President Xi pushing reforms in science and technology

President Xi Jinping underlined the need to step up institutional reforms in science and technology at a meeting of the Central Committee for Deepening Overall Reform. The meeting adopted key documents, including a three-year plan (2021-23) for reforms of management in science and technology, and proposed measures to support the Zhongguancun National Independent Innovation Demonstration Zone in Beijing to develop pilot reforms in innovation. It also adopted a guideline on speeding up the development of a unified national market for electrical power. President Xi called for a critical battle against institutional barriers that affect scientific and technological innovation, and he urged efforts be made to focus on problems, overcome weaknesses and take targeted measures to set up a system that supports higher-level independent innovation and helps raise the nation’s innovation capacity. A system will be set up for research of core technologies in key fields, building a network of national laboratories and basic science research centers. The role of enterprises in scientific and technological innovation was also underlined.

In related news, it was reported that China’s preeminence in 5G network infrastructure and its rapid progress in artificial intelligence and cloud computing can give it an edge in moving toward the metaverse. The metaverse is basically a shared virtual environment in which technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality are combined to create a sense of virtual presence. The metaverse envisions a future in which the virtual world and the physical world are inextricably interconnected, said Yu Jianing, Executive Director of the Metaverse Industry Committee at the China Mobile Communications Association. Though the concept is still in its infancy, metaverse is the next big thing after the mobile internet, and it will give rise to new businesses, bring profound economic changes and inject a fresh impetus into the integration of digital and real economies, Yu said. “Metaverse is becoming the new battlefield for competition in innovation,” Yu added.

Jiao Juan, Analyst at Essence Securities, said that compared with other countries, China is a quick mover in rolling out 5G networks and commercializing 5G technologies, which can give it an upper hand in laying down a sound infrastructure for the metaverse. China had built more than 1.15 million 5G base stations as of mid-November, accounting for more than 70% of the global total, the China Daily reports.