The Forum as a catalyst for China’s global influence on innovation

On China’s path to becoming an innovation powerhouse, the Pujiang Innovation Forum has played an important role.

The story began in 2006 when China unveiled an ambitious plan to build an innovation-driven country by 2020 and then establish itself as a world power in science and technology in the middle of the century.

As Chinese President Xi Jinping said, “Innovation is the soul that drives a nation forward and an inexhaustible source of prosperity for a country.”

The plan emphasizes the value of autonomy in science and technology.

Xu Guanhua, former Chinese Minister of Science and Technology, found that independent innovation does not mean hiding in a shell. On the contrary, an open mind is vitally important in fueling the country’s transformation from “made in China” to “invented in China”.

In this context, he saw an international forum as a means of building bridges between countries – on the one hand, making our voices heard on the world stage, and on the other hand, introducing more advanced ideas and facilitating a greater great international cooperation.

Thus, the Pujiang Innovation Forum was created and Shanghai, a pioneer in the opening up of China, is responsible for organizing the forum.


The inaugural forum kicked off on May 18, 2008, under the theme “The Road to an Innovation-Driven Country”, attracting big names like Nobel Laureate Yang Chen-ning to attend the meetings.

He delivered a message to the world that China is open and inclusive to international cooperation.

As part of its further efforts, the forum launched the honor country and honor province mechanisms in 2012 to deepen regional and international cooperation in science and technology. As part of these mechanisms, the country of honor and the province of honor organize special events to present their achievements and hold in-depth discussions to seek partnership opportunities.

Steven W. Popper, senior economist at the RAND Corporation, told the forum that there is a history of international cooperation in research and development, and its influence has been profound.

Germany was the first country of honour. During the forum, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology concluded several partnership agreements.

“We strongly believe in cooperation with China, and our ties have grown significantly over the past 30 years,” a German official said.

Over the years, Finland, Russia, Israel, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Portugal, Singapore, Serbia and the United Arab Emirates have also served as countries of honor. This year, the Netherlands is taking on this role.

In 2015, during the forum, a China-Israel Innovation Hub was unveiled. The hub is based in Taopu Smart City, Putuo District, at Hero World, the renovated former site of Shanghai Hero Pen Factory, one of China’s oldest brands.

In 2016, during the forum, the Shanghai Innovation Center (London) and the Shanghai Technology Exchange (London) officially opened in London. Back in Shanghai, the Chinese Academy of Sciences has partnered with the UK-based John Innes Center to establish the CAS-JIC Center of Excellence for Plant and Microbial Sciences, which aims to bring together laboratories from world-renowned for supporting global food aspirations. safety and sustainable health care.

In 2018, Portugal established a partnership with China in renewable energy, biology, agriculture and new materials.

In addition, the forum witnessed the establishment of a think tank formed by the Belt and Road countries. It now has seven members including China, Serbia, Thailand, Pakistan and Egypt.

Thanks to the forum, an international innovation community is taking shape in China and the fruits of international cooperation are multiplying.

Wang Zhigang, Chinese minister of science and technology, said at the 2020 forum that China has established science and technology partnerships with 161 countries, signed 114 partnership agreements with foreign governments and joined more than 200 organizations. international and multilateral mechanisms.

International partnerships contribute to China’s growing status in the global innovation community. Last year, China ranked 12th in the Global Innovation Index, up 22 places in 10 years.

Moreover, it reflects the idea that science is global, without borders, which is echoed by China’s concept of building “a community with a shared future for all mankind”. Joint efforts around the world to fight the coronavirus pandemic are a good example.

Lance Rodewald, senior consultant at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the forum that international cooperation is key to developing vaccines and pressing the restart button for the world.

Next, according to Wang, China will play a more active role in the global innovation network.

China has stressed the importance of innovation in its 14th five-year plan (2021-2025), with multiple strategic projects in areas including artificial intelligence, quantum information and integrated circuits topping the list.

Melvin B. Baillie