After its breakneck economic growth based on cheap labor and demographic advantages, China is now looking to tap its vast innovation potential to spur high-quality growth.
China was once a center of innovation with its epoch-making inventions of paper, gunpowder, the compass and printing. But its creativity seemed sagged for a long time until the founding of New China in 1949.
Four decades of reform and opening up since 1978 has greatly stimulated the Chinese people's vitality and creativity, and prepared the hard and soft ware for China to make major scientific and technological breakthroughs.
China's economic growth over the years has been mainly based on the large scale consumption of unrenewable natural resources, which has led to severe environmental pollution and is apparently unsustainable.
To pursue sustainable growth, China feels an urgency to transform its economy into one driven by innovation, to strengthen the country's scientific and technology prowess and competitiveness in the world.
The Chinese government has strengthened protection of the legal rights and interests of entrepreneurs, ensuring fair competition and stronger protection of intellectual property rights, to encourage innovation.
China's recent efforts to encourage innovations have paid off. According to a report released in 2017 by INSEAD business school, Cornell University and the World Intellectual Property Organisation, China has broken into the top 20 of a global list of the most innovative economies for the first time.
China has been the world leader in applications for patent for invention for years. It received about 1.54 million applications of invention patents in 2018, according to the annual statistics of the National Intellectual Property Administration (NIPA).
China has made tremendous achievements in intellectual property rights protection in recent years. Multiple intellectual property laws in line with international rules have been passed or amended, specialized courts have been set up in major cities including Beijing and Shanghai.
China's image as an innovation powerhouse is also underpinned by the birth of a batch of "unicorn" tech companies like Tencent and Didi Chuxing.
China's innovation and entrepreneurship drive is not a solo show, foreign companies will continue to tap the vast potential of the Chinese market.
The ongoing review of the draft Foreign Investment Law showcases China's resolve to improve the business environment for foreign companies in China, which are an indispensable part of the country's economic and innovation activities.
The draft law addresses major concerns of foreign companies in China, including protection of intellectual property rights, making its investment climate more equitable for domestic and foreign capital, and creating a level playing field.
China's consistent efforts in improving the business environment have produced positive results. According to the World Bank, China ranked 46th globally for ease of doing business in 2018, up from 78th in 2017.
In the future, China will introduce more reform measures and favorable policy to create a better environment for innovation and development, to transform innovation into real productivity.