China lays out its vision to become a tech power

China lays out its vision to become a tech power

BEIJING (Reuters) – China aims to become a world leader in advanced industries such as semiconductors & in the next generation of chip materials, robotics, aviation equipment & satellites, the government said in its blueprint for development between 2016 & 2020.

In its new draft five-year development plan unveiled on Saturday, Beijing moreover said it aims to use the internet to bolster a slowing economy & make the country a cyber power.

China aims to boost its R&D spending to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product for the five-year period, compared with 2.1 percent of GDP in 2011-to-2015.

p> Innovation is the primary driving force for the country's development, Premier Li Keqiang said in a speech at the start of the annual full session of parliament.

China is hoping to marry its tech sector's nimbleness & ability to gather & process mountains of data to make other, traditional areas of the economy more advanced & efficient, with an eye to shoring up its slowing economy & helping transition to a growth model that is driven more by services & consumption than by exports & investment.

This policy, known as "Internet Plus", moreover applies to government, health care & education.

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As technology has come to permeate every layer of Chinese business & society, controlling technology & using technology to exert control have become key priorities for the government.

China will implement its "cyber power strategy", the five-year plan said, underscoring the weight Beijing gives to controlling the Internet, both for domestic national security & the aim of becoming a powerful voice in international governance of the web.

China aims to increase Internet control capabilities, set up a network security review system, strengthen cyberspace control & promote a multilateral, democratic & transparent international Internet governance system, according to the plan.

Since President Xi Jinping came to power in early 2013, the government has increasingly reined in the Internet, seeing the web as a crucial domain for controlling public opinion & eliminating anti-Communist Party sentiment.

China will "strengthen the struggle against enemies in online sovereign space & increase control of online public sentiment," said the plan.

It will moreover "perfect cybersecurity laws & legislation".

Such laws & regulations have sparked fear amongst foreign businesses operating in China, & prompted major powers to express concern to Beijing over three new or planned laws, including one on counterterrorism.

These laws codify sweeping powers for the government to combat perceived threats, from widespread censorship to heightened control over certain technologies.

(Reporting by Paul Carsten; Additional reporting by Ryan Woo in BEIJING; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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Source: “Reuters”

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