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How do new quality productive forces modernize industrialization?


 , Updated 15:42, 25-Jun-2024

Editor's note: Reform and opening up policies hold the key to the destiny of contemporary China and is a crucial move that determines the success of Chinese modernization. CGTN rolls out a series of special reports to show how China is comprehensively deepening reform and opening wider to the world.

Beijing's Central Business District, China. /CFP
Beijing's Central Business District, China. /CFP

Beijing's Central Business District, China. /CFP

As China pursues modernization through high-quality development in the digital era, innovation driven by sci-tech progress has emerged as a pivotal growth engine for the nation. Technological breakthroughs have introduced new quality productive forces, revolutionizing the country's industrialization in a profound manner.

China's development of new quality productive forces not only benefits major stakeholders but also presents global opportunities. International technology cooperation can flourish alongside China's advancements in productivity.

The concept of new quality productive forces, introduced last September to advance China's high-quality development, contrasts with traditional productivity. It highlights reliance on scientific breakthroughs and technological innovations to enhance resource recycling and conservation. This optimization of resource management effectively promotes productivity development during the transition to an ecological civilization.

Traditionally, productivity has been defined as humanity's ability to conquer and transform nature. The substantial productivity gains of the Industrial Revolution, however, led to significant resource consumption and waste emissions, contributing to numerous global challenges. Therefore, it is imperative to redefine the concept of productivity to ensure human sustainability and harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature.

In the era of the digital economy, new quality productivity emerges as a form of productivity driven by advanced technologies such as digitization, networking and artificial intelligence. Scientific and technological innovation serves as its core driver, enabling deep integration of high-tech applications. This approach exhibits extensive penetration and integration.

In this context, China's deepening reform of sci-tech systems was highlighted in March, underscoring the pivotal role of innovation in achieving high-quality development and outlining a comprehensive strategy to cultivate a robust innovation ecosystem.

Key initiatives include reforming the evaluation and reward mechanisms for science and technology, as well as restructuring research project funding and management. These reforms are designed to streamline processes and incentivize groundbreaking discoveries. Ultimately, the objective is to establish a resilient scientific and technological innovation framework that promotes self-reliance and positions China as a global leader in innovation.

Workers on the production line of an automobile manufacturer in Nanchang City, east China's Jiangxi Province, April 2, 2024. /CFP
Workers on the production line of an automobile manufacturer in Nanchang City, east China's Jiangxi Province, April 2, 2024. /CFP

Workers on the production line of an automobile manufacturer in Nanchang City, east China's Jiangxi Province, April 2, 2024. /CFP

New industrialization

China's new industrialization has accelerated significantly in recent year, said the country's Minister of Industry and Information Technology Jin Zhuanglong, highlighting its comprehensive system, large number of industrial products, large industrial scale and strong network facilities.

The country has a comprehensive industrial system involving all the industrial categories listed in the UN's industry classification system, namely 41 major categories and 660 subcategories, said Jin, adding that China ranks first in the world in terms of the output for more than 40 percent of the world's 500 major industrial products.

Thanks to its large industrial scale, China's total industrial added value in 2023 was close to 40 trillion yuan (about $5.56 trillion), accounting for 31.7 percent of its GDP. The country's manufacturing industry accounts for over 30 percent of the world's total, ranking first globally for 14 consecutive years, said Jin. 

The minister further mentioned China's strong network facilities, as the country has built the world's largest and most technologically advanced communications network facilities. The number of 5G base stations in the country has reached 3.38 million, providing Gigabit network services in all cities, 5G services in all counties, and broadband services in all villages, Jin added.

"Sci-tech innovation plays a leading role in new quality productive forces, which meets the requirements of high-quality development," said Guo Guoping, chief scientist at Origin Quantum Computing Technology Co., Ltd.

"We can use quantum computing technology to achieve breakthroughs in traditional computing and applications in various industries to improve productivity, create more value and help promote economic development," said Guo, who is also a professor at the University of Science and Technology of China.

Origin Quantum's computing service covers finance, the chemical industry, biomedicine and the power industry. Its product, Origin Wukong – China's independently developed third-generation superconducting quantum computer – has received over 10 million remote visits globally, marking an important milestone in the country's quantum computing development. 

As of June 17, people from 124 countries and regions have remotely accessed Origin Wukong, which has completed nearly 236,000 quantum computing tasks globally, Guo added. 

Global growth engine

China is projected to be the world's economic champion for the next five years, with its growth bigger than all the Group of Seven (G7) countries combined, and it is sharing high-quality development experience with other countries.

China will account for about 21 percent of the world's new economic activity by 2029, compared to 20 percent from the entire G7, and almost double the nearly 12 percent for the U.S., according to the International Monetary Fund's forecast, Bloomberg reported.

In total, around 75 percent of global growth will come from 20 countries, and over half from the top four of China, India, the U.S. and Indonesia, according to Bloomberg. Over the next few years, Bloomberg Economics projects that G7 members Canada and Italy are expected to contribute less than one percent, a smaller amount than countries such as Bangladesh and Egypt, where population growth is driving much of that activity.

By fostering the emergence of high-quality productive forces and propelling high-quality economic development, China is not only creating opportunities to optimize its domestic industrial landscape but also opening doors for foreign-funded enterprises to thrive within the country. This strengthens their confidence for further investment and growth.

Data from the Ministry of Commerce underscores this trend. In the first two months of 2024, a significant year-on-year increase of 34.9 percent was observed in the number of newly established foreign-invested enterprises. Additionally, foreign investment in high-tech manufacturing witnessed a 10.1 percent year-on-year surge, reaching 28.27 billion yuan (about $4 billion).

For years, Pakistan has been engaged in cooperation with China under the Belt and Road Initiative, with Chinese companies helping in the development of Pakistan's energy and transportation sectors, said Zafar Uddin Mahmood, policy advisor to the secretary general of the Boao Forum for Asia.

"China has done considerable work in energy and transportation innovation. China pursues green, innovative and high-quality development while achieving rapid economic growth,"Mahmood added.

The National Development and Reform Commission offers dedicated support for foreign-funded enterprises investing in green, digital and healthcare projects. These include the establishment of special task teams, streamlined green channels and accelerated project implementation.

At present, Beijing is accelerating science and technology innovation and the digital economy, which provides opportunities for deepening economic and trade cooperation between China and other countries.

Park Soong Chan, head of the Northeast Asia Economic Association of Korea, emphasized the significance of "developing new quality productive forces." He explained it as achieving breakthroughs in technological innovation, production efficiency, quality improvement and other key areas.

"China's focus on stabilizing market expectations and strengthening market confidence, through favorable policies, sends positive signals for the medium- and long-term economic outlook," said Park, adding that, "This creates a promising development landscape for foreign-funded enterprises in China."

Read more: Why is deepening reform so important for China?

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