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Global technology leadership: The case of China

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  • Can Huang
  • Naubahar Sharif

Abstract

Over the last century and a half, global technological leadership has shifted from Great Britain to the USA. In this paper we argue that China is positioning itself to assume global leadership in technology within the coming few decades. We identify three sources of competitive advantage for China’s ascent in the global technology stakes: its massive domestic market, its centralized power and willingness to employ state-sponsored industrial policy and government support, and the process of globalization that continues to transform markets worldwide. After acknowledging skeptical views of China’s capacity to achieve global technology leadership, we survey the present state of affairs and assess its prospects for growth based on statistical evidence and multiple examples. We argue that the three sources of competitive advantage we explicate offer China a path to imminent global technological leadership.

Suggested Citation

  • Can Huang & Naubahar Sharif, 2016. "Global technology leadership: The case of China," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(1), pages 62-73.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:scippl:v:43:y:2016:i:1:p:62-73.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/scipol/scv019
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
    2. Huang, Can & Jacob, Jojo, 2014. "Determinants of quadic patenting: Market access, imitative threat, competition and strength of intellectual property rights," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 4-16.
    3. Nelson, Richard R., 1990. "U.S. technological leadership: Where did it come from and where did it go?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 117-132, April.
    4. Abramovitz, Moses, 1986. "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(2), pages 385-406, June.
    5. Eaton, Jonathan & Kortum, Samuel, 1996. "Trade in ideas Patenting and productivity in the OECD," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-4), pages 251-278, May.
    6. Brandt, Loren & Thun, Eric, 2010. "The Fight for the Middle: Upgrading, Competition, and Industrial Development in China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 1555-1574, November.
    7. Nelson, Richard R & Wright, Gavin, 1992. "The Rise and Fall of American Technological Leadership: The Postwar Era in Historical Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 1931-1964, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jugend, Daniel & Fiorini, Paula De Camargo & Armellini, Fabiano & Ferrari, Aline Gabriela, 2020. "Public support for innovation: A systematic review of the literature and implications for open innovation," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 156(C).
    2. Xing, Jack Linzhou & Sharif, Naubahar, 2020. "From creative destruction to creative appropriation: A comprehensive framework," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(7).
    3. Naubahar Sharif, 2018. "Can China Stay Ahead in the Global Patent Race?," HKUST IEMS Thought Leadership Brief Series 2018-24, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Oct 2018.
    4. Naubahar Sharif, 2016. "China as the World’s Technology Leader in the 21st Century: Dream or Reality?," HKUST IEMS Thought Leadership Brief Series 2016-11, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Feb 2016.
    5. Sun, Yutao & Cao, Cong, 2018. "The evolving relations between government agencies of innovation policymaking in emerging economies: A policy network approach and its application to the Chinese case," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 592-605.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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