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Spark Programme


At the end of the 1970s, the reform of economic institution first started in rural areas in China. Th e family output related contract responsibility system was established and has aroused the farmers' enthusiasm for getting rich through hard working and brought about a significant change to the production relations in the rural areas. Since the beginning of the 1980s, the township industries have developed rapidly and the rural economy has become active unprecedented. The specialization and commercialization of agricultural production have made the framers more and more aware of the importance of science and technology, and hence the requirements for sciences has widely emerged in the rural areas, In March 1986, the Chinese government started the reform of scientific and technological institution in the whole country, further clarifying the policy for the development of science and technology, "Economic construction must rely on science and technology and scientific and technological workers to be oriented toward rural economy, extend research achievements of science and technology to rural areas and help develop the rural economy China is a large agricultural country with the rural population occupying 80% of the national total , and to solve the problems of agricultural, rural areas and farmers is needed by realizing the modernization of China and promoting the development of rural productive force. In May 1985, the Ministry of Science and Technology submitted to the State Council a suggestion to "implement a batch of scientific and technological projects of quick benefit so as to promote local economy ", in which the proverb "A single spark can start a prairie fire " was quoted, hence came the name of Spark Progrmme, meaning that the spark of science and technology will extend over the vast rural areas of China. The Chinese government approved the implementation of this programme in early 1986.

The Spark Progamme is the first programme approved by the Chinese government to promote the development of rural economy by relying on science and technology and is an important component of plans for the national economic and scientific and technological development, The purpose of the programme is to introduce advance, appropriate technologies into the rural areas and lead the farmers to rely on science and technology of science and technology in the rural areas, promote rural productivity, and expedite the sustainable, rapid and healthy development of agriculture and rural economy.


1. Support a large number of technical projects that use rural resources, need small amounts of investment, have quick benefits and advanced and appropriate in technology.

(1) Establish demonstrative science and technology guided enterprises in order to guide township enterprises to develop healthily and provide demonstration for the adjustment of rural industrial and product structures;

(2) Develop a batch of complete sets of equipment appropriate for rural areas and township enterprises and organize batch production;

(3) Train rural technicians, managerial talents and farmer entrepreneurs;

(4) Develop high yield, high quality and highly effective agriculture and promote the construction of rural socialized service systems and the development of rural economy of scale.

2. Establish spark technology intensive zones.

They are demonstrative zones for comprehensive regional economic development of rural areas, that is, in certain economic areas, the quality and benefits of economic growth are realized based on the progress of science and technology according to the purpose of the Spark Programme, the elements of management, technology, talents and funds are integrated, the elements of production are funds are integrated, the elements of production are optimally allocated to form industries, the structure of products is rationalized, and progress is realized in all the aspects of economy, science and technology and society.

3. Develop spark regional mainstay industries. They are the industries in certain economic areas that develop, step by step , based on the progress of science and technology, play a guiding function for extending science and technology to rural areas on a large scale, develop the dominant products based on regional resource superiority, carry out intensive , appropriate scale and industrialized management and occupy a considerable proportion in regional economy.

4. The implementation of the Spark Programme has attracted attention of many countries, in particular developing countries, foreign countries and international organization, such as UNDP, ESCAP, the World Bank and EEC, MAKE CONTACT WITH THE Chinese government on this programme, the loan from the World Bank in support of this programme in 1991 has resulted in significant benefits. The implementation of the Spark Programme has gained support internationally and the advanced technologies and products of the programme have been exported to and are popular in various places in the world. The Spark enterprises have a sound environment for investment and foreign capital is welcome to invest in the programme, The experiences of success of the Spark Programme have been consulted by many countries, in particular leaning their experiences of management of medium and small sized enterprises and technical development, and learning and importing advanced, appropriate technologies and equipments fit for rural development, The Spark Program will also conduct more extensive cooperation and exchange with foreign countries and international organizations to make joint contribution to the prosperity and progress of the world.


The overall goals of the programme are to guide the rural areas to get onto the track of development based on the progress of science and technology and the improving of laborers' quality, help the rural areas to realize the goals of rich material life, developed public utilities and synchronous development of material and cultural civilization and construct socialist, modernized new rural areas.

1. The Development Objectives of the Programme for Year 2000

(1) Totally bring up 300 rural regional mainstay industries with main technical economic indexes reaching the advanced level of same industries in the country, in which 100 each have more then 1 billion yuan of annual output;

(2) Establish 100 national level spark technology intensive zones and make the rate of science and technology progress contribution reach 50%

(3) Totally train 30 million man times of rural practical technology and managerial personnel and emphatically bring up 5,000 township entrepreneurs and rural economy leading personnel ;

(4) Totally implement 100.000 middle level Spark projects, including 800 projects at the national level, with more than 90% of the national counties covered by the programme;

(5) Bring up a batch of Spark demonstrative enterprises adopting modern enterprise systems and international practices;

(6) Form few sectoral Spark enterprise groups;

(7) Develop a number of famous brands Spark products holding certain shares in domestic and foreign markets; and

(8) Produce 500 billion yuan of annual added value and 50 billion yuan of tax and profit, and produce or save US$ 10 billion.

2. Focal Fields of Technical Development in the Ninth Five Year Plan Period

During the Ninth Five year Plan period, the Spark Programme will follow the principles of management by level, guidance by kind and stressing key fields while paying attention to others and emphatically support ten fields of technical development in the country as follows:

Crop planting, breeding, deep processing of agricultural products, agricultural chemical industry, new agricultural equipment, light and textile industries, rural building materials, industries as support to major industries, environmental protection, development of mineral resources.


Management by the four levels of the state, province (including province, autonomous region and ministry) prefecture and county is implemented for the Spark Programme, The Office of Spark Programme in the Ministry of Science and Technology is the department in charge of the overall management of the Spark Programme in the country, responsible for the formulation of related general and specific policies, development strategies and medium to long term development plans and the national annual plans for the Spark Programme, and responsible for the guidance and coordination of the implementation, The departments for the management of the Spark Programme in the science and technology commission of provinces, prefecture and counties are responsible for the formulation of related general and specific policies, development strategies and medium to long term development plans for the Spark Programme of the region, department or sector and responsible for the management work such as organization of evaluation and application of project..

The Spark Programme sticks to standard of selecting advanced and appropriate technologies and selects projects for the programme according to the principle of advanced technologies, small amount of investment and quick benefits. Usually, it is an enterprise that applies for and assumes the project, but the enterprise must guarantee that there are one to tow research agencies, The funds of the Spark Programme are mainly raised at local levels, dominated by loans, and the state provides appropriate amounts of fund to serve as guide.


1. To persist in taking the Spark Programme as one of the governmental actions and strengthen the governmental leadership and coordination;

2. To expand sources of technologies and promote the technical level;

3. To establish and improve market support systems;

4. To expand investment channels and increase investment;

5. To stabilize the teams for the programme and strengthen the management;

6. To consolidate and improve enabling policy systems;

7. To strengthen spark training and the research on soft sciences.


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