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China's development of an innovation-driven economy - An intermediate assessment

: Frietsch, Rainer; Kroll, Henning; Jonkers, Koen


Innovation and Development Policy : IDP 1 (2019), Nr.2, S.85-103
ISSN: 2096-5141
Fraunhofer ISI ()
innovation-driven; China’s development; intermediate assessment

China’s economic, technological and scientific achievements of the past years and decades are impressive. However, the country’s policy makers have even higher aspirations and therefore set up a number of policies to tackle the threat of the so-called middle-income-trap. This paper describes and discusses some of these policies, of which the Innovation-Driven Economy Development Strategy is seen as the backbone of current Chinese STI policy. The level of achievements as well as the expected developments is put into perspective by selected empirical data. We conclude that China’s industry will further improve its competitiveness in several sectors in the coming years. Western representatives need to wave good-bye to the ideas that China assimilates. At the same time, the era of the “land of gold” when China provides the world with low-cost products and buys high-tech goods from Western companies is over. However, if China intends to become a reputable member of the international STI community, the country should develop actively the nowadays often-demanded ‘level-playing field’. This would not only mean that China needs to accept and implement internationally agreed rules and institutions. It would also mean vice versa that Westerners accept the differences in the systems, the Chinese Way as well as the Chinese ‘market economy’, which is not meant to be the same like in Europe or North America.