Learning from China’s Innovation Initiative…

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Qamar Bashir

By: Qamar Bashir

Under the dynamic leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has steadfastly maintained its position as the world’s second-largest economy since 2010. President Xi’s visionary approach and relentless drive have propelled China’s economic ascent, earning him a reputation as an unstoppable force. With his sights set on securing the top spot in the global economy, President Xi recognizes that innovation is the key to unlocking this ambition. Hence, his unwavering emphasis on developing “New Quality Productive Forces” marks a monumental shift in China’s economic strategy, aimed at cultivating fresh sources of growth and advancing high-quality development.

Since its introduction in 2023, the concept of new quality productive forces has commanded considerable attention and support, finding prominence in critical discussions and policymaking forums. Positioned as the paramount objective of the government’s agenda for 2024, it underscores China’s unwavering dedication to accelerating the adoption of innovative, high-quality production methodologies. President Xi’s leadership in championing this transformative initiative reaffirms China’s commitment to shaping the future of global economic progress through innovation-led growth.

In today’s rapidly evolving global landscape, the significance of fostering a culture and ecosystem of innovation cannot be overstated. Beyond mere technological advancements, innovation serves as the cornerstone for a nation’s prosperity across multiple fronts.

Economically, it fuels productivity, enhances competitiveness, and cultivates high-skilled employment opportunities, thereby propelling sustainable growth. Moreover, innovation breeds adaptability and resilience, enabling countries to navigate unforeseen challenges with agility and fortitude.

Furthermore, it acts as a beacon, attracting both investment and top-tier talent, thereby nurturing a virtuous cycle of progress. Yet, the impact of innovation transcends the economic realm, permeating into social spheres such as healthcare, education, and environmental sustainability, where it catalyzes transformative change and elevates living standards for all. In essence, a robust culture and ecosystem of innovation lay the foundation for a nation’s ascent towards unparalleled success and enduring prosperity.

In the fiercely competitive arena of global innovation, certain nations perennially establish themselves as frontrunners. According to the 2023 Global Innovation Index, Switzerland, Sweden, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Singapore reign as the world’s foremost innovative economies. Notably, China distinguishes itself as the sole middle-income economy within the GII’s top 30, securing the 12th spot, closely trailed by Japan at 13th. Israel, making a significant resurgence, reclaims its position within the GII’s top 15, ascending two ranks to secure the 14th position.

Unstoppable China, eyeing for top position on the innovation ladder, has adopted the concept of New Quality Productive Force that marks a significant shift from traditional growth models towards a more sustainable and innovative approach. Unlike previous paradigms where quantity and quality often took precedence, this groundbreaking endeavor places innovation squarely at the center stage. The emphasis now lies on the development of new technologies, processes, and business models to drive efficiency and spur growth.

Recognizing the transformative potential of scientific and technological innovation, efforts are directed towards cultivating new industries, models, and growth drivers. Emphasis is placed on fostering original and disruptive innovation, with a keen eye towards its timely application across specific industries and industrial chains. Moreover, initiatives aimed at expediting the green transformation of growth models underscore China’s commitment to environmental sustainability, aligning with global goals such as carbon peaking and neutrality.

Furthermore, China’s pursuit of high-quality development hinges on comprehensive reforms aimed at reshaping the economic landscape and science and technology management systems. By addressing bottlenecks that impede the development of new quality productive forces, China seeks to create a conducive environment for innovation-led growth.

In tandem with these initiatives, China is committed to nurturing a virtuous cycle of education, science, technology, and talent. By enhancing mechanisms for talent training, introduction, utilization, and mobility, China aims to cultivate a skilled workforce capable of driving forward the development of new quality productive forces.

.At the heart of this initiative is the commitment to achieving High-Tech, High-Efficiency, High-Quality production. This framework aims to harness technologically advanced methods, minimize waste, and deliver goods and services of unparalleled quality.

As the new government in Pakistan is trying to navigate its path towards economic development, there’s much to glean from China’s remarkable transformation. Just as China shifted its focus from quantity to quality and from quality to innovation, Pakistan can adopt a similar approach to drive progress with a view to propel itself from 88th position out of 132 economies as per Global Innovation Index (GII) by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) amongst the top 15 countries.

Though the target is formidable but not impossible provided we are able to prioritize the production of high-quality goods and services over sheer quantity which will enhance Pakistan’s global competitiveness and position itself as a hub for excellence. Embracing rigorous quality standards across industries, investing in research and development, and fostering a culture of innovation are crucial steps that Pakistan can take to emulate China’s trajectory.

Pakistan can do this by excelling in knowledge and technology outputs, creative outputs, and business sophistication, though challenges persist in infrastructure, human capital and research, and institutional development. Despite these hurdles, Pakistan’s strengths in mobile application creation, high-tech imports, and domestic market scale underscore its growing innovation potential.

Pakistan can draw invaluable lessons from China’s experience by investing heavily in innovation and technology-driven initiatives. By fostering an ecosystem that nurtures entrepreneurship, supports research and development, and encourages collaboration between academia and industry, Pakistan can unleash its potential for innovation-led growth. Embracing emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and digital infrastructure can catalyze economic transformation and propel Pakistan onto the fast track of development and progress.

Pakistan can emulate this strategy by prioritizing strategic reforms that streamline bureaucratic processes, improve regulatory frameworks, and create an enabling environment for business growth. Additionally, investing in critical infrastructure projects such as transportation networks, energy systems, and digital connectivity can unlock new avenues for economic development and enhance Pakistan’s competitiveness on the global stage. By embracing strategic reforms and infrastructure development initiatives, Pakistan can pave the way for accelerated growth, job creation, and improved living standards for its citizens, mirroring China’s remarkable journey towards prosperity.

Qamar Bashir

Press Secretary to the President (Rtd), Former Press Minister at Embassy of Pakistan to France, Former MD, SRBC