Mass entrepreneurship and innovation are becoming a new growth engine, and the central government will continue to support such activities, Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday. As China's economy enters the "new normal" trend, structural reform can inspire creativity, such as measures to support innovation and mass entrepreneurship, which will help steer the economy toward a more sustainable path, Li said at the opening ceremony of the first mass entrepreneurship and innovation week in its main venue, Zhongguancun, a major high-tech zone in Beijing.
The week kicked off on Monday in cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Xi'an, Chengdu, Hefei and Shenyang, where competitions and forums for "makers", those do-it-yourself inventors and craftsmen, as well as entrepreneurs and investors, will be held. Innovation and entrepreneurship could generate more jobs, inspire creativity, promote structural readjustment and facilitate a medium-to-high growth of the economy, Li said.
At the exhibition area for scientific researchers and young entrepreneurs, the premier encouraged them to start businesses and bringing out new ideas. Mass entrepreneurship and innovation could provide fair opportunities for all, especially the young, to improve their lives and achieve better careers through their own efforts, Li said while visiting innovative products including China's first metal 3D printers made by college lecturers and students. Li also stressed the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in promoting the upgrading of traditional industries and the growth of modern service industry.
The premier called for more opening up of innovation and entrepreneurship to the world, adding that all kinds of resources, especially talent should be introduced into China, to better integrate China's reform measures with global scientific revolution and industrial transformation. The government should offer solid support to innovators and entrepreneurs, constantly improve public services and products, remove related obstacles, and increase tolerance for faults to enhance confidence and courage, Li said.
Li also stressed respect for market rules, protection of intellectual property rights and consumers' rights and interests, to maintain fair competition and good quality of creative products. Data released Monday showed that in the January-September period, the high-tech sector reported 10.4 percent growth in value-added output, 4.2 percentage points higher than the figure for the whole industrial sector. In the first three quarters of this year, China created more new jobs than the government had been aiming to do in the whole year, said Sheng Laiyun, spokesperson of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), at a press conference on Monday. In Zhongguancun, 19,000 firms were established in the first five months of the year, 200 percent growth from the average posted in the past few years.
The government has approved a slew of new measures to boost innovation and entrepreneurship, including financial support, facility construction and administrative assistance. Confronted with economic headwinds, China is counting on entrepreneurship and innovation to generate new jobs and improve the skill set of its citizens, thus, warming up the slowing economy. China's economy posted 6.9 percent growth year on year in the third quarter of 2015, the first time the quarterly growth rate has dropped under 7 percent since the second quarter of 2009.