China’s five year plan to 2020 is attempting to begin a shift from heavy industry to innovation driven development

China is attempting to decoupl economic growth from energy consumption in China’s latest five year plan. The draft outline of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) on national economy and social development was presented on Saturday to the Fourth Session of the 12th National People’s Congress for review.

Central to the planned move away from heavy industry is a nationwide effort to reduce dependence on coal, the dirtiest fuel in terms of carbon emissions.

Indeed, China’s carbon emissions may have already peaked, according to a new report by economist Lord Stern to be published this week.

China still relies on coal for 64 per cent of its total energy consumption, but this is steadily falling, dropping by 3.7 per cent last year compared with 2014.

At the same time its installation of solar and wind energy is soaring by record levels, rising 74 and 34 per cent respectively last year compared with the previous year.

And it looks as if China is serious about continuing to phase out coal. It plans to introduce caps on coal consumption in its 10 most polluted cities, according to Barbara Finamore, the Asia director of the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington DC. Capping targets have already been set by a further 20 provinces and 30 cities.

Many of China’s heavy industries are beginning to contract as demand from abroad for manufactured goods shrinks. “China’s steel sector is currently working at just 66 per cent of its capacity,” she says.

  • The new five-year plan includes $23 billion in funding to give workers in older industries new skills suited to modern “sunrise” sectors such as information communication, new energy, new materials, aviation, biological medicine and intelligent manufacturing.
  • China will fully implement the two child policy
  • Accelerate urbanization
  • Build up megacity regions in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta
  • Deploy 5G and other high speed internet infrastructure

The following are the goals and missions set in the draft outline for the years between 2016 and 2020.


— Keep medium-high growth to double China’s GDP and per capita income by 2020 from the 2010 level.

— Promote innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development.


— Make breakthroughs in core technologies including information communication, new energy, new materials, aviation, biological medicine and intelligent manufacturing.

— Advance scientific research on universe evolution, material structure, origin of life, as well as brain and cognition.

— Vigorously initiate international major science projects.

— Ease the criteria for foreign talents’ applying for permanent residence.

— Improve the quality and efficiency of supply and stimulate real demand to strengthen new growth momentum.

— Foster new competitive advantages of foreign trade by exporting more high-end equipment and cutting-edge products with high added value.


— Further implement “Made in China 2025” strategy and focus on manufacturing innovation and the integration of information and manufacturing technologies.

— Support strategic emerging sector and improve its share in GDP to 15 percent.

— Boost information technology, new energy vehicles, biological technology and low-carbon industries, as well as high-end equipment and materials.

— Nurture the growth of high-tech sectors involving semiconductors, robots and intelligent systems.


— Speed up building a new generation of information infrastructure.

Advance 5G telecom technology and comprehensively upgrade to IPv6.

— Implement “Internet Plus” and promote Internet technologies to revolutionize production and organization modes.

— Promote big data strategy to facilitate industrial upgrade and social governance innovation.

— Push forward the establishment of a multilateral, democratic and transparent international Internet governance system.


— Deepen energy revolution by establishing a modern energy system that is clean, low-carbon and efficient.

— Build a coordinated and integrated energy network.


Accelerate urbanizing rural migrants.

Build world-class city clusters in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta.


— Strengthen maritime law enforcement, safeguard maritime interests and maintain free navigation and maritime passage safety at seawaters under China’s jurisdiction.

— Improve sea-related dialogue and cooperation mechanisms with neighboring countries and boost pragmatic maritime cooperation.


— Keep annual energy consumption within five billion tonnes of standard coal.

— Implement the strictest environmental protection system by gathering efforts from government, enterprises and the public to realize environmental improvement.

— Control carbon emissions, honor climate commitments and deeply participate into global climate governance.


— Expand international production capacity cooperation in sectors including steel, railway, telecommunications, machinery and aviation.

— Increase service trade’s share in total foreign trade to 16 percent.

— Relax restrictions in service sector for foreign capital, widen market access in banking and securities, encourage foreign investment to flow into advanced manufacturing, high-tech industries and energy saving.

— Improve business environment to facilitate win-win cooperation.

— Realize the convertibility of Chinese currency the yuan and promote its global use.

— Enhance two-way opening up of capital market, including securities and bond markets.

— Strive to sign high-standard bilateral investment agreements with more countries.


— Quicken Belt and Road construction and expand win-win cooperation to form a new comprehensive opening-up landscape.

— Strengthen cooperation with international financial institutions, push forward the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the BRICS New Development Bank, and properly operate the Silk Road Fund.

— Build China-Mongolia-Russia, China-Central Asia-West Asia, China-Indochina Peninsula, China-Pakistan and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridors, as well as the new Eurasian Land Bridge.


— Safeguard the role of the World Trade Organization and push forward multilateral trade negotiations.

— Vigorously set up free trade areas with countries along the routes of the Belt and Road.

— Step up talks with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and Gulf Cooperation Council and on free trade area of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

— Push forward the establishment of free trade agreements with Israel, Canada, the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union, as well as an Asia-Pacific free trade area.

— Continue to propel investment agreement talks with the United States and Europe.

— Actively participate in the making of international rules on the Internet, deep sea, polar region and space and of international standards.


— Increase assistance to developing countries in education, medicine, disaster relief, animal protection and poverty alleviation.

— Safeguard international public security and oppose any forms of terrorism.


Lift 50 million people out of poverty and build a moderately prosperous society in all aspects.

Fully implement two-child policy, with the total population reaching 1.42 billion.


— Formulate and implement national security policies in politics, territory, economy, society, resources and the Internet.

— Reinforce anti-terrorism forces and increase international cooperation.

— Advance national defense and military modernization.