By Zhang Junkuo
Research Report Vol.20 No.6, 2018
China’s economy is facing more complex internal and external situations, mounting uncertainty, and growing downward pressure. In such circumstances, it is of overriding importance for China to remain resolute in pursuing high-quality development, and to unswervingly deepen reform and expand opening-up.
To pursue high-quality development is an extremely complicated systematic project, which involves not only reforming and improving relevant systems and policies, but also transforming consumption concepts and social culture, among others, at a deeper level. It requires joint efforts of the government, enterprises, social organizations, consumers, and other sectors of society. In pursuing high-quality development,entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship play a vital role.To stimulate and protect entrepreneurship and give full play to the role of entrepreneurs is an important way to achieve high-quality development in new circumstances.
I. Entrepreneurship is Consistent with the Requirements of High-Quality Development
Opinions are divided over what an entrepreneur is, and what core elements constitute entrepreneurship.In the Opinions of the State Council on Creating a Healthy Growth Environment for Entrepreneurs,Promoting Entrepreneurship and Giving Better Play to the Role of Entrepreneurs, “entrepreneurship” is described as“being patriotic and devoted to duty, observing law and discipline, working tirelessly, striving for innovation and development, focusing on quality, pursuing excellence, fulfilling responsibility, daring to take on public roles, and serving the society”. Simply put, the core elements of entrepreneurship can be further summarized as “innovativeness, pragmatism,tenacity, excellence, and responsibility”. “Innovativeness” is the soul of entrepreneurs, who are inventive and good at innovation rather than follow the old way. “Pragmatism” is also a core element of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs must be good at innovation and have many new ideas, but those with new ideas are not necessarily entrepreneurs– scientists, business consultants, and all kinds of “masters” can all come up with novel ideas.The fundamental difference lies in that entrepreneurs not only have new ideas but also can put them into practice. This requires entrepreneurs to be innovative and, more importantly, to know how to get things done and dare to take risks.“Tenacity” is important because entrepreneurship is by no means all plain sailing, but will inevitably encounter all kinds of expected and unexpected setbacks, risks and challenges. Without extraordinary determination and indomitable will, there is no success.The fourth core element is “excellence”.Entrepreneurs will never be those who are content with a small fortune; instead, they never stop pursuing excellence, always striving to be the best and the strongest. Such pursuit is reflected in not only quantity and scale, but also quality, brand, efficiency and competitiveness. The fifth element is “responsibility”.Entrepreneurs are not “money-making machines”, but people who have faith and pursuits,and see their enterprise as a cause. As stated in the above-mentioned central document, entrepreneurs are“patriotic and devoted to duty”, “observe law and discipline”, “fulfill responsibility”, “dare to take on public roles”, and “serve the society”. While running business, they always bear in mind the responsibilities and obligations to the country, society, employees and the environment, and do their due part to make contributions.
With regard to the objectives and requirements of high-quality development, scholars also have different perspectives and views.For example, they can put forward the objectives and requirements based on the pursuit of “innovative, coordinated, open, shared and green development”,set the objectives and requirements in terms of supply quality, demand quality, input-output efficiency, equity in income distribution, ecological environment, and other factors in various fields and links of economic and social development,or define them from the perspective of industrial development, such as transforming and upgrading the traditional manufacturing industry, promoting the development of new technologies and new industries, boosting the service industry, and improving the quality of agricultural products. All these views make sense.If we start from the most essential requirements of development, the quality of development should be defined from three dimensions: efficiency, equity, and sustainability. That is to say, development that can meet or well balance the three requirements of efficiency, equity, and sustainability is high-quality development.“High efficiency” means that the economy has a strong driving force for growth, which can “make the pie of the national economy bigger”and raise the level of development and income.To this end, we must focus on improving the quality, efficiency and competitiveness of products and services through innovation and entrepreneurship. This, as said above, is exactly the core content of entrepreneurship–continuous innovation, practical work, tenacity, and pursuit of excellence.“Equity” means that in addition to making the pie bigger, we should divide it properly, that is, share the results of development appropriately, and narrow down income gaps between groups, between regions, and between urban and rural areas.To improve income distribution and promote shared development must depend on the government, but enterprises and entrepreneurship also can play an important role.The sense of responsibility in entrepreneurship includes protecting the rights and interests of employees, improving the work environment,valuing employee training and development, and attaching importance to the interests of the community and social responsibility. “Sustainability” means that development should not be achieved at the expense of the environment. At the current stage, China should not pursue economic growth at the expense of the environment,and more importantly,should gradually restore and improve the environment that was undermined in the past, and use and recycle natural resources efficiently.This is closely related to entrepreneurship.“Fulfilling responsibility” and“observing law and discipline” both emphasize that in the process of development, enterprises should strictly conform to laws, regulations and standards, and attach great importance to environmental protection.To sum up, entrepreneurship is consistent and closely connected with high-quality development. To inspire and promote entrepreneurship, in a sense,is to promote the concept of high-quality development and give full play to the role of entrepreneurs. It is an important way to achieve high-quality development under the new situation.
II.Entrepreneursare a Key player in Promoting High-quality Development, but are Restricted and Shaped by the Institutional Environment
Entrepreneurs play a vital role in promoting high-quality development. In pursuing high-quality development, we not only need the government to formulate suitable policies and create a good environment, but also need science and technology personnel to make innovations, coupled with a highly skilled workforce and crafts manship; we need not only sound financial systems and capital markets to provide financial support, but also rational consumers with strong purchasing power. In order to play a role and become practical productive forces, however, all these factors need to be integrated through entrepreneurs.The process of entrepreneurs seeking business opportunities and running businesses in pursuit of profits is actually a process of resource integration and value creation according to the actual supply and demand conditions and policy environment.Moreover, innovation and resource integration is not a passive reaction to the reality. Entrepreneurs start up their business with given resources, policies and institutions, and influence and guide the upgrading and improvement of factors through innovation and entrepreneurship, thus promoting the transformation, upgrading and quality improvement of the whole economy.
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