Firms pioneer state-of-the-art products
All 98 central State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are participating in a successful development and innovation exposition in Beijing until November 14.
On display are state-of-the-art products from fields including aircraft carrier construction, high-speed trains, unmanned vehicles, extra high voltage power transmission and passenger jet production.
"The government always encourages central SOEs to make their business bigger and stronger. These enterprises are big enough and their current mission should be to focus on getting stronger before they get even bigger," said Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.
If they do not grow stronger, Bai said, the country will need to spend to maintain their operations while receiving less returns. Such SOEs might boast scale but insufficiently recognized international quality.
State-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), known for its aircraft carriers and self-developed crewed submersible Jiaolong, has strived to create a new growth engine by combining maritime construction and innovation.
CSIC has established a platform at the group level especially dedicated to promoting innovation and start-ups, CSIC engineer Zhang Nan told the Global Times at the exhibition on Tuesday.
"The platform plays the role of connecting CSIC, which seeks solutions for part of its projects and technology, with creative solution providers including private firms, individual research teams or those from China's universities," she said.
Since May 23, CSIC has offered research funding of about 500,000 yuan (,034) to each potential program through the platform to attract innovators, she said. After receiving 240 applications by June 16, CSIC signed contracts with 20 teams.
Not all high-tech innovation is distant from everyday society.
A labor information-sharing online platform developed by the China State Construction Engineering Corp (CSCEC) helps construction workers manage their careers.
For the first time, they can check their work shift record, payroll and other benefits by mobile phone, CSCEC representative Lin Songtao told the Global Times Tuesday.
"At present, 780,000 workers have registered on our platform, and we will take a further step in the future to cover all rural migrant workers, about 55.49 million in all," Lin said.
"The platform will also be promoted with our 'go global' strategy along the route of the Belt and Road initiative," he said.
State Councilor Wang Yong asked central SOEs to act as vanguards in pushing forward innovation-driven development, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday.
"Innovation is the primary force of development," Wang said after listening to reports about State firms' technological achievements, ranging from high-speed railways to passenger airliners, when attending the expo opening ceremony last week.
Acknowledging SOEs' efforts, Wang said more has to be done to improve corporate competitiveness and deepen reforms.
Central SOEs should continue to boost innovation with increased investment in research and development, stronger technical personnel and innovative platforms, Xinhua said.
Wang said central SOEs should play the leading role in propelling innovation.
"Integrated development with small- and medium-sized enterprises should be accelerated," he said.
Influential Chinese high-tech products like high-speed railway and services like satellite launching and infrastructure construction are mostly done by SOEs, Bai said.
"In other areas, private companies have also performed remarkably, like Huawei and Alibaba in IT," he said, "and they can even reach the goals that SOEs cannot reach, meaning cooperation between SOEs and the private sector is also essential."