China edges closer to top 10 on global list of most innovative economies

23-Sep-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 5:02 AM Print This Post

China moved closer to cracking the top 10 in the latest Global Innovation Index, with outstanding marks in hi-tech exports and patents. However, its overall score was held back by weaknesses in the institutional and regulatory environments.

Hong Kong, meanwhile, slipped in the annual ranking, published by the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo).

China jumped two places from last year to 12th among the 132 economies graded according to innovation capabilities by Wipo. It was also the highest-ranked middle-income economy on the 2021 list released on Monday, after breaking into the top 15 in 2019.

Topping the index were Switzerland, Sweden and the United States, with South Korea and Japan both in the top 10, while Hong Kong dropped three places to 14th.

China has in recent years placed a growing emphasis on investments in science, technology and innovation, including through its “Made in China 2025″ initiative, pushing high-quality development to realise its aim of becoming a global hi-tech powerhouse, particularly as strategic rivalry with the United States has deepened.

The Global Innovation Index, which measures countries based on around 80 indicators, said China scored well this year in its knowledge and technology outputs, including in the number of patents filed and in the percentage of hi-tech exports in its total trade.

Other strengths noted in China’s innovation ecosystem included the percentage of firms offering formal training, the diversification of its domestic industry and its showing in the QS World University Rankings.

However, the index marked China as lagging behind in the quality of its institutions, along with concerns over its regulatory, business and political environments.

The country also lost points on foreign direct investment inflows as a percentage of national GDP, environmental performance, and the creative film, media and printing markets.

Hong Kong, on the other hand, facing political and regulatory uncertainties since the imposition of a vague but broadly applied national security law last year, ranked well in creative goods and services, and market sophistication, but slumped in areas such as education spending, labour productivity growth and knowledge diffusion.

Wipo said this year’s index measured how many governments had scaled up investments and innovation despite the economic slump caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, citing the rapid development of coronavirus vaccines as a key example.

In 2020, scientific output, spending on research and development, intellectual property filings and venture capital deals continued to grow, it said.

“In spite of the massive impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on lives and livelihoods, many sectors have shown remarkable resilience especially those that have embraced digitalisation, technology and innovation,” said Daren Tang, the director general of Wipo.


Category: China

Print This Post

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.