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China climbs to top 25 innovative economies

By He Yini | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2016-08-15 21:43

China climbs to top 25 innovative economies

China becomes the first middle-income country to join the ranks of the world's 25 most-innovative economies, according to the Global Innovation Index (GII) released on Monday.

The country's improved performance has notched the 17th place in "innovation quality", an indicator that looks at the caliber of universities, number of scientific publications and international patent filings.

This makes China the leader among middle-income economies for this indicator, followed by India which has overtaken Brazil, according to the report jointly released by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Despite China's rise, 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, and the United Kingdom again lead the ranking which have long been dominated by highly developed economies throughout its nine years of surveying the innovative capacity of 100-plus countries across the globe.

Fifteen of the top 25 economies in the GII come from Europe, including the top three. And among the GII 2016 leaders, four economies — Japan, the US, the UK, and Germany— stand out in innovation quality.

"Investing in innovation is critical to raising long-term economic growth," said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. "In this current economic climate, uncovering new sources of growth and leveraging the opportunities raised by global innovation are priorities for all stakeholders."

Statistics show global research and development expenditure grew at an annual pace of approximately seven percent before 2009, but slowed down to four percent in 2014, amid economic downturn in emerging economies and tighter R&D budgets in high-income economies.

"Investing in improving innovation quality is essential for closing the innovation divide," said Soumitra Dutta, dean of Cornell College of Business and co-editor of the report.

"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," Dutta added.

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