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Problems to Be Solved in Improving Bio-industry Innovation Capability


By Li Zhijun, Department of Techno-Economic Research of DRC

Research Report No. 103, 2008

Currently, the development of China's bio-industry is still in its initial stage. In terms of bio-technological research, China is not much lagging behind the developed countries, and where China falls short are the low industrialization and the low industrialization level. To realize the development of the bio-industry by leaps and bounds, China has good foundations and advantages. First, China has good foundations for developing bio-industry. Over recent years, China has made rapid progress in researches on life sciences and bio-technology and has reached a higher level in studies of such life sciences as post-genomics, proteomics and stem cells. China is advantageous in the field of biological breeding such as hybrid rice and transgenic cotton and a number of new bio-medicines with independent intellectual property rights have been put into use for clinical trials. China has a contingent of competent researchers and developers. The Chinese students for further studies abroad and the overseas Chinese have an important status and enjoy high prestige in the fields of life science and bio-technology. China's bio-industry is beginning to take shape, the number of bio-industrial enterprises has increased rapidly, and the aggregation has appeared evidently in the development of China's bio-industry. Second, China has the resources and market advantages for the development of bio-industry. China has about 260,000 types of species, 12,800 types of medical animals and plants and 320,000 types of agricultural seed resources and is one of the countries with the richest species in the world. China has unique advantages in resources for the development of the bio-industry. With rapid economic growth, the people's incomes have been constantly increased. As a result, China will rapidly increase its demand for biological resources and for medical and health-care products and will thus form a huge market potential. Third, China faces a favorable opportunity for the development of bio-industry. At present, the world bio-industry is in its growing stage, and the monopoly of the bio-industry by a small number of transnational companies has not been formed. China can give play to its advantages in biological resources and its market advantages and can widely participate in international exchange and co-operation in terms of researches on life sciences, bio-technical innovation and the development of the bio-industry in order to facilitate the development of its bio-industry.

In the coming 20 years, China will build a well-off society in an all-round way and will lay a solid foundation for the realization of the third-step strategic modernization target, and the bio-industry will grow from small to big. Thus, the bio-industry will be confronted with a significant strategic opportunity. We must take full consideration of the huge influence that the bio-technological revolution and the industrial revolution will have on China's economy and social development, give prominence to the development of the modern bio-industry in economic and social development, and strive to bring about a leapfrog development.

On the basis of developing China's bio-industry and in line with China's comparative advantages, we should persevere in expanding the industry as well as enhancing the independent innovation capability, advance industrialization, aggregation and internationalization, quicken the development of such industries as bio-medicine, bio-agriculture, bio-energy, bio-manufacturing and bio-environmental protection and focus on making important breakthroughs so as to form the group advantages and partial competitiveness.

I. Construct an Industrial Technical Innovation System

In recent period, the imitation-based pattern is hard to change, the bio-industrial technologies come still mainly from abroad, and there is little possibility of significant group innovative breakthroughs to be made in China's bio-industry. We should take vigorous action to carry out the strategy of globalization, attach great importance to integration of technologies, devote major efforts to developing experimental bases, put a premium on technical co-operation among enterprises and between enterprises and the scientific research institutes by giving priority to trained personnel and intellectual property rights, strive to establish an open, market-oriented and grouped national bio-technology innovation system, take bio-technological enterprises as the main body for facilitating the flow of scientific and technical knowledge in relation to bio-technology, further improve China's ability to make technical innovations in terms of bio-industry, accelerate the industrialization of the scientific and technical achievements, and bring about the strategic shift of the bio-industry from imitation-based industry to an industry centering on innovation and combining imitation with innovation. We should establish and improve systems and mechanisms favorable to independent innovation and promote the co-operation between enterprises, universities and and research institutions; strengthen primitive innovation, integrated innovation and re-innovation by digesting and absorbing imported technologies with independent intellectual property right-based development and application at the core; and adhere to the guideline of combining “bring in” with “go global” to actively start international co-operations and to make full use of Chinese and overseas resources as well as Chinese and overseas markets in order to quicken the development of China's bio-industry. We should set great store by the pressing need for the national economic and social development and select a number of important bio-industrial fields and products with good basic conditions, mature technologies, a huge potential for growth and a high industrial connection to construct a complete industrial chain and to make it bigger and stronger at a fast pace. We should make breakthroughs related to some leading-edge bio-technologies playing a guiding role in forming independent intellectual property rights, race to control a commanding point in international competition and to accelerate the realization of industrialization.

1. Improve the innovation capability of enterprises

We should establish, through combination of enterprises, universities and research institutions, effective implementation mechanisms that are organized by enterprises and joined by institutions of higher learning and scientific research institutes. We should guide the enterprises in increasing R & D investment and stimulate the enterprises, especially large enterprises, to establish R & D institutions through relevant fiscal taxation, financial and investment policies. We should encourage enterprises to transform the bio-technological achievements into productive forces jointly with the institutions of higher learning and the scientific research institutes, renovate or build a number of state engineering laboratories and state engineering research centers and improve the engineering and system integration of scientific research achievements.

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