China has made huge progress in science and technology in the last few decades. The Eastern nation is making rapid transformation into an innovation powerhouse and for the first time, it has broken into the top 20 of a global list of the most innovative economies.
This new age of innovation has seen the birth of ‘unicorn’ tech companies like media giant Tencent, the ‘Uber of China’ Didi Chuxing, and the world’s biggest drone builder, DJI.
The latest Global Innovation Index singles out China for its rapid transformation into an innovation powerhouse. It has risen consistently up the rankings, in 2015, it was in 29th place, the following year it rose four places to 25th place and in 2017 up three places to 22nd.
Key drivers behind this upward trend include a high level of spending on research and development and the high number of patent applications made by Chinese companies and institutions.
China’s innovation trajectory has been dynamic, says the report, which is compiled by the INSEAD business school, Cornell University and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
The report finds that China has the highest concentration of researchers, the highest number of patent applications submitted, and the number of scientific and technical publications is well ahead of the US.
Meanwhile, the latest figures (2016) from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics shows China has 1,200 researchers per million inhabitants, and a total of around 1.6 million researchers.