Beijing has set a bold agenda to double the number of Chinese patent applications in the next five years as the country sees them as rungs on the ladder to becoming an innovation superpower. The number of patent applications is expected to reach 14 per 10,000 habitants by 2020, compared with six this year and four in 2013. Average vetting time for invention patents will come down to 20 days by 2020, from 21.7 days this year and 22.3 days in 2013, a statement posted on the central government's website yesterday said. Improving the country's agricultural technologies, especially in grain production, is a major priority during the period, along with having more globally competitive enterprises with overseas patents. "We encourage more cooperation between seed companies and research centres, allowing them to build a trading platform to transfer the patents and lifting the value of intellectual property in agricultural technology," the government said. It did not elaborate on potential subsidies or other incentives to achieve the goal. The announcement comes after the easing of curbs on importing genetically-modified corn from the United States, with the two countries reaching an agreement in trade talks last month that would lift a ban on certain varieties of genetically modified organisms, which had been approved by the US but not by China. China accounted for a third of the world's patent applications in 2013, according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), suggesting that the world's most populous country is shifting to a knowledge-based economy. The number of Chinese patent applications rose 26.4 per cent in 2013, representing more than 32 per cent of global submissions. In contrast, Japan and Europe posted a decline for the same period. WIPO director general Francis Gurry said China was on a journey to becoming "created in China" from "made in China". Despite signs of more Chinese innovations, telecommunications equipment maker Huawei was the only Chinese company ranked in the top 100 US patent owners in 2013, according to a June report by the Intellectual Property Owners Association.