China surpasses US in key innovation metric, Washington report says
A study finds China has surpassed the US in one key measure of innovation and is making major strides in another, SCMP reported on Jan 24.
The study conducted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a non-partisan Washington-based think tank focused on US science and technology policy, found that China's innovation in 2020 was 139 percent of its US equivalent, up from 78 percent in 2010.
"China is evolving from an imitator to an innovator, following a path blazed by its Asian Tiger neighbors – but at a much larger scale, with far greater geopolitical results," said Robert Atkinson, the foundation's president, who co-authored the report along with research assistant Ian Clay.
The study also found that China has already displayed great potential for global leadership in several key areas, including supercomputers, space exploration, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and high-speed rail.
"Its innovation capabilities now threaten the global market share of firms from the United States and allied nations in most high-value-added, advanced industries that are important to US prosperity and security," Atkinson added.
The foundation has examined 22 innovation-related indicators between 2010 and 2020, including venture capital, patents and the amount of value added in advanced industries. It concluded that China was making significant gains by almost every indicator.
China's strongest inroads came in the number and quality of science and engineering articles, the number of patents worldwide related to a particular innovation – known as an international patent family – and the fees it received for its patents and other advances.
By 2020, China tallied more international patent families than the US and published more scientific articles in all fields surveyed, other than in geology, atmospheric and oceanic sciences.
China accounted for 39.6 percent of the 1.7 million patents granted globally in 2021, the World Economic Forum reported in December, followed by North America with 19.9 percent and Europe with 11.8 percent.