Innovation, China Style – Dan Harris

From China Law Blog

Great guest commentary in today’s Wall Street Journal by Thomas Hout, a senior adviser at Boston Consulting Group‘s Hong Kong office. It is entitled, “Innovation, China Style,” and it effectively gives lie to those who believe China will eventually “take over the world.”

According to Mr. Hout, China is having considerable trouble moving from a production economy to an innovation economy. Though the Chinese government is “pouring money into research and development institutes and subsidies for Chinese companies . . . . the kind of innovation China wants can’t be bought — and the kind the country needs to acquire can’t be invented by the government.”

China still spends relatively less on R&D than either the United States or Japan. China spends 1.6% of its GDP on research and development, while the U.S. spends 2.6% and Japan spends 3.2%. Only 12% of all patents awarded to Chinese companies in China “are for genuine inventions” while the corresponding number for foreign companies in China is 80%.” I am not sure how genuine inventions is defined.[Full Text]


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