As China pushes forward efforts to become a high-value economy, it will retain “unswerving” focus on strengthening scientific research capacity to catch up with the US to be “a country of innovators,” said Wang Zhigang, head of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) on Monday.

“Fundamental research capabilities have been one of our weaknesses and should see more emphasis across the technology landscape,” Wang said on Monday in a press conference during the Two Session meetings in Beijing. Shoring it up will be “one of the main national strategies in technological development” in the coming days, he added.

China’s total spending on research and development (R & D) rose a robust 11.6% year-on-year to RMB 1.96 trillion (around $293 billion) in 2018, of which about 5% was fundamental research, according to the National Bureau of Statistics this month.

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Jill Shen

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen