China opens labs to small business26th May 2009
A top government academy in China has pledged to offer free laboratory services to small and medium-sized enterprises during the economic downturn.
The prestigious Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said the moved was aimed at helping businesses to enhance their innovation capacities amid the global financial crisis.
Under the new plans, more than 100 research institutes under the supervision of CAS will provide free analysis and testing service for these companies, CAS said in a statement.
The plan is aimed at helping companies to upgrade their industrial structure, giving them technological help to counter financial risk.
One of the institutes included in the plan, the Lanzhou Institute of Chemical Physics (LICP), set a precedent for the move when it offered commercial testing services to local petroleum and chemical companies back in the nineties.
The LICP, which specialises in new materials, made around 1 million yuan a year from the sideline.
One of its clients, PetroChina Lanzhou Lubricating Oil Research and Development Institute, was using their services to carry out composition analysis of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen samples.
Under the new plan, LICP said it would now be providing 11 different services to companies.
These would include infrared spectral radiometry, x-ray fluorescence, gas chromatography and mass spectrometry.
Only 5% of LICP's resources will be used by the requirement, according to CAS staff.
Since the end of April, 1,020 large facilities within eight centres have been offering similar services, Tian Haojiang, a staff member of CAS's Beijing National Centre for Technology Transfer said.
Nanotechnology and bioscience services were on offer to companies, as well as biodiversity, marine sciences and earth sciences.
There were no requirements for a company to be particularly high-tech to use them, Tian said.
PetroChina's Lanzhou-based research management director Xu Meijuan welcomed the move, saying it would promote bilateral cooperation between business and the research sector.
CAS has already made provision to open facilities at its 10 equipment centres, eight of which have been completed, to use by the private sector.
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