China has made great strides toward innovation and technology-driven economy in recent years. There are many firms that are emerging as global players in the technology arena, especially in the ICT sector, such as Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE, Tencent and Xiaomi (which has shaken the legendary smartphone makers – Apple and Samsung – through its disruptive innovation). There are even some world-class competitors in the automotive sector, such as BYD and Geely. China has also become one of the few global players in such technologies as high-speed trains and passenger aircraft.
China’s R&D spending had risen to more than 2 percent of GDP by 2013 and 2.1 percent in 2014 by estimation, which is above the average of the European Union countries, and China’s target is 2.5 percent by 2020. Its patent applications (both for residents and for nonresidents) exceeded 825,000 in 2013 and ranked No. 1 globally. China’s number of published scientific and technical journal articles exceeds that of Germany, Japan and the UK, and China now publishes about two-thirds as many as the United States. As a latecomer, China has made some remarkable achievements.
To strengthen its innovation efforts still further, China has launched the “Made in China 2025” initiative. In its recently published 13th Five-Year Plan, China has positioned “innovation” as one of its key objectives.
-- Douglas Zhihua Zeng, senior economist at the Financial and Private Sector Development Department of the Africa Region, World Bank