many technological breakthroughs for the country, including manned space flights, super computers and quantum communication.


Overall it is clear that the Chinese government has an active role to play in achieving the goals they themselves have set out. Their commitment cannot be understated, and hopefully the plans they have should play dividends in time to come. There has been a wide variety of areas set out that the government wishes to achieve, and the government clearly sees research and development crucial to driving growth within the country. The future can certainly be considered to be exciting, and many people will be waiting eagerly to see what new advancements are waiting to be discovered in the forthcoming years.

You may also enjoy reading the entry into our own trade wiki on research and development within China that can be found here.

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