Copyright 2024 - Ningbo Life / Ningbo Expat

R&D investment in Ningbo hits a new high

“We will give full play to the driving effect of innovation.”

The Economic Work Conference held by Ningbo Municipal Party Committee on December 25 deployed the eight key economic jobs for the new year, giving priority to the innovation work.

Innovation is the primary driving force for development. Without significant investment in innovation, it is difficult to achieve significant output in development. In recent years, with the focus on the task of technological innovation, Ningbo has promoted a significant increase in the intensity of research and development funding, making research & development and innovation the core driving force for economic growth.

It is estimated that in 2023, the R&D investment maintained a double-digit growth, as it may exceed 3% of the total investment, hitting a historical high. 

It should be noted that the double-digit growth rate was achieved on the basis of the high growth rate of the previous year. According to the statistics of the provincial Bureau of Statistics, Ningbo’s R&D investment in 2022 increased by 14.5% compared to the previous year, an increase of 6.4 percentage points, and accounted for 22.5% of the total growth rate of the whole province, ranking first among all the cities in Zhejiang Province.

The continuous and significant increase in R&D investment over the years cannot be achieved without the strong support and guidance of the municipal party committee and the municipal government.

Ningbo has made it clear that the annual growth of the city’s investment in science and technology should not be less than 20%, and the 15 articles of the “New Policy on Developing Science and Technology” may provide an annual financial and tax support of over 20 billion yuan.

“We will focus on innovation with higher intensity, by vigorously investing in innovation, developing high-quality projects, and strengthening the foundation, to promote a leapfrog improvement in innovation level.” said Peng Jiaxue, member of the Standing Committee of Zhejiang Provincial Party Committee and Secretary of Ningbo Municipal Party Committee.

In recent years, Ningbo has made extraordinary and large-scale investment in scientific and technological innovation, and intensively planned and buit innovation platforms, in an effort to continuously enhance the overall potential for innovation. Efforts have been made in building the Yongjiang River Science and Technology Innovation Zone with world-class standards, building the high-level new laboratory system led by the Yongjiang Laboratory, attracting the Joint Fund for Regional Innovation and Development of the National Natural Science Foundation, and launching the “Yongjiang Sci-Tech Innovation 2035” strategic coordination plan, the key technological breakthrough plan, the ecological cultivation plan, and the major demonstration plan. 

Enterprises are the main undertaker of technological innovation and the main force for research and development investment. Ningbo has strengthened policy supply and innovation mechanism, and increased support and guidance, to fully supports enterprises to invest in scientific and technological innovation.

Last year, Ningbo Science and Technology Bureau, together with the municipal Bureau of Finance, formulated the “Implementation Rules for Several Policies to Further Promote Science and Technology Innovation and Accelerate the Construction of Innovative City (2023 Edition)”, which clearly stated that for any enterprise with an annual R&D expense of over two million yuan, and an annual growth rate of over 10%, whose internal R&D expense accounting for more than 3% of its operating income, a support at the rate of 10% for the incremental part will be granted, with the maximum of three million yuan.

Ningbo has also strengthened support for the recognition of high-tech enterprises: for small and medium-sized enterprises that have entered the national science and technology industry and submit their application for recognition of high-tech enterprises for the first time, a one-time subsidy of no more than 50,000 yuan will be granted. For high-tech enterprises that have been recognized for the first time, a one-time reward of no more than 200,000 yuan will be given. 

The solid investment, together with the precise and effective policies, have created a first-class innovation ecosystem and a good atmosphere for innovation.

“We invest no less than 5% of our annual sales revenue in research and development, which is much higher than the 2% to 3% level in the kitchen appliance industry. For major projects, there is no upper limit on research and development investment,” said Li Bin, Dean of the Central Research Institute of Fotile Group.

Since its establishment, Fotile has continuously increased investment in research and development, and attached great importance to technological innovation. With the focus on the three core technologies of “air, water, and cooking”, it aims to build an innovative technological matrix for kitchen appliances. As a result, the company has established itself as a “high-end kitchen appliance expert and leader”.

The long-term scientific research investment has produced fruitful results. As of July last year, Fotile has obtained over 11,000 domestic authorized patents, including over 2,600 invention patents, holding the largest patent pool in the kitchen appliance industry in its hands.

Meanwhile, Fotile has led and undertaken a number of key national scientific research projects during the 11th and 13th Five Year Plan period, and participated in the revision and formulation of over 130 international and national standards. It is recognized by the whole industry as the definer of kitchen appliance standards, national project leader, pioneer of kitchen appliance categories, leader in kitchen appliance technology, and leading company in patent research and development.

Fotile is but one example of the enterprises in Ningbo whose development is driven by innovation.

A phenomenon has impressed Wang Shu, Deputy Director of Ningbo Science and Technology Bureau. “When visiting companies, we find that although some companies’ revenue has decreased due to various factors, it is a common choice for all to increase R&D investment.”

Statistics show that in 2022, the R&D expenses of enterprises in Ningbo stood at 41.24 billion yuan, up by 12.0% over the previous year, accounting for 89.4% of the total R&D investment of the city.

Innovation and technological breakthroughs may lead to one success after another. In Ningbo, the seeds of innovation have been sown, the passion for innovation is rising, and the driving potential of innovation is strong.

According to a related person in charge from the municipal Science and Technology Bureau, in 2023, the total number of high-tech enterprises in Ningbo is said to have exceeded 7,000, with a growth rate of 31%, ranking first in the province for two consecutive years. The innovation capacity of enterprises has jumped up significantly. 

The “increased investment” has resulted in a significant improvement in innovation capability and an “increased output” in innovation achievements.

Not long ago, the 2023 list of the top 500 high-tech enterprises with innovative capabilities in Zhejiang Province was announced, and 102 enterprises in Ningbo were shortlisted, accounting for over one fifth of the province’s total. In addition, Ningbo has boasted six provincial-level leading technological enterprises and 22 small giant high-tech enterprises, ranking second in the province. It applied for 58 national key research and development plans, the highest over the past years.

Over the past three years, Ningbo has made breakthroughs in 93 key core technologies and independently developed 427 innovative products, which have been applied in such major national projects as Shenzhou Spaceship, the Winter Olympics, and lunar exploration, effectively serving the high-quality development driven by science and technology

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