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Interview: Innovations set to help increase China's economic growth: Expert

(Xinhua)    12:36, April 12, 2015

GENEVA, April 11 -- Figures have shown that two out of the top three international companies which registered the most patent applications via the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2014 are Chinese businesses.

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. took first place with 3,442 published Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications, followed by the U.S.' Qualcomm Inc. with 2,409 applications and Shenzhen-based ZTE Corp. with 2,179 applications.

"This isn't surprising when looking at the economic performance of China, the U.S., Japanand other European countries as patent filings vary with the business cycle," WIPO Chief Economist Carsten Fink told Xinhua.

This is good news for China given that "patents are an outcome of innovative activity, so today's innovations sow the seeds for tomorrow's economic growth", said Fink.

WIPO's PCT enables applicants to seek international patent protection for inventions and innovations in 148 countries and regions around the world.

WIPO's data indicates that some 215,000 applications were filed under the treaty in 2014, marking a 4.5 percent increase over 2013.

According to WIPO, China ranked third in total patent applications, with 25,539 applications filed last year, following the U.S with 61,492 applications and Japan with 42,459 applications.

This represents an 18.7 percent annual increase for China, the highest annual growth of all countries for 2014.

WIPO's report also shows that China and the U.S. accounted for 87 percent of the total growth in patent filings last year.

Though China's domestic patent applications took off in the 1980s, the country's global patent involvement harks back to the early 2000s, according to the Chief Economist.

"Since 2002 especially, China has seen an average growth of around 30 percent per year under the PCT system," he said.

This increase in patent applications reflects China's desire to add the "created in China" label to the well-established "made in China" label, according to Fink, who underlined the significance of this shift for China's economic growth.

For global companies such as Huawei and ZTE, "having a strong international patent portfolio is of strategic importance if they want to remain globally competitive", Fink stated.

This is particularly crucial in digital communications, as technological innovations form the backbone of leading digital companies.

According to WIPO, digital communication accounted for two-thirds of all PCT applications filed by Huawei in 2014. Similarly, over three-fifths of all filings made by ZTE were digital communication-related.

This mirrors China's intellectual property profile, as digital communication and computer technology form the bulk of China's filings, indicated Fink.

He also added that China sees substantial patent activity in most technological fields, including electrical machinery, apparatus and energy, medical technology and measurements.

According to analysts, China's diversified innovation system, as well as the international outlook of major Chinese companies, make China increasingly relevant in the intellectual property arena.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Sun Zhao,Bianji)

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