Chinese province pledges $17bn to drive tech, innovation


China’s coastal province of Zhejiang, home to e-commerce giant Alibaba has pledged more than 17 billion dollars to drive the tech industry and innovation in the coming five years, the state news agency Xinhua reported.

The plan comes at a time when central and local governments around China are taking increasing steps to boost the struggling private sector and enhance the competitiveness of the country’s home-grown technology firms.

Media said Zhejiang’s provincial, municipal and county-level governments would spend 120 billion yuan (17.5 billion dollars) in the next five years to “boost up high-tech and internet companies as well as medical research and development”.

“We will also guide social capital and financial institutions to invest around 290 billion yuan,” the media agency quoted Gao Yingzhong, head of the provincial Science and Technology Department, as saying.

“The total investment on research and development (R&D) is expected to reach around 900 billion yuan.”

As part of the plan, the province introduced 50 measures to boost the tech sector including increasing the ratio of R&D spending in provincial GDP, cultivating leading innovators and increasing patent numbers.

Private businesses made up nearly two-thirds of the provincial economy in 2017, local statistics said.

Posted by Juliet Ekwebelam (NAN)

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