Read How China & Other Countries Are Emerging as Tough Competitors for US in the Innovation Economy
The competitive challenge from East Asia has threatened the balance of the world’s inventive and creative power. Europe’s dynamism is fading and America looks vulnerable. Nations which are emerging might be termed the Western Pacific nations. These include Japan, China, and South Korea in the north and Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand in the south.
In past 20 years, Australia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan have all experienced a dramatic expansion in technological and scientific capabilities. In 2011, the combined R&D investment in public and private sectors within this zone exceeded that in North America for the first time. In 2009, total patent applications made via the PCT Route from applicants in these nations also exceeded those from North American applicants for the first time. But a significant proportion of the new innovative capacity in the region is attributable to China which has re-emerged as an innovation powerhouse.
• In the three provinces of China – Jiangsu, Shanghai, and Tianjin, business R&D spending exceeds that of Italy and Spain, not only in absolute terms, but even in per capita terms. Thus, there will be greater R&D investment in China than in the US.
• The country hosts more industrial researchers than Europe. Chinese authors already publish more scientific papers a year in the fields of physics and chemistry than American authors do.
• Shenzen, in China’s Guangdong province, has just surpassed Silicon Valley as the world’s most prolific cluster for international patent applications relating to information and communications technology.
• In 2013, there have been more patent applications made through the patent co-operation treaty involving Chinese inventors than there were involving German inventors.
• Two Chinese firms based in Shenzen – Huawei and ZTE – have recently joined the top five companies globally across all industry sectors by annual volume of international patent applications.