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China economy

China among 20 most innovative economies for the first time, report says

Global Innovation Index 2018 includes higher placing for China that ‘reflects its strategic direction’, while US drops out of top five

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2018, 1:20pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2018, 9:01pm

China joined the world’s top 20 most innovative economies for the first time while the United States fell out of the five top-ranked countries, according to a report released on Tuesday by one of its cosponsors, the United Nations’ intellectual property agency.

The Global Innovation Index 2018 keeps Switzerland in the No 1 spot, followed by the Netherlands, Sweden, Britain and Singapore. The US fell from fourth place in 2017 to sixth this year, while China jumped from 22nd to 17th in the rankings.

Francis Gurry, director general of the UN World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), said China’s ranking represented a breakthrough for its economy, which was rapidly transforming and prioritising research and ingenuity.

“China’s rapid rise reflects a strategic direction set from the top leadership to develop world-class capacity in innovation and to move the structural basis of the economy to more knowledge-intensive industries that rely on innovation to maintain competitive advantage,” Gurry said.

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Now in its 11th edition, the index ranks 126 economies based on 80 indicators ranging from the creation of mobile applications to education spending, scientific and technical publications, and intellectual property filing rates.

The index is sponsored by the WIPO, Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business in New York, and INSEAD, the graduate school of business with campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi.

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They say it gives global decision-makers a better understanding of how to stimulate innovation, which “drives economic and human development”.

The report said that “China’s innovation prowess becomes evident in various areas”, with some of its greatest improvements coming in global research and development companies, high-technology imports, the quality of its publications, and enrolment in graduate education.

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“In absolute values, and in areas such as research and development expenditures and the number of researchers, patents and publications, China is now first or second in the world, with volumes that overshadow most high-income economies,” it read.

The report stated that China’s rapid rise in the rankings over the last few years had been spectacular and that it showed the way for other middle-income economies – although only Malaysia, currently 35th in the rankings, continued to edge closer to the top 25.