China has over 700 million active internet users today, and the number is still growing: That explains why the country has grown to become one of the world’s leading tech innovators.

The government has also tailored multiple innovation-based initiatives that encourage massive tech innovations across industries: e-commerce, fashion, fin-tech, and transport- you name it!

Not long ago, China was seen by many as a “factory” where tech devices are manufactured but not invented. That was the biggest misevaluation of China the world has ever made.

The fact was, and still is, that even though tech products from China are pocket-friendly, they aren’t of low-quality neither are they made of cheap material. They are of top quality and most of them are invented and designed in the country.

And now, with the increasing positive collaboration between the government, tech investors, and smartphone users, there are very high chances of China leapfrogging Europe and the US in all tech-related sectors.

China’s global innovation index

For the last 5 years, China has been ranked among the top 10 economies in regards to human capital and research, business sophistication, creative outputs, and knowledge & technology outputs.

The country is even outperforming seasoned big economies such as the USA, Netherlands, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Sweden. That’s according to The Global Innovation Index (GII) annual ranking scores

According to the 2017 GII score, China had spent up to USD $400 billion on Research and Development (R&D), translating to about 2.13 per cent of the country’s total GDP.

Of these, approximately USD$38.8 billion was financed by private businesses and state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

Considering the key role that R&D plays in the growth of technology and innovation, then it would be safe to say that China is making huge, positive strides towards becoming the dominant innovation hub in the world.

Improved patent system

Another key development in China that has enabled it to leap to the top of the global tech innovators’ chart is its strong emphasis on Intellectual property (IP) protections.

The government recently adopted newer, stricter patent laws that safeguard innovators intellectual property, consequently encouraging its citizenry to come up with new and vibrant ideas across the main sectors of the economy.

Also Read: China looks to private capital, open source technology for global tech game advantage

The National Patent Development Strategy that has been in force for the last decade introduced a national IP strategy that has seen the country’s total IP applications leap from approximately 160,000 applications in 2007 to more than 1.3 million a decade later.

China now accounts for over 40per cent of all IPs filed in the entire world.

Getting a share of this growth

Because China is leading the world in terms of technology, it is the dream of every entrepreneur to start a business there. But because of the country’s strict commercial laws, sometimes it is easier to start by partnering with a Chinese entity and then starting your separate operations later.

If you choose to try a joint venture in China, you stand to enjoy tons of accrued benefits. For starters, you will be partnering with a local Chinese entrepreneur who has enough experience in the local market.

Also, the government restricts the ownership of some key tech businesses to Chinese companies, meaning that you can only get a share of the lucrative tech industry if you are in a joint venture.

The application and registration processes are also lesser tedious when you have a Chinese colleague by your side.

Ways through which tech innovations are manifested in China

AI implementation

China is proving to be a bold country that will bring artificial intelligence to life. Although the US is the largest investor in artificial intelligence (China is second), it is the populous Asian nation that is showing the willingness to adopt AI-powered technologies faster and more boldly.

Baidu, a leading search engine in the country, for example, became the first-ever entity all over the world to launch an AI park. The park is located in Beijing.

More advanced social platforms

China’s WeChat social media app, for example, was the first in the world to introduce advanced features that simplifies its users’ lives in ways never witnessed before.

Also Read: Go-Jek investor Warburg Pincus sets up new US$4.25B fund for China, Southeast Asia

A good example is a feature that allows users to book doctors’ appointments. It is innovations like these that popular social apps in the western countries need to invest in.

Safer cashless payment methods

Chinese banks and credit card companies are using QR codes and phones to revolutionize mobile payment systems as we know them. Mobile money transfers in China are in excess of USD $10 Trillion today, up from £24m in 2012.

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Image Credit: Kido Dong