China Daily -- Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, will push forward development of a national innovation center within the next five years by introducing more high-tech and innovative businesses, according to the city's newly elected mayor.
"We will develop more new high-tech and innovative businesses in the years ahead as self-dependent innovation plays an increasing role in economic transformation and industrial upgrading," said Wen Guohui, 53, who was elected mayor of Guangzhou after the conclusion of the Guangzhou people's congress on Tuesday.
According to Wen, the city will develop 8,000 new high-tech companies and 200,000 innovative enterprises for science and technology by 2020.
"We will increase investment in innovation and better protect intellectual properties, creating a healthy environment for innovation and high-tech businesses," Wen said.
According to a development plan for building a national self-dependent innovation demonstration zone, Guangzhou's investment in technology research and development will account for 3 percent of its GDP in 2020.
Guangzhou, along with Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing in the Pearl River Delta, were approved as an integrated national self-dependent innovation demonstration zone in 2015.
Due to increased investment in technology research and development, the number of high-tech companies in the provincial capital increased from 1,253 in 2011 to more than 4,700 in 2016, according to Wen.
Li Ying, deputy director of the Institute of Digital Guangdong, said increased investment in technology research and development would help consolidate Guangzhou's position as one of China's first-tier cities in terms of economic strength.
"The city needs to develop a number of large innovative and high-tech businesses, like Tencent Inc in Shenzhen, driving a development force for industrial upgrading," Li said.
According to a list of China's best innovative cities, which was released by Yicai Media Group on Monday, Guangzhou was one of the top cities for innovative businesses, following Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai.
A number of big high-tech players such as Cisco Systems, General Electric and Foxconn Technology Group signed agreements to build innovative businesses in Guangzhou last year, according to Wen.
Guangzhou's economy grew from 1.24 trillion yuan ($179.1 billion) in 2011 to 1.95 trillion yuan in 2016, an average year-on-year increase of 9.4 percent, according to a government work report.
The local government's target for economic growth in 2017 is about 8 percent, with a focus on increasing quality and efficiency of economic and industrial development, according to the report.