BEIJING (Reuters) – China has urged big state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to play a key role in its drive to attain self-reliance in technology, raising the stakes in the race amid rifts with the United States.
With many Chinese firms and industries hit by a growing roster of export controls imposed by the United States, President Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed the need for self-reliance in technology to prune use of foreign technology.
China aims to turn some state giants into leading tech companies with global influence, the science and technology ministry said, following a meeting with the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.
State firms controlled by the central government should play the role of “pillars” in “achieving China’s high-level tech self-reliance and self-improvement,” Wang Zhigang, the minister for science and technology, was quoted as saying in a statement.
“It is necessary to support central enterprises to meet the major needs of the country, focus on the “strangleholds” areas, resolutely win the battle of key core technologies and effectively maintain national industrial security.”
Big state firms should boost investment in basic research, attract more talent, strengthen technological innovation and deepen ties with universities and research institutions, he added on Wednesday.
However, analysts say China’s private firms are more innovative than state firms that dominate strategic industries and tend to receive more state subsidies.
Last week, Chinese leaders pledged to build a modern industrial system and achieve technological breakthroughs, in an international race to win the “strategic initiative” amid the U.S. disputes.
China has unveiled a “new whole-nation system”, drawing on its political system to pool national resources to support tech projects and break the foreign “stranglehold”, drawing on past successes in developing nuclear bombs in the 1960s.
(Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)