In the next five years, China wants to concentrate on advanced industries such as semiconductors, next generation chip materials, robotics, aviation equipment and satellites to build its dominance in the tech industry. This vision was put forth in its new draft five-year plan unveiled on 5 March.
The policy, called Internet Plus, also looks at including the government, healthcare and the education sector within its ambit, besides leveraging innovations in technology to boost its slowing economy. During his speech at the start of the annual full session of Parliament, Premier Li Keqiang said that "Innovation is the primary driving force for the country's development."
Under the plan, China will augment its R&D spending to 2.5% of GPD (gross domestic product) for the five-year period from 2016 to 2020, compared to 2.1% of the GDP budget for 2010-2015, reported Reuters. Some of the new areas of focus will be information technology, numerical control tools and robotics, aerospace equipment, ocean engineering equipment and high-tech ships, satellites and space exploration.
China will further increase its "Internet control capabilities" supporting a multilateral, democratic and transparent international "Internet governance system", with higher cyberspace monitoring and a network security review system. "China will strengthen the struggle against enemies in online sovereign space and increase control of online public sentiment. It will also perfect cyber security laws and legislation," said the draft policy.
With a population of over one billion, China is one of the largest markets for many international firms. It is poised to become a tech behemoth, but the Communist country has been firmly controlling the use of technology and the internet. Half of the world's top 20 most-visited sites globally are reportedly facing a permanent ban in the country including Google (and services), Facebook, Twitter and more. In February, China introduced a new rule banning the entire international media (press, radio, television, music and computer games) from posting anything online in the country without prior government approval.