At the recent Westminster Hearings (noted in this post ) it was interesting to see Hu Shuli, Editor of the crusading Caijing Magazine . Her comments on “Innovation and China’s Future” included:
• China is not living up to into innovation potential, and that is at least in part, due to a lack of policy incentives.
• Better tax policies, financing options, and IPR protection will all be helpful, along with policies that penalize pollution and energy inefficiency.
• It is important for China to cut its reliance on foreign technology and to boost “independent innovation”. Around 90 percent of high-tech exports are currently made by foreign-invested firms.
• China needs more basic research. At present basic research accounts for around 6 percent of R&D, while 75 percent is focused on product development.
Hu raised some serious questions, and it will be interesting to se how far China can develop its own technology base. The country is committed to increasing R&D expenditure , and has big plans for high-tech projects, such as building passenger jets .
While few Chinese companies have had international success with technology (Huawei being one ), today’s technologies leaders would be wise to keep an eye on emerging Chinese competitors.