Fueled by the government’s strong emphasis on an innovation-driven economy, China for the first time joined the world’s top 25 most-innovative economies, said a report released by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization on Aug 15.
The report showed that China ranked 25th in the Global Innovation Index, up from 29th in last year’s ranking.
The report stressed that China’s new ranking marks the first time that a middle-income country has joined the club of the top 25 most-innovative economies, which had been dominated by highly developed economies.
The report said “China’s progression reflects the country’s improved innovation performance as well as methodological considerations, such as improved innovation metrics in the index”.
Despite the rise, the report said an “innovation divide persists between developed and developing countries amid increasing awareness among policymakers that fostering innovation is crucial to a vibrant, competitive economy”.
Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and Finland are the top five innovation performers worldwide, said the study, which scored each country based on 82 indicators.
Soumitra Dutta, dean of Cornell College of Business and co-editor of the report, said in a statement: “Investing in improving innovation quality is essential for closing the innovation divide.
“While institutions create an essential supportive framework for doing so, economies need to focus on reforming education and growing their research capabilities to compete successfully in a rapidly changing globalized world,” he said.
Among the innovation leaders rated by the research, Japan, the US, the UK and Germany are the top four countries in order of “innovation quality”, which is the most critical indicator, that looks at the caliber of universities, the number of scientific publications and international patent filings.
China this year climbed to the 17th place in innovation quality, making it the leader among all middle-income economies for this indicator.
China’s progress in innovation is in line with government support.
Liu Dong, managing director of the Beijing-based Accenture Technology Labs, said in a previous interview that “the government is placing more and more emphasis on innovation as the country looks for ways to produce products with larger added value”.
Premier Li Keqiang highlighted entrepreneurship and innovation as the new engines to spur the country’s economic growth in the Government Work Report in 2015.
The government has since unveiled dozens of measures to support grassroots entrepreneurs, including offering them tax breaks and helping them in funding their businesses.