InnovativeChina (IC) is an online media startup that through its group-edited blog InnovativeChina.com explores the latest developments regarding Chinese innovation. IC closely monitors Chinese innovative companies and stimulates trade between those companies and their western counterparts by facilitating a carefully selected, verified and up-to-date business directory.
Our Vision & Goal
The world’s manufacturer is restructuring its economy
China is currently changing at an unprecedented speed. Through the coming decade however, the country stands for one of its most important changes: the transition from the world’s manufacturer to the world’s innovator.
Right now there is no doubt that China has become the workshop of the world. As a result of this transformation, the country has developed reasonable infrastructure, sophisticated supply chains and has lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty in the last 30 years.
Despite spectacular economic growth, China has not been immune to the effects of the global financial crisis. Reliance on exports has caused China’s rate of economic growth to fluctuate significantly. During several months in 2012, the country’s growth rate even dropped below 8%, a percentage that was previously deemed critical for the internal social stability in the country. Furthermore, China’s internal market has failed to grow as quickly as the Party leaders in Beijing would have hoped. The general consensus therefore is that China needs to accelerate its plans for moving away from export-led growth and quickly start restructuring its economy.
Top priority: becoming the world’s innovator
As a result, encouraging domestic producers to be more innovative is one of the top priorities of the Party’s 12th Guideline (2011-2015). This five-year plan calls for “indigenous innovation” and includes a mixture of mandates to shift China from the world’s manufacturer to the world’s innovator. The Chinese government’s proposed approach to fostering domestic innovation is by subsidizing “strategic industries” and strong-arming foreign firms to transfer Intellectual Property to budding national champions. This process has already begun and China’s leaders are currently pouring billions of dollars into research and development.
What the critics say
There are some “China experts” who believe that this top-down governmental approach will fail in producing a truly innovative country. They state that this system of state capitalism only worked fine when the aim was to copy and adapt other countries/companies’ products and services. These critics point out that the state is not a good innovator and most of the invested funds are wasted on development, not pumped into research. As a result, critics say that it is currently too difficult for new Chinese ideas to transfer from the laboratory to the marketplace. In other words: real innovation is not possible in China.
What we believe
To some extent, InnovativeChina agrees with these statements. We do believe that a less top-down approach is necessary. This will give individuals and companies more freedom to experiment with ideas they think are viable instead of state selected ideas and sectors. However, we firmly disagree with those who believe that real innovation is not possible in China.
In fact, we have witnessed that the measures implemented in recent years are already start to pay off. For example, China not only has sent hundreds of thousands of their brightest brains abroad to study (160,000 Chinese studied in the US in 2011 alone), but they have also been successful in bringing talent back home to start high-tech businesses. Backed by a favorable economic climate these high-educated entrepreneurs now form the heart of China’s innovators. Companies like Tencent (with its WeChat app) and Xiaomi (with its recently launched M2 smartphone) are good examples of entities that started as “copy cats” but today must be seen as true innovators within their respective sectors.
Moreover, we agree with those who state that we need to broaden our definition of innovation when referring to Chinese innovation. Innovation does not only concern giant leaps but also includes very incremental creative improvements.
Like many endeavors in the Middle Kingdom, for innovation in China to be understood it must be approached from a Chinese perspective. If you do so, you will find out that at this particular moment, innovation is thriving in China. It is no coincident that KPMG’s global Tech Innovation Survey 2012 found that 44 percent of the global executives interviewed identify China as the next technology innovation center of the world.
How we monitor China in becoming the world’s innovation center?
InnovativeChina is among those 44% and truly believes that China will be the next hub for innovation. On InnovativeChina.com we closely monitor how China is taking the bumpy road towards this goal. We aim to be the go-to source to discover clear and insightful content regarding Chinese innovation and Chinese innovative companies. We deliver this content in three ways:
1. We curate news on Chinese innovation and Chinese innovative companies from a selection of high-quality sources. While writing these news briefs we primarily focus on 3 industry sectors in particular because we believe that most of China’s innovation is currently taking place in these sectors. These 3 selected sectors closely correspond with the earlier mentioned “strategic” sectors, as identified by the Chinese government:
- Online: Web | Social | e-Commerce | Video | Gaming
- Tech: Apps & Software | Dev & Design | Gadgets | Mobile
- Energy: Nuclear | Wind | Solar | Hydro | Bio-mass | Green Tech
Besides these 3 sectors we also cover news from other industry sectors such as the Automotive, Creative, Biotech, and Manufacturing industry. Moreover, we closely follow Policy news related to Chinese innovation.
2. In the ‘In-Depth’ section of the website we provide the reader with background stories related to Chinese innovation and Chinese innovative companies. Here people can find columns written by our opinion leaders, read academic articles and whitepapers related to Chinese innovation, access facts & figures reports, find infographics, read interviews and watch videos where experts give their opinion about where innovation in China is heading.
3. Lastly, InnovativeChina.com facilitates a business directory. In the ‘Companies’ section readers can find carefully selected and up-to-date business profiles of Chinese innovative companies. By searching companies by sector, name or region, readers can easily find reliable innovative business partners and access verified business data. In addition this section also provides information about Chinese startups. Our team of editors showcase China’s most innovative startups and monitor their progress.
What We Do
As we’re a website build around the concept of innovation we like to keep our readers up to date in the most advanced ways possible. Therefore we can be found on WeChat (scan our QR code), use RSS feeds and have a mobile-friendly version of the website. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Delicious and GoodReads. Every month we send out our InnovativeChina Newsletter. You can subscribe by clicking here.