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Innovation key driver of China's future economy

Updated: 2013-09-13 20:55

DALIAN -- Innovation will be one of the major drivers of China's economy in the future as it undergoes a slowdown from previous double-digit growth, analysts said.

China is trying to shape its future via innovation, said Hans-Paul Burkner, chairman of the Boston Consulting Group, at the Summer Davos Forum, which came to a close in northeast China's coastal Dalian City on Friday.

He said no one should have any doubt about the innovation abilities of China, which is famous for its ancient four great inventions: the compass, gunpowder, paper-making and printing.

Innovation is a progressive process and there is no single model for it, according to Burkner.

The annual forum, which opened on Wednesday, was themed "Meeting the Innovation Imperative."

China's economy is witnessing a slowdown after decades of rapid growth, and is struggling to shed its past growth model, which involved high energy consumption and heavy pollution.

Thanks to its reform and opening-up policy, China maintained average annual growth of 9.98 percent over the past 30 years. The average growth rate from 2006 to 2010 was 11.2 percent, while growth slowed to 7.7 percent last year. The growth target for this year is 7.5 percent.

"We are implementing the innovation-driven development strategy at a faster pace, aggressively promoting technological innovation and deep integration of science and technology with the economy, and are building a social environment friendly to innovation and business start-up activities," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said at the opening ceremony of the seventh Annual Meeting of the New Champions.

China is on the verge of becoming an innovative country, said Mark Pagel, a Fellow of the British Royal Society.

China needs innovative products to keep its exports competitive and meet the domestic demand for growth, he said.

"Chinese enterprises should have disruptive innovations for the new market," said Henry Lin, chairman and co-founder of Beijing-based NQ Mobile Inc, a global provider of mobile Internet services such as mobile security and privacy.

"China should work to promote cooperation in intellectual property rights protection among companies and create a fair market competition environment to cultivate sustainable innovation capabilities," said Lin.

The world should view Chinese innovative companies with a more open mind, as they not only bring job opportunities, but also changes, said the entrepreneur.

"Reform and innovation provide an inexhaustible driving force for a country's development," Premier Li said.

China spent a record 1 trillion yuan (about $162.4 billion) on research and development in 2012, of which 74 percent came from companies, official data showed.

In China's booming smartphone market, domestic brands such as Lenovo, Coolpad, Huawei and ZTE have been increasingly popular. At the end of June, China's domestically-produced smartphones grabbed more than 60 percent of the market share.

Innovation means big risks and expenses. China should encourage more innovative companies to emerge with resolve and policies, according to Pagel.