Premier Li Keqiang highlighted innovation and entrepreneurship as a key growth driver for China in a speech at the Summer Davos forum in port city of Dalian on Thursday.
"Millions of small and micro enterprises are the hope and future of China," the premier said at the forum, formally known as the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2015. Li opened his speech by relating a visit he made to an outstanding small tech enterprise in Dalian on Wednesday.
The micro-controller company only has 10 full-time employees but has managed to attract 280,000 freelance engineers within two years and develop more than 100 products. The company is working to upgrade 30,000 outdated machines in factories lying idle in the former heavy industry base of northeast China, so as to put these facilities back into productive use.
There are tens of thousands of similar companies in China that can achieve their dreams by pooling their wisdom and resources, Li said. "They deserve the title of 'new champions'."
WAVE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Creativity is the biggest resource for development in China, where "a wave of innovation and entrepreneurship" has emerged involving skilled personnel and migrant workers, the premier said.
The Chinese government has introduced measures including tax reductions and streamlined government administration to spur business startups. Last week, it set up a development fund worth 60 billion yuan (9.4 billion U.S. dollars) for small and medium-sized enterprises.
China has a work force of 900 million people, with seven million new graduates hitting the job market each year. More graduates are choosing to start their own businesses and they are an important force that China can rely on for stable growth, Li said.
He noted that more than 10,000 new companies are registered every day and they in turn become job-providers; this explains China's robust job creation despite economic headwinds.
NOT JUST THE GOVERNMENT'S SHOW
The premier pledged reforms to allow for more partnerships between the government and private investors from China and abroad. "It is no longer just the government's show," Li said.
He also cited the sharing economy as a big contributor to economic growth as sharing has made innovative entrepreneurship more realizable at lower costs. "Innovation and entrepreneurship can promote social justice as everyone willing to explore their creativity enjoys equal development opportunities," he said.
In a question and answer session, Li said that Chinese enthusiasm for innovation and entrepreneurship has drawn the world's attention, and that a foreign venture capitalist had expressed willingness to invest in one of the products of a tech enterprise in Dalian.
"This will bring in capital, as well as advanced ideas and technologies," he said. Meanwhile, Li vowed that China will continue to try hard to protect intellectual property rights, as better IPR protection is crucial to attracting international investment and encouraging local companies' creativity.