China's military is offering to fund 2,000 projects to private Chinese firms and institutes for research on equipment and weapons, a move that experts said will further boost military-civilian integration and upgrade military technologies.
The Central Military Commission's equipment development department recently released a guideline on its website, saying that China plans to invest 6 billion yuan ($870 million) this year for research in shared technology and other research, Zhuangbei Keji, a WeChat account affiliated with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Daily, reported Monday.
The money will be used to fund 2,000 projects, and encouraged companies and institutes to apply. For example, one of the projects published on the website is on the temperature adaptability of solid propellants. One million yuan has been set aside for this project.
Getting private companies involved in military technology research can reduce costs, boost military-civilian integration and help upgrade military technology, Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert, told the Global Times Monday.
Military-owned companies have many restrictions in developing new technologies due to a lack of manpower and resources. However, private companies may also face difficulties, as the military has relatively higher standards, Li said.
Private Chinese firms have been allowed to carry out research and manufacture military equipment since 2005, and more than 1,000 private firms have gained approval to enter the military industry.
The department released a document in February on boosting military-civilian integration in weapons development which introduces a set of measures to liberalize and regulate the weapons sector, including slashing restrictions on the types of arms that private firms are allowed to develop and piloting commercial services for military procurement in the aerospace industry.