Technology

China ramps up tech commitment in 5-year plan, eyes 7% boost in R&D spend

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 5, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

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SHANGHAI, March 5 (Reuters) - China will increase its annual research and development spending by more than 7% every year over the next five years, the government wrote on Friday in its work report from the Fourth Session of the 13th National People's Congress.

The government will increase expenditure on basic research by 10.6% in 2021, the report added.

The ramp-up highlights the country's commitment to advancing in the tech sector, as the country increasingly clashes with the United States and other countries over technology policy.

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In its five-year plan, China highlighted seven key areas related to technology it aims to boost: next-generation artificial intelligence, quantum information, brain science, semiconductors, genetic research and biotechnology, clinical medicine and health, and deep space, deep sea and polar exploration.

The government also said it would establish more national laboratories to research quantum information and artificial intelligence.

Other aims include encouraging companies to open up data in areas ranging from search, e-commerce to social media and support the third-party big data services.

Moreover, it wants to improve its channels for domestic companies going public, and enhance the "hard technology" characteristics of the STAR board, a recently launched stock market.

The government also said it would support foreign-funded companies to set up R&D centers in China, and called for China to establish international science and technology-related organizations within the country.

Other areas it called on supporting included the electric vehicle sector, and 5G networks. The government aims to achieve 5G penetration of 56% in the next five years, according to the plan.

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Reporting by Josh Horwitz in Shanghai and Yingzhi Yang and Yilei Sun in Beijing; Editing by Sam Holmes

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