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Innovation in China: Challenging the Global Science and Technology System

Innovation in China: Challenging the Global Science and Technology System

Richard P Appelbaum, Cong Cao, Xueying Han, Rachel Parker, Denis Simon

ISBN: 978-0-745-68960-9

Sep 2018, Polity

200 pages


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China is in the midst of transitioning from a manufacturing-based economy to one driven by innovation and knowledge. This up-to-date analysis evaluates China's state-led approach to science and technology, and its successes and failures.

In recent decades, China has seen huge investments in high-tech science parks, a surge in home-grown top-ranked global companies, and a significant increase in scientific publications and patents. Helped by a flexible business culture, state policies that favor domestic over foreign enterprises, and a still-immature intellectual property rights system, the country has been able to leapfrog its way to a more globally competitive position in the international division of labor.

However, the authors argue that this approach might not yield the same level of progress going forward if China does not address serious institutional, organizational, and cultural obstacles. Since many of these are ingrained into the fabric of China’s prevailing culture from the days of state planning and top-down government policy, they will require significant structural change to enable China to truly transform its innovation system. While not impossible, this task may well prove to be more difficult for the Chinese Communist Party than the challenges that China has faced in the past.

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  • Introduction: From the World’s Factory to the World’s Innovator?
  • Chapter 1 - China’s Science and Technology Policy - A New Developmental State?
  • Chapter 2 - Science and Technology in China: A Historical Overview
  • Chapter 3 - China’s Science and Technology Enterprise: Can Government-Led Efforts Successfully Spur Innovation?
  • Chapter 4 - China’s International S&T Relations: From Self-Reliance to Active Global Engagement
  • Chapter 5 - How Effective Is China’s State-Led Approach to High-Tech Development?
  • Chapter 6 - Xi Jinping’s Chinese Dream: Some Challenges
"This highly important work gives us insightful analysis founded on a tremendous depth of scholarship and interviews.  It is the most comprehensive account of China's innovation system through a western lens. Innovation in China should be required reading for anyone in governments, companies or research organisations that have engagement with Chinese partners."
Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, Senior Fellow, China Institute, University of Alberta

"In their new book, Innovation in China, Richard Appelbaum and his colleagues are offering a comprehensive and masterful account of China’s innovation system, its working, and its impacts (for better and worse). A must read for those who care about innovation, China, or both.”
Dan Breznitz, University of Toronto