The New York Times
When Innovation, Too, Is Made in China
January 1, 2011
As a national strategy, China is trying to build an economy that relies on innovation rather than imitation. Clearly, its leaders recognize that being the world's low-cost workshop for assembling the breakthrough products designed elsewhere - think iPads and a host of other high-technology goods - has its limits.
So can China become a prodigious inventor? The answer, in truth, will play out over decades - and go a long way toward determining not only China's future, but also the shape of the global economy.
Clues to the Chinese approach emerge from a government document containing goals for drastically increasing the nation's production of patents. It offers a telling glimpse of how China intends to engineer a more innovative society.
The document, published in November by the State Intellectual Property Office of China, is called the ''National Patent Development Strategy (2011-2020).'' It discusses broad economic objectives, as well as specific targets to be attained by 2015. In a recent interview, David J. Kappos, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, pointed to the Chinese targets for 2015 and called them ''mind-blowing numbers.''
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