By Kate Yuan
(JW Insights) Mar 9 -- The Chinese government plans to restructure its Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) to better allocate R&D resources and establish a National Data Bureau in improving a digital country. The move was announced on March 7 at the Two Sessions, the annual meetings of China's top legislature and political advisory body.
The restructured ministry will play a bigger role in improving a new system for mobilizing the nation to make technological breakthroughs and overcoming challenges in key and core technologies, and move faster toward greater self-reliance in science and technology. It will facilitate application of sci-tech advances, and coordinating science and technology with economic and social development, according to a reform plan of the State Council institutions submitted to China's national legislature for deliberation on March 7, according to a Xinhua report.
Its macro management functions in science and technology-related strategic planning, institutional reforms, allocation of resources, comprehensive coordination, formulating policies and regulations and supervision and inspection will also be strengthened.
For the plan submitted for deliberation to establish a National Data Bureau, it will be administered by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and be responsible for advancing the development of data-related fundamental institutions, coordinating the integration, sharing, development and application of data resources, and pushing forward the planning and building of a Digital China, the digital economy and a digital society, among others.
Certain functions of the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission and the NDRC will be transferred to the new bureau, said the plan on reforming State Council institutions.
Chinese experts said such a move "is in full compliance with international practice," and it will play a positive role in expanding the development of cross-border trade, Global Times reported.
"The establishment of the bureau is fully in line with international practice, and also in line with the trend that the global economy is trying to create new growth points in the post-pandemic era," said Zuo Xiaodong, vice president of the China Information Security Research Institute.
The US and the EU have designated specialized agencies in terms of digital security, but they have not established similar independent agencies in terms of using data as an engine to promote the development of the digital economy, Zuo added.
Zhou Hongyi, founder and chairman of 360 Security Technology, told the Global Times, “The establishment of the bureau is a response to the requirements of the digital China strategy with a core of big data, and it is conducive to promoting the safe and orderly flow of data from the top-level design level.”
China has witnessed the fast growth of digital and industrial digitization in recent years. The scale of China's digital economy reached RMB45.5 trillion ($6.54 trillion) in 2021, ranking second in the world, and accounted for 39.8 percent of the country's GDP, according to a white paper released by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology in July last year, according to the Global Times report.