OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy: China 2008

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OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy offer a comprehensive assessment of the innovation system of individual OECD member and non-member countries, focusing on the role of policy and government. The Chinese government has launched a national strategy to build an innovation-driven economy and society by 2020. Will China be able to succeed in making this challenging transition? This report assesses the current status of China’s national innovation system and policies, and recommends improvements required in both the policy and institutional environments for China to succeed in promoting innovation through a market-based approach.

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China and the Globalisation of Research and Development

The geography of research and development (R&D), and of knowledge more generally, is changing. In the past, developed countries or regions – primarily Europe, North America and Japan – dominated global R&D activities; today developing countries are investing in and carrying out R&D on an increasing scale. Some of these countries also increasingly attract foreign investment in R&D. This trend is reflected in a growing share of academic publications and patents from the so-called developing world, but also in the increasing scale of R&D activities performed by foreign firms in countries such as China and India (Archibugi and Pietrobelli, 2003; Narula and Zanfei, 2005). The internationalisation of higher education and the greater mobility of professionals, many of whom circulate in the United States, Europe, India and China, have contributed considerably to the globalisation of R&D and of innovation (Walsh, 2003; UNESCO, 2006; Saxenian, 2006). Several recent surveys of multinational enterprises (MNEs) confirm this trend and identify China as one of the most attractive countries for future investment in R&D (A.T. Kearney, 2006; Thursby and Thursby, 2006; UNCTAD, 2005).


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