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Innovation to be China's edge in Asia

Nation's competitiveness in global industrial chains 'rapidly rising'

China's innovation-driven development stands out among all the Asian economies and can play a major role in fostering technology cooperation in several key sectors, experts said on Wednesday.

The world's second-largest economy stands out in the implementation of strategies for innovative development in Asia, said Li Baodong, secretary-general of the Boao Forum for Asia, or BFA, an international organization dedicated to promoting the development of Asia and the world.

"China has become a major global innovation promoter, which is gradually shifting focus from the quantity of innovation to the quality and influence of innovation," Li said at the launch of the Boao Forum for Asia Innovation Report 2020 on Wednesday in Beijing.

According to Li, China is a global leader in terms of patent and trademark applications, as well as the share of innovative goods exports in the total trade value, with its competitiveness in global industrial chains "rapidly rising".

The country was ranked 14th in the Global Innovation Index 2020, jointly published by Cornell University and other institutions, and was the only middle-income economy in the top 30, Li said.

Li attributed China's outstanding performance in innovation to a stable regulatory environment that supports innovation, the dynamic business network, as well as improved innovation capabilities facilitated by internationalization and globalization.

With China and other Asian economies attaching increasing strategic importance to innovation and ratcheting up investment, Asia, East Asia in particular, is becoming one of the world's most vibrant innovation hubs, said the report released on Wednesday.

The COVID-19, unilateralism and politicization of technology have brought challenges to economic development and innovation efforts in Asia. However, opportunities have also emerged from the growth of the digital economy, the report said.

Information, intelligent systems, automation and digital technologies are becoming new growth drivers of the region, it said.

The report also underlined the importance of strengthening international cooperation to advance technological progress, in order to tackle the multiple challenges facing Asia and the world.

"Dispelling the negative effect of the technological decoupling, by enhancing mutual trust and understanding in the course of cooperation with a more open and collaborative mindset, is urgently needed," the report said.

Rosa Yang, managing partner of markets and global networks of Deloitte China, said China can play a major role in strengthening regional technological cooperation and promoting common progress in digital economy development, such as in terms of online offices, education, healthcare, and entertainment.

"The shift from offline to online is nurturing great market opportunities in the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the first major economy that suffered and recovered from the pandemic, China can offer a lot of experiences and case studies for other Asian economies in this regard," Yang said.

Other key cooperation fields would include new retail and mobile payments, as China has taken the lead globally in these sectors and is capable of helping other Asian economies make more headway, Yang said.

The report also highlighted nine technologies that are the most promising and have the broadest application prospects in Asia, including artificial intelligence, 5G, industrial robots, intelligent supply chains and mobile payments.

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