China is Aiming for the Top Part I

By | October 22, 2021

China is aiming high up and far ahead. The big goal is to become a technological and innovative lighthouse, before in a few years it will bypass the United States and become the world’s largest economy.

  • What are the main goals of China’s five-year plan?
  • Can we expect major economic and political changes?
  • What kind of relationship does China have with the outside world?
  • What does Chinese growth and development mean for Norway?

All functioning countries must plan, and China continues its tradition of baking the biggest and most important goals into big five-year plans. They serve as political roadmaps that set the course for economic and social development.

The new plan for the years 2021-2025 sets the course for China to become bigger and better – and even the biggest and best – in several areas. Nobody thinks it will be easy, but Chinese leaders put enormous prestige behind achieving the goals and they feel confident that they have good recipes for growth and development.

Briefly about the five-year plans:

The first five-year plan came in 1953, four years after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, a country located in Asia according to ITYPEJOB. The latest plan covers the period 2021-2025 and also describes some major visions towards 2035. The five-year plans are formally adopted by the People’s Congress, China’s Legislative Assembly, but the content is first decided in the Communist Party, which is China’s ruling government party. Based on the national five-year plan, other authorities make local and more specialized plans.

Some concrete goals from the new five-year plan (2021-2025):

  • 60% of young people should take higher education
  • 92% of young people should take upper secondary education
  • 90% of the children must have daycare facilities
  • 7% annual increase in research budgets
  • 20% of the energy will come from renewable sources
  • The peak of CO2 emissions will be reached by 2030
  • China will become carbon neutral by 2060

At the same time, they face more international criticism for parts of their policies, and many countries in Europe, as well as the United States, Canada and several other countries have imposed sanctions or directed strong criticism against China related to the treatment of the Uighur minority population and developments in Hong Kong. We will return to this, but first we will go through some of the most important goals in the new five-year plan and what they mean for China’s development and position in the world.

2: Smart enough to fend for themselves

Research and innovation have been given a central pass in the new five-year plan. Knowledge and technology have been important for a long time, but now it is innovation and advanced technology, digitalisation, the internet and artificial intelligence that apply. China says it will increase investment in research by seven percent each year until 2025. In addition, they will increase admission to universities, high schools and kindergartens.

If we do a simple text analysis of the last four five-year plans – which came in 2006, 2011, 2016 and now in 2021 – we can conclude that the words technology, research and science are widely used throughout the years. However, the word innovation is more discussed in the last two plans. Then we see that the word digitization, which is only mentioned a few times in the three previous plans, has become a “hot” word in the latest five-year plan.

It is not surprising that Chinese people talk about digitalisation, the whole world is concerned about it, but we notice that China is making plans to become a world leader in digital and technological development.

A driving motivation for China is that they now want to fend for themselves. After years of conflict and periods of near-trade war with the United States, Chinese leaders are more concerned with making themselves independent of other countries’ technology.

Therefore, the new five-year plan places extra emphasis on developing its own variants of products that China currently has to buy from other countries. Advanced computer chips for smartphones are one example. This also applies to medicines. Chinese researchers have so far developed five covid-19 vaccines that are approved for use in China. Some of the vaccines are also being sold or given in aid to other countries on an ever-increasing scale.

3: Consumption and sustainability

There are several reasons why research and innovation receive more attention in the new five-year plan. Among other things, China wants to combine more economic growth with more environmental protection. And this will at least not be possible without new and innovative solutions for transport, energy use, waste management and other conditions that today contribute to a lot of pollution.

China has done a lot in the fight against the well-known smog