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Chinese innovation draws international attention at the WEF

Updated: Jan 25,2015 3:01 PM     Xinhua

DAVOS, Switzerland — Many renowned experts spoke highly of Chinese innovation, technology, research and creativity at the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) in Switzerland, citing China’s rapid achievements in these areas.

Pedro Sander, an associate professor from University of Hong Kong, stressed the positive changes in China’s research environment, including improved working conditions and greater incentives for researchers to travel to China and work at universities.

“Some well-known graphics went back to China to work even in research labs like Microsoft or in universities where they can build up their own groups and work on any projects they want. So it’s very open and there are a lot of collaborations with outside as well,” said Sander.

He said: “there is a big interest to learn about technology, and the government is trying to get people back, their goal is to establish big research groups.”

Philip Jennings, general secretary of UNI Global Switzerland said that every nation should have the capacity for innovation in order to develop and to be competitive in the world of information and technology.

“I think this is logical and normal, and we’ve seen it certainly in China,” Jennings said, “what I think is that it’s important that how you adjust your labor market, how you keep Chinese workers with the skills that they can also be productive and to help in the innovation process.”

On labor market, Jennings said that “on the supply side of the labor market, the development of skills, the improvement of skills, if you take someone from the land into a factory doing repetitive work, then perhaps the level of training required is not as demanding as a worker who all of a sudden has to apply new technology, has to get involved in the world of robotics, getting involved in all the side of applications. It requires new investment, development and training of skills.”

Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute highlighted that development of technology in China is important on a global level.

“It’s in everybody’s interest that China’s talent, its human talent, is used for both development and science, and it is a great thing to see these developments in the private sectors, in companies like Alibaba and Huawei,” he said.

Posen told Xinhua that there have been questions over the fact that, out of the pool of Chinese-produced designs, not all are world-class. Over the years, however, more and more achieve that status.

Italian entrepreneur Mario Moretti Polegato, CEO of fashion brand GEOX, provided Xinhua with examples of the Chinese dynamism and circulation of ideas.

“I was informed that the patent office in Beijing at this moment is very crowded, there are lines of hundreds of people going to deposit ideas and patent,” Polegato said, adding “Chinese intelligence at economic level is also presented at creativity management level.”

“We don’t have to forget that many Chinese students studied abroad in Britain or the United States...We, as Europeans, think to be still the best on this field but we have to recognize that China is investing a lot on creativity and innovation,” said Polegato.

Polegato explained that discovering and witnessing innovation in the past meant a trip to New York or London. Today, these same driving forces are bringing countless people to Shanghai.

China invited and attracted world-class architects. They are the brains behind incredible designs like the Beijing and Shanghai airports, and the high-rise hotels that seem to touch the sky. China is putting in place all the existing modern art in terms of construction, he said.

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