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Innovation-driven economy gets new momentum

China's innovation-driven economy received new momentum, as an additional 12 high-tech industrial development zones have been promoted to national level, Economic Information Daily reported Friday.

After the approval of the new national-level high-tech zones in areas such as Jinzhou, Zhanjiang, Huainan and Rongchang by the State Council, the number of high-tech industrial development zones in China has increased to 168.

As a pillar and engine of regional innovation development, the research and development input of 156 national high-tech zones, together with 17 independent innovation demonstration zones, accounted for 44.3 percent of total R&D input in the country for 2017.

The sales revenue of new products accounted for 31.5 percent of the nation's total, and labor productivity in the zones was over three times the national average last year.

National high-tech industrial development zones, focused on replacing old growth drivers with new ones and optimizing industrial structures, have become important incubators for new economies.

Diversified high-tech industries in areas such as artificial intelligence, quantum communication and new materials are booming, with an increasing number of new economic growth points in the national high-tech industrial zones.

About 104 of 131 unicorn companies – startups valued at more than $1 billion – came from national zones as counted in 2016.

Beijing's Zhongguancun, boasting 65 unicorn companies, has become the second-largest home for the world's unicorn companies, next to Silicon Valley in the US.

The first national high-tech industrial zone was established in Beijing in 1988, and the number is expected to reach 240 by 2020, according to the 13th Five Year Plan (2016-20) for national high-tech industrial development zones.