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Daily Archives: May 20, 2010

China took off in science R&D

Given China's size and its high sustained economic growth for the past three decades,  China's research (R&D) power has also grown to a level that is beyond its current income level and into the world's top league.

Following my previous post, "Is China rising as a science superpower?" , here is another post on the same issue.

First graph shows China's share of research publications in the fields of natural science (source: R&D Magazine).

While China is long perceived as the "haven for piracy" of intellectual property rights (IPR), China has been increasing its legal protection of IPR and firms (both foreign and domestic) are filing for patents at an astonishing rate.

Both the growth and the absolute number of patent filings in China have been much greater than other emerging economies.

China's total R&D as a percentage of GDP passed 1% level around year 2002, a level widely perceived as a threshold for a country's science and technology  to take off.

Here is another graph from Gary Jefferson on the longer historical perspective for science & technology takeoff:

(click graphs to enlarge)

In this financial crisis, China's export sectors got hit very badly.  On the optimistic side, this crisis-led creative destruction process will however expedite China's shifting away from the low-end, low-profit-margin business, into more skill-based, value-added sectors. It's reasonable to predict this fast growth in China's R&D will continue in coming years.  And within one decade or so, China will rise as a true science superpower.