In 2017, Research and development (R&D) funding in China took second place in the world and the country itself took a leading position on patent applications with 1.36 million inventions by the end of last year. China is also the country with biggest number of scientists according to data from the Chinese Association for Science and Technology.

In China, nearly 1.36 million patents have been issued for inventions by the end of last year, which equals for 9.8 patents per 10,000 people, indicated by the registers of the State Intellectual Property Office. Most patents are in areas such as information technology and communications, where regular product and technology renovation is required. Followed by patents in electrical engineering, semiconductors, measuring instruments and medical equipment.

“For years, China has invested in leading science technology fields, such as infrastructure, high-speed railways, space and biotechnology, and it is time to collect the fruit of its work”, considers Prof. Zhang Ping, an intellectual property specialist at Beijing University.

“China has a large number of locally developed key technologies. In recent years, the quality of patents in these flagship spheres has improved significantly, but high-quality levels are still scarce”, he believes.

So far the Chinese business had a predominant reputation of a global imitator, but now it is trying to bet on innovation. This trend is qualified as “unusual and very interesting” by some intellectual property experts. In 2016, it was China that became the first country to file more than one million patent applications within only one year. This increases the likelihood of China becoming a leading global actor in the high technology sector.

Over the past 15 years, the Asian country has increased the number of filled patents above all because of political incentives. The central government in Beijing, as well as local authorities and provinces, distributes subsidies to those who work on this subject. In addition, the Beijing Government provides clear and concrete guidance on how much patents must be filled by the specific regions, cities and state-owned companies.