BEIJING, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has called on enterprises and officials to place priority on industrial upgrading and innovation, urging them to move "early rather than late" to ride through the global financial crisis.
Chinese companies should focus on adjusting product structure, improving quality and upgrading technologies in the face of economic woes, said Wen during a visit to enterprises in the northeastern Liaoning Province from Friday to Sunday.
Efforts should be especially stepped up to develop new products and foster intellectual property rights, while the government must cut burdens for enterprises and provide an easy environment for their innovation, said Wen.
"Intellectual property rights are in the heart of economic competition in modern times," Wen said, adding that the government must combine scientific and technological innovation with the bid to boost economic growth."
When visiting the Anshan Iron and Steel Group Corporation (Ansteel Group), a major steel producer based in Laoning's Anshan City, Wen told company officials to speed up phasing out obsolete technology and strictly control new capacity to curb oversupply in the steel industry.
Wen emphasized the implementation of the country's stimulus policies, including a 4 trillion-yuan (585 billion U.S. dollars) investment package unveiled in November.
"The work should start early rather than late so that we can take the initiative and see earlier effects," said Wen. "Once the time is missed, we may lose the relative initiative we're enjoying now."
In addition to the 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package, the Chinese government has also announced a plan to expand rural home appliance purchases and support plans for ten key industries such as steel and auto sectors.
China's economy cooled to a seven-year low of 9 percent last year as the global financial crisis took its toll.
Wen told local governments to carry forward the country's strategic reinvigoration of the old industrial bases in the northeast, which was started in 2003, saying the move laid a sound foundation for the region to tackle the current downturn.
He encouraged enterprises to "have a dauntless spirit" in the face of difficulties.
"With this spirit, all difficulties will be overcome and nothing can beat our country and our people," he said.
The Chinese government has set an 8 percent economic growth target for 2009.