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China Keen For Tech Innovation to Drive Economic Growth

China will make tech innovation a focus of economic growth and aims to help drive a global economic recovery this year, Zhao Leji said at the Boao Forum for Asia

Top lawmaker Zhao Leji, centre at top panel, gave a keynote address at the 2024 Boao Forum in China on Wednesday. Image: Xinhua.


China wants to make tech innovation a key facet of economic growth, one of the country’s top lawmakers said at a key economic summit on Thursday.

The country is also aiming to be a driving force for the world economic recovery this year, top legislator Zhao Leji said at the opening of the annual Boao Forum for Asia.

Zhao said the country would open its markets wider to foreign investors and promoting high quality growth.


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Zhao Leji (Wikipedia pic).

China will make tech innovation a new point of economic growth and is willing to collaborate with other countries on it, Zhao, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, said.

China’s import and export of goods is expected to exceed $32 trillion in the next five years, Zhao said.

Recent economic indicators have shown the world’s second-biggest economy made a bright start to the year, offering some relief to policymakers as they try to shore up growth amid weakness in the property sector and mounting local government debt.

Zhao also promised greater openness in the country’s markets for foreign investors, with a further reduction of the “negative list” of sectors prohibited or restricted for investment from foreign companies without special approval.

China has been on a huge spending spree, ploughing billions into its semiconductor sector, while rushing to stock up on vital microchip equipment in a bid to beat US tech sanctions.

Official data showed China imported $10.6 billion worth of semiconductor equipment in the last three months of 2023, analysts from Barclays said.


FDI down in first two months

Some foreign businesses may be sceptical about talk of “opening up”, given Beijing’s actions in recent years – passing a new anti-espionage bill and raiding foreign consultancies.

Indeed, many foreign entities have been looking to “de-risk” supply chains and operations away from China.

Inbound foreign direct investment shrank nearly 20% in the first two months of the year, data released last week showed.

Earlier in March, Beijing announced a series of policies to prop up economic growth and a growth target of around 5% for 2024, which Zhao said conveyed confidence the country’s economy continuing to rebound and improve in the long term.

China opposed trade protection and decoupling, Zhao said.


  • Reuters with additional input and editing by Jim Pollard



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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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