China's State Council on Wednesday announced a string of new policies to encourage innovation as the country seeks to foster new engines for growth.
China will set up three new "national innovation demonstration zones" in the provinces of Henan, Shandong and Liaoning, bringing the number of such areas to 14, according to a statement issued after a State Council meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.
The zones, including Beijing's Zhongguancun, known as "China's Silicon Valley," and Shanghai's Zhangjiang high tech zone, have been created to pilot new ideas and development models for use nationwide.
Expansion of the program is aimed at fostering trailblazers for China's economic restructuring and transformation, according to the statement.
The State Council will test innovative reforms in China's financial hub of Shanghai over three years, including exploring new financial service models and simplifying foreign investment rules.
Government intervention will be further reduced to create an amicable environment for business start-ups and innovation, the State Council pledged.
To boost employment and sustain growth, the Chinese government has stressed the role of innovation and entrepreneurship in its 13th five-year plan. A wide range of measures has been unveiled, including financial support, facility construction and administrative assistance, for start-ups.
At Wednesday's meeting, the council also decided to foster city clusters centered around Chengdu and Chongqing to stimulate economic potential in western regions.