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Favourable Economic and Legal Environment for Innovation in China

Dr. SHANG Yong

Vice Minister of Science and Technology, China

The Chinese government is committed to fostering market-oriented innovation and mobilizing various kinds of enterprises as major players in innovative activities.  Crucial measures taken by the Chinese government to promote and protect innovation include building a comprehensive legal system and nurturing a sound policy environment, which are attributed to the government’s major responsibility.

In term of legislation, China has set up a preliminary legal system that promotes and protects innovation, particularly in the following aspects:

Firstly, laws concerned with promoting advancement in science and technology (S&T) as well as the commercialization of R&D achievements.  Based onthe Law of the PRC on Science and Technology Progress,China has promulgated other special S&T laws, such as the Law of the PRC on Promoting the Transformation of Scientific and Technological Achievements and the Law of the PRC on Popularization of Science and Technology.  Besides, the previous Law of Technology Contracthas been integrated into the Contract Law of the PRC.   These laws have explicitly defined the position of innovation in socio-economic development and legally specified how to encourage innovation, accelerate technology transfer and commercialization of R&D achievements, promote S&T popularization, as well as to protect the rights and interests of innovators.

Secondly, laws and regulations concerning enterprise innovation. For instance, the Contract Law has specialized a Chapter to elaborate on rights, obligations of contracting parties and their liabilities for the breach of the contract.  In addition, the Chapter on Technology Innovation of the Law of the PRC on the Promotion of Small and Medium–sized Enterprises stipulates the supporting measures of governments at all levels for SMEs’ technology innovation and for organizations providing S&T services, such as Productivity Promotion Centers.  Besides, incentive measures for enterprises innovations are also identified in the Property Law, the Corporate Income Tax Law,and the Partnership Enterprises Law of PRC.

Thirdly, laws and regulations regarding IPR protection.  Over the past two decades, China has issued the Patent Law, the Trademark Law, the Copyright Law, Regulations for the Protection of Computer Software, and Regulations for the Protection of Layout-design of Integrated Circuits as well as other implementing regulations and legal interpretation on IPR protection.  Theses laws and regulations, in accordance with internationally practices, have constituted a fairly complete legal and regulatory system for IPR protection.  The vigorous efforts made and the progress we achieved is unprecedented in the history of IPR protection in the world.  As a result, a “two-wheel” IPR protection mode of both administrative and judicial protection has taken shape to ensure the effective implementation of existing laws and regulations.

Besides the favorable legal environment, the Chinese government has also formulated economic and S&T policies to encourage innovation.  Last year, the State Council issued 60 Supporting Policies for Innovation, covering innovation-related taxation, financial input, and other financial issues, etc.  The government accentuates the financial input increase to innovation, in particular through policy incentives.  By treating all kinds of enterprises equally, it gives the market a fully play.  Meanwhile, necessary policy supports are also available for various non-state-run high-tech enterprises established by researchers and technicians.  For example, polices of stimulating venture capitals and nurturing intermediary agencies shape a necessary policy environment for SMEs’ development.  Currently, there are over 150,000 non-state-run high-tech enterprises of various ownerships in China with more than 1.8 million staff.  As representatives of non-state-run high-tech enterprises, Huawei, Lenovo, and ZTE, with rapid growth, have started from scratch to be MNCs of great influence.