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China's Innovation System and the Move Toward Harmonious Growth and Endogenous Innovation


  • Shulin Gu
  • Bengt-Åke Lundvall


Observers around the world are impressed by the rapid growth of China’s economy. While outside observers tend to focus on the success story of unprecedented growth policy documents and recent domestic debates in China have pointed to the need for a shift in the growth trajectory with stronger emphasis on ‘endogenous innovation’ and ‘harmonious development’. This paper attempts to capture the current characteristics of China’s production and innovation system; how they were shaped by history and what major challenges they raise for the future. On the basis of the analysis the authors propose that it is possible to link together the two key concepts ‘endogenous innovation’ and ‘harmonious development’ by focusing innovation and development efforts in China on domestic needs, including social needs, rather than a one-sided focus on export-promotion and commodity production.

Suggested Citation

  • Shulin Gu & Bengt-Åke Lundvall, 2006. "China's Innovation System and the Move Toward Harmonious Growth and Endogenous Innovation," DRUID Working Papers 06-07, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:06-07

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bengt-ake Lundvall & Bjorn Johnson, 1994. "The Learning Economy," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 23-42.
    2. Arrow, Kenneth J, 1994. "Methodological Individualism and Social Knowledge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 1-9, May.
    3. Bj–rn Johnson & Edward Lorenz & Bengt-Åke Lundvall, 2002. "Why all this fuss about codified and tacit knowledge?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 245-262.
    4. Allan Næs Gjerding, 1996. "Organisational Innovation in the Danish Private Business Sector," DRUID Working Papers 96-16, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    5. Nielsen, Peter & Lundvall, Bengt-Åke, 2005. "Innovation, Organizational Learning and Job Creation," European Journal of Economic and Social Systems, Lavoisier, vol. 18(1), pages 79-97.
    6. Ake Lundvall & Bengt, 2003. "Why the new economy is a learning economy," ECONOMIA E POLITICA INDUSTRIALE, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2003(117).
    7. Reinhard Lund & Allan Næs Gjerding, 1996. "The Flexible Company Innovation, Work Organisation and Human Ressource Management," DRUID Working Papers 96-17, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexandros Flamos & Katherine Begg, 2010. "Technology transfer insights for new climate regime," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 19-33, February.
    2. Mark Dodgson, 2009. "Asia’s national innovation systems: Institutional adaptability and rigidity in the face of global innovation challenges," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 589-609, September.
    3. Niu, Xiao Si, 2014. "International scientific collaboration between Australia and China: A mixed-methodology for investigating the social processes and its implications for national innovation systems," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 58-68.
    4. Li, Xibao, 2009. "China's regional innovation capacity in transition: An empirical approach," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 338-357, March.
    5. Gao, Xia & Guo, Xiaochuan & Sylvan, Katz J. & Guan, Jiancheng, 2010. "The Chinese innovation system during economic transition: A scale-independent view," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 618-628.
    6. Bengt-åke Lundvall, 2012. "One Knowledge Base or Many Knowledge Pools?," Chapters,in: Handbook of Knowledge and Economics, chapter 13 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Karakosta, Charikleia & Doukas, Haris & Psarras, John, 2010. "Technology transfer through climate change: Setting a sustainable energy pattern," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 1546-1557, August.
    8. Dobson, Wendy & Masson, Paul R., 2009. "Will the renminbi become a world currency?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 124-135, March.
    9. Watkins, Andrew & Papaioannou, Theo & Mugwagwa, Julius & Kale, Dinar, 2015. "National innovation systems and the intermediary role of industry associations in building institutional capacities for innovation in developing countries: A critical review of the literature," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(8), pages 1407-1418.
    10. Alberto Di Minin & Jieyin Zhang, 2010. "An Exploratory Study on International R&D Strategies of Chinese Companies in Europe," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 27(4), pages 433-455, July.

    More about this item


    China; economic growth; R&D; innovation systems;

    JEL classification:

    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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