Fierce Roundup: Startup policies, DNA-sequencing from China State Council briefing

Welcome to another roundup of some notable statements in the Asian pharma industry, this time from China's State Council, or cabinet, which last week set guidelines on startups, innovation and R&D, areas of policy closely watched by the biotech and pharma communities.

Of note was the emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, though a heavy state hand in the form of national champion candidates was also on display as was a series of steps, themes and explanations by a number sequence that fits in with leadership goals and Communist party language. Of particular interest were brief but telling comments on the pace and scope of DNA-sequencing efforts.

Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission Lin Nianxiu and Vice Minister of Science and Technology Cao Jianlin briefed the press on the State Council's views and released a full-text transcript. Some parts have been bolded by FiercePharmaAsia for emphasis.

Vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission Lin Nianxiu:

"The Party Central Committee and the State Council attach great importance to entrepreneurship and innovation.

President Xi Jinping has issued specific requirements about accelerating innovation-driven development. Premier Li Keqiang stressed the need to push forward mass entrepreneurship and innovation, and build the new engines for development.

To implement the guidance from the Party Central Committee and the State Council, the National Development and Reform Commission, along with other 20 departments, including the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Finance, jointly drafted this document after summarizing the experience at home and abroad, as well as drawing opinions from various sectors.

The document is based on the whole situation, highlights reform and innovation, and pays attention to rules of entrepreneurship and innovation. It aims to motivate the funding chain to lead entrepreneurship and innovation, and then to support the industries and boost employment with mass entrepreneurship and innovation. The document could be summarized as 'a mainline,' 'two coordination' and 'four foothold.'

  • A mainline: speeding up the implementation of policies to ensure that the policies are feasible and conducted.

  • Two coordination: coordinating the policies that were already issued and the upcoming ones, and coordinating startups by the professionals and "grass-root" level entrepreneurs.

  • Four foothold: based on reform and innovation; based on coordinated moves; based on entrepreneurship-oriented; based on strengthening supervision of implementation.

The document has three parts, staging nearly 100 measures concerning about 30 aspects.

The first part depicts general guidelines to further support entrepreneurship and encourage more people to start their own businesses.

To better facilitate innovative entrepreneurship, all policies, mechanisms and public services must be in line with the following principles. We must ensure the market fully plays the vital role in resource allocation while providing better governmental regulations.

We must remove unfriendly polices for startups, lift curbs on market entry and talent mobility to truly vitalize entrepreneurs. We must continue to deepen reform, insist on demand-orientation, enhance policy synergy and implementation, as well as promote more cooperation.

The second part gives 8 detailed measures:

  1. First, we must set up a healthy system to encourage innovation, by enhancing the fairness of market competition, streamlining business registration procedures, protecting intellectual property rights, as well as facilitating cultivation and mobility of business talents.

  2. Second, we must make preferable policies on taxation to provide startup companies with adequate fiscal support.

  3. Third, we should fully make use of financial tools to make it easier for startups to attract investment.

  4. Fourth, we need to enlarge investment in startups by diversifying financing resources such as the introduction of state-owned capital.

  5. Fifth, we need to better serve startup companies in facilitating incubation and improving professional services from third parties. We also need to make these companies benefit from China's 'Internet Plus' strategy and preferable policies such as service coupons for innovative purposes.

  6. Sixth, we need to set up platforms to enhance coordination and synergy in public services, technology and regional cooperation.

  7. Seventh is to provide support to startup talents. We have proposed measures to attract scientists and researchers, university students and foreigners to begin their businesses in China.

  8. Eighth, we need to expand channels of starting business by supporting the development of e-commerce in smaller cities and mobilizing local resources, as well as encouraging immigrants who return to their hometowns to start new businesses."

Vice-Minister of Science and Technology Cao Jianlin:

"I'd like to make some supplements in terms of technology.

Actually, some new industries are created because of new technologies. Some innovative technologies tend to affect the existing rules. This is quite normal and we have started to support these technologies very early, such as solar photovoltaic power generation.

Now China has taken the lead in DNA sequencing, a technology that enables DNA sequencing on infants to discover possible genetic diseases early.

Every time such technologies appear and bring about some new industries, there tends to be conflict and confrontation with the existing standards and industries. Generally speaking, we take an active attitude toward such progress because we know that no one can resist it and what we should do is make adjustments accordingly.

Besides creating the environment for the development of these technologies, we should also guide and support their development as long as they are conducive to energy saving and alleviating pollution, such as the short-distance transportation and new energy transportation you've mentioned. Of course, we will also take measures to supervise and regulate these technologies."

- here's the press briefing on the State Council meeting
- and a related story from Xinhua

Special Reports: More notable, quotable remarks from the C-suite - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6