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China to add 3,000 ‘little giants’ this year to spur innovationBEIJING • China is accelerating its ambitious programme that supports start-ups in industries such as chipmaking and biotech, part of its effort to challenge the US in crucial technologies.The industry watchdog is ready to name about 3,000 state-level “little giant” start-ups this year to spur local innovation, Minister of Industry and Information Technology Xiao Yaqing said in a media briefing in Beijing yesterday. That would bring the total number to almost 8,000, marking the most aggressive expansion yet for what is President Xi Jinping’s latest attempt to add to China’s tech capabilities amid a fierce competition with the US.The designation allows startups to enjoy incentives while signalling to investors and employees that the companies enjoy Beijing’s special endorsement. The innovation capabilities, as well as sales and profitability of little giants has “clearly improved” compared to other companies, Xiao said.The government will help to create a better supply chain environment for those companies, he said. It will also encourage large companies to make their markets, technologies and talents accessible for such startups, Xiao said, without elaborating.The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has named 4,762 little giants since 2019, many in the semiconductor, machinery and pharmaceutical industries. The label typically comes with lucrative incentives from the central government or provincial authorities, including tax cuts, generous loans and favourable talent acquisition policies. — Bloomberg