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China edges closer to top 10 on global list of most innovative economies

China moved closer to cracking the top 10 in the latest Global Innovation Index, with outstanding marks in hi-tech exports and patents. However, its overall score was held back by weaknesses in the institutional and regulatory environments.

Hong Kong, meanwhile, slipped in the annual ranking, published by the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo).

China jumped two places from last year to 12th among the 132 economies graded according to innovation capabilities by Wipo. It was also the highest-ranked middle-income economy on the 2021 list released on Monday, after breaking into the top 15 in 2019.

Topping the index were Switzerland, Sweden and the United States, with South Korea and Japan both in the top 10, while Hong Kong dropped three places to 14th.

China has in recent years placed a growing emphasis on investments in science, technology and innovation, including through its “Made in China 2025” initiative, pushing high-quality development to realise its aim of becoming a global hi-tech powerhouse, particularly as strategic rivalry with the United States has deepened.

The Global Innovation Index, which measures countries based on around 80 indicators, said China scored well this year in its knowledge and technology outputs, including in the number of patents filed and in the percentage of hi-tech exports in its total trade.


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