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Research Underpins China’s Global Innovation Ranking

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China currently ranks 11th out of the world’s 132 economies and is the only middle-income country to make the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) top 20 Global Innovation Ranking for 2022.

The country was first in nine of the 80 criteria used by the list to assess innovation capacity, including domestic market size, the number of companies offering formal training, patients by origin, labour productivity growth, trademarks and industrial designs by source, and creative goods exports.

According to WIPO, China had the top 100 science and technology clusters for the first time. Meanwhile, Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou was the world’s second-most innovative sci-tech cluster, followed by Beijing in third place.

Many of China’s most significant achievements have been based on science and technology, including hosting the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, discovering new engines for socioeconomic growth, and completing the Tiangong Space Station.

“China’s science and technology sector has undergone historic and profound changes in the last decade. China has played an important role in global frontier science, technology, and innovation, as well as in jointly addressing global challenges,” noted Minister Wang Zhigang, minister of science and technology, in a video address to the Global Innovation Ranking 2022 launch ceremony. “China will facilitate opening and international cooperation, actively participate in the global innovation network, and foster larger and deeper collaboration in science and technology.”

Meanwhile, Hou Jianguo, President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, stated that a country’s essential science research capability is the foundation for supporting innovation and the foundation of China’s pursuit of self-sufficiency and self-strengthening in science and technology.

The academy would assist in optimising policies to support scientific research and regulations on cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and biotechnology, Create a more effective innovation mechanism, cultivate world-class scientists, and promote open science and international cooperation.

According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, the rapid growth of national high-tech development zones, which are the trailblazers of China’s innovation-driven development strategy, hosts 84% of the nation’s State Key Laboratories and 78% of its national technological innovation centres.

China had 173 national high-tech development zones last year, 84 more than in 2012. Meanwhile, high-tech development zones’ GDP increased from 5.4 trillion yuan (US$790 billion) in 2012 to 15.3 trillion yuan (US$2 trillion) last year. According to the ministry, these zones contributed 13.4% of China’s GDP last year while occupying only 2.5% of the country’s construction land.

According to Wu Jiaxi, deputy director of the ministry’s Department of Research Commercialisation and Regional Innovation, high-tech zones have proven to be resilient to risks. As a result, they have achieved growth despite global uncertainties in recent years.

According to Li Youping, deputy director of the Torch High Technology Industry Development Centre of the Ministry of Science and Technology, scientists and companies from high-tech zones have made numerous breakthroughs in strategic fields in recent years.

Among those achievements were China’s first artificial intelligence chip, the first quantum communications satellite, the first COVID-19 vaccines, high-speed rails, the C919 passenger jet, and the Beidou satellite navigation system.

Zhang Yuzhuo, then vice-president of the China Association for Science and Technology, said at a forum in November that the scientific community has made significant contributions to the healthy and inclusive development of the nation’s digital economy, which refers to the use of information and communication technologies to support business models and economic activities.

Tianhe-1, launched in October 2010, has become a valuable tool capable of handling more than 1,400 computing tasks concurrently, and approximately 1,000 research groups use the supercomputer daily.

Meng and his colleagues are working on the prototype of Tianhe-3, the nation’s supercomputer, which will handle more than one quintillion operations per second, making it many orders of magnitude more potent than Tianhe-1.

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