Commentary: Innovation can decorate China’s tomorrow

On Monday, the US Commerce Department banned American companies from selling components to China’s telecommunications-gear maker ZTE Corp. This triggered in-depth discussions focused on the urgency for China to support development of its own core technologies in the telecommunications industry.

China’s telecommunications industry has been developing rapidly with the percentage of self-made chips on the rise. However, in higher-end areas such as military telecommunications, domestically-made chips still have a long way to go before they catch up with their foreign counterparts in terms of stability and reliability.

Data has shown that in 2016, China spent $230 billion on chip imports, almost double the money used to import crude oil. That makes the industry realize that core technologies are a weak point, and conceding to others in this industry is the biggest hidden danger.

Faced with this gap, instead of losing faith in the development of our high-tech industry, we should be motivated, striving to master core technologies through self-reliance.

“It is foreseeable that from now on China will increase input to develop chips regardless of the costs and create a historic opportunity to the whole industry,” an investor said.

The government should foster a friendlier system and environment for innovation-driven development, such as creating more opportunity for scientific research and overcoming issues with chip design.

China has managed to develop a high-tech industry from scratch, so it should be confident enough to tackle core technology bottlenecks going forward.

China, as a large country, has a broad space to act in international trading system. The country is able to stand shoulder to shoulder with global telecommunications tycoons and its leading role in 5G era is by no means a result of self-isolation.

Self-isolation will only lead to a dead end, while cooperation will make the way easier. The US ban on exports has made shares of ZTE’s US suppliers fall sharply and so the companies have suffered heavy losses, a result of self-isolation.

China will continue to reform and open up further. By making good use of technological resources both domestically and internationally, it will achieve independent innovation while benefiting the world.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said that we cannot always decorate our tomorrow with others’ yesterdays, and we should master our own crucial technologies to compete with other countries as well as to safeguard our national security.

Money cannot buy us core technology. The next step for China’s economy is to strive for high-quality development and achieve independent innovation of core technologies. The road is long, but the goal is attainable under diligent efforts.