China seeks to lower dependence on foreign technology - analyst

05 October 2010 23:41  [Source: ICIS news]

MONTREUX, Switzerland (ICIS)--China plans to boost its own research and development (R&D) programmes in science and technology, reducing its dependence on foreign technology, an industry analyst said on Tuesday.

“We still look at China as a country of manufacturing/labor and not much of innovation. [But] China is now number one in patent applications worldwide, while shares of foreign patent filers have been decreasing,” said Max von Zedtwidtz, professor at Tongji University in China.

Zedtwidt spoke at the World Detergents Conference in Montreux, Switzerland, which ends on Thursday.

China plans to increase its R&D budget to 2.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020. That would be up from just 1.4% of China’s $4.4 trillion GDP in 2008, said Zedtwidt.

He added that in 2008, the US R&D budget was 2.8% of its GDP, and Europe’s R&D budget was 1.8% of GDP.

More than 50% of current Chinese college students are in the science, engineering and pharmaceutical and agronomy fields, Zendwidt said. About 36% of Chinese students take up engineering.

In Beijing-based Tsinghua University, which is considered the top science university in China, 50% of graduates pursue doctorate degrees in the US.

“It is more difficult to get into Tsinghua University than Harvard or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,” Zendtwidt added.

Foreign companies are also increasingly setting up research centers in China, he noted. There are currently more than 1,200 R&D centers now set up in the region, he said.

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By: Doris de Guzman
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