Party leader says province looking to develop talent, mechanisms to make strides in science, technology

This year, the Communist Party of China is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding. A news site is publishing a series of stories looking at the tremendous changes that have occurred in provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities under the leadership of the Party. They also include stories of the people and places that have left indelible marks in the Party’s path to glory.

Shaanxi province, the geographical center of China, will gain fresh technical momentum by implementing the practices of technology managers to foster better connectivity in the province and countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, the province’s top Communist Party of China official said.

Liu Guozhong, secretary of the Shaanxi Provincial Party Committee, said that as an important gateway to the world in Northwest China, Shaanxi endeavors to promote coordinated efforts to facilitate traditional industrial upgrades and foster high-level technological innovation.

Centering on the demand for a major national strategy and Shaanxi’s development needs, the province will enhance its ability to capitalize on key core technologies to boost its achievements, he told China Central Television.

“Recently, we launched a mechanism to ensure that at least one researcher-a technological manager who understands technology and enterprises well-will be involved in all aspects of scientific research to accelerate the industrialization of certain scientific research achievements at their initial development stage,” Liu said.

Liu stressed that Shaanxi will embed innovation into every field and each step of industrial development. The province will keep a close watch on the development of talent and mechanisms, garnering input and establishing platforms to make greater strides in scientific and technological innovation.

He noted that Shaanxi is home to over 100 colleges and universities, more than 1,500 scientific institutions and 26 national key laboratories.

Millions of highly skilled professionals have converged on the province, as well as 66 academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

As a key link to BRI countries, Shaanxi is speeding up the construction of the China-Europe Railway Express assembly center in Xi’an, the provincial capital, to inject new momentum into the building of a “dual circulation” development pattern, in which the domestic economic cycle plays a leading role while the international economic cycle remains as a supplement, Liu said.

Last year, despite the pandemic, the Chang’an (Xi’an) China-Europe freight train service operated a record 3,720 trips, up 1.7 percent from the previous year.

“The quality indicators of the Chang’an China-Europe freight trains rank among the top in the country, which inspires us to better utilize Shaanxi’s regional advantages and build channels and platforms to better integrate into the international economic cycle,” Liu said.

Since its launch in November 2013, the Chang’an service has opened 15 cargo routes from Xi’an to major Asian and European cities.

“We will drive the development of the Xi’an Belt and Road pilot zone for comprehensive reform and the construction of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s agricultural technology exchange training demonstration base. We will also hold a series of exhibitions to jointly expand the BRI international market with other provinces and cities,” he said.

The third phase of the expansion of the Xi’an Xianyang International Airport is also underway. Once completed, the airport will be a major transportation hub for countries participating in the BRI, and be able to handle 83 million passenger trips per year.

The province has invested nearly 48 billion yuan ($7.5 billion) in the expansion project, with three new runways planned.

Meanwhile, as this year marks the start of the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), Liu said concerted efforts will be made to raise household incomes to provide a higher quality of life for the people in the province.

“Most of all, we need to focus on developing the economy,” he said. “In particular, we should consider the increase in household incomes a top priority and raise the incomes of urban and rural residents through multiple channels to enrich people’s lives.”

Shaanxi will implement various supporting measures to implement the income increases at the grassroots level.

By cultivating market entities such as high-tech enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses, residents in Shaanxi can enjoy relatively satisfactory employment at their doorstep. This is the main way to increase revenue, to help people create a living that makes everyone feel happy and harmonious and offers a sense of fulfillment, Liu said.

In an interview with Xinhua News Agency, Liu said Shaanxi opened its provincial market to the country, with widening channels for the circulation of goods and services.

Last year, Shaanxi’s technical contract transactions exceeded 150 billion yuan, Liu said.

“Scientific innovation is now on Shaanxi’s new business card,” he said. “What we are taking pains to do is complete the evaluation system of scientific and technological achievements to further open up new channels that can help creative talent become innovative entrepreneurs.”

Some breakthroughs have been achieved in Shaanxi. Xi’an developed 134 member companies that had used the technical manager system in 244 scientific and technological achievement projects, leading the industry to accelerate to mid-to-high-end, Liu said.

In the last two years, the quantity of high-tech enterprises in Shaanxi has surged by 40 percent annually, with the number of the province’s listed companies on the Science and Technology Innovation Board ranking first in western China.

“A good foundation has since been formed in Shaanxi, particularly in sectors such as artificial intelligence, aviation technology and biological breeding,” Liu said. “And some have demonstrated its international influence.”

Last year, Shaanxi’s GDP was more than 2.6 trillion yuan, and its per capita GDP exceeded $10,000. In high-tech and strategic emerging industries, the average GDP growth rate surpassed 16.5 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively.

Multiple steps have been taken in Shaanxi to ensure scientific innovation to obtain substantial development and transform the achievements into actual products.

In the province’s science and education sector, Innovation Harbor of Xi’an Jiaotong University and Soaring Town of Northwestern Polytechnical University-an area comprising about 28 square kilometers-began construction in 2017 on land adjoining Xi’an and neighboring Xianyang.

The province has also continuously brought in cutting-edge technologies and top talent to a high-tech zone close to downtown Xi’an, to further spur its economy and strengthen cooperation with regions and cities at home and abroad. It offers favorable policies, convenient patent application processes and a string of innovation labs.

Liu said for the next step, Shaanxi will further transform and upgrade traditional industries, address its weaknesses to help strengthen the high-tech industry and achieve sci-tech self-reliance at a higher level.