According to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics, China’s research and development spending has increased 10.3% in 2020 to 2.44 trillion Chinese yuan ($ 378 billion).
The agency said in a press release on Sunday that R&D expenditures seeking to develop new services or products make up 2.4% of China’s gross domestic product.
It’s a new record for China, but it’s also the slowest incremental growth in five years, down from a 12.5% increase in 2019.
The agency said that by the end of 2020, China had 522 “national key laboratories” and 350 “national technical research centers” in operation.
It added that approximately 457,000 projects were funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China last year and 3.6 million patents were granted, an increase of 40% from 2019.
Washington has imposed several policies in recent years to curb China’s rapid growth.
It blacklisted dozens of Chinese companies last year and blocked global chip deliveries to blacklisted telecom giant Huawei last year, citing concerns about national security. Huawei has repeatedly denied that its equipment contains loopholes that could be exploited by the Chinese government for espionage purposes.
As the world’s supply chains have become more unstable, China and other countries have taken steps to try to strengthen their “technological sovereignty” and become more self-reliant on essential core technologies such as 5G and semiconductor chips.
“Growing geopolitical uncertainties and the threat of global trade conflicts question the optimism of recent decades about the interdependence of our economies,” Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research said in a report last July.
China’s National People’s Congress is reportedly set to announce other new measures this week that will further boost China’s ability to innovate independently.
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