Quotes

Below you can find a selection of quotes from industry experts, politicians, and academics related to (the development of) innovation in China.

“The government is actively molding entrepreneurial innovation here all the way from loosening restrictions for new companies to reducing the annual audit requirement. Politics and innovation are actually aligned.”
- Andy Tian, CEO of mobile startup Asia Innovations

“Our sense today is that the pace of innovation in China is quickening and that a new spirit of innovation is spreading across sectors into universities and even into key departments of Chinese government.”
- Gordon Orr, Director and Chairman of McKinsey Asia

“The situation for innovation in China is the best today than it’s been in 20 years. There’s more talent able to create innovation. There’s more capital committed to innovation. More and more businesses understand the value they can create out of innovation. And people see there’s an ecosystem that works: if you innovate, you can be rewarded for innovating, and you can capture the value from innovation.”
- Gordon Orr, Director and Chairman of McKinsey Asia

“The return on innovation in China is getting higher and higher.”
- Gordon Orr, Director and Chairman of McKinsey Asia

“Economically and politically China has left the path of imitation, determined to become the innovation country of the world.”
- John Naisbitt, International best-selling author of Megatrends and China’s Megatrends; founder of Naisbitt China Institute

“In telecommunications, supercomputing, life sciences, non-fuel energy sources and “green-tech” in general, there is already a vibrant innovation/research and development (R&D) scene in China.”
- Dr. Georges Haour, Professor of Technology & Innovation Management at IMD

“The trend today is that Asian tech brands are leading some innovations in mobile and social media, partly due to the pace of change, fierce local competition, no legacy products, and huge, fast-growing domestic markets. That is quite the reverse of a decade ago, when the copy-to-China phenomenon of western tech ideas was full blown.”
- Rebecca Fannin, Journalst at Forbes; author of Silicon Dragon (2008) and Startup Asia (Oct. 2011)

“China’s ability to innovate is massively underrated, particularly in America.”
- Tom Standage, Digital Editor of The Economist and Editor-in-Chief of Economist.com

“There is an amazing amount of innovation going on here. Just in the areas I have been looking at, clearly in 3D printing there is quite a lot of interesting stuff happening in China. The biggest 3D printer in the world is in China, and what are they using it for? To build aircraft parts for the Chinese homegrown airliner that’s going to take on Boeing and Airbus. And Boeing and Airbus laugh at this going, ‘Don’t you know it takes decades to develop and we don’t have to worry about that’. This is what people said about Japanese watches and Japanese radios and look what happened–Sony took over that industry. This is all very much worth keeping an eye on, and I think there’s a real danger of complacency in the West when it looks at China.”
- Tom Standage, Digital Editor of The Economist and Editor-in-Chief of Economist.com

“There is an enormous amount of stuff coming out of China. America is still way ahead in terms of publications and so on, but just the sheer number of engineers and scientists being trained in China is mind-boggling. Ultimately I think that will turn into more innovation.”
- Tom Standage, Digital Editor of The Economist and Editor-in-Chief of Economist.com

“Again it is a sort of (notion) in the West that Chinese internet companies are all just clones of Western companies. That may have been true at one point, but actually many of them (do) some really clever things. Look at the way Alipay works, for example, or the way that Taobao differs from eBay. There are some very distinct Chinese characteristics that we could actually learn from elsewhere in the world.”
- Tom Standage, Digital Editor of The Economist and Editor-in-Chief of Economist.com

“China is regaining its historical position as a global innovation power. The China Innovation Survey, now in its second year, shows that innovators in mainland China are gaining rapidly in competitiveness compared with companies in Europe, United States, and other regions.”
- Booz & Company

“Companies in China have made great strides in building their innovation competitiveness, according to the 2013 China Innovation Survey. It will make further sharp improvements over the next several years.”
- Steven Veldhoen, Partner and head of China Innovation Center of Booz & Company

“As Chinese companies become more competitive in innovation, they increasingly worry about potential obstacles to further innovation growth. The survey shows that access to talent, retention of talent, and rapid cost increases are all key concerns for innovation in the future.”
- Bill Peng, Principal of Booz & Company

“…Chinese leaders will need to confront a fundamental question: How much are they willing to ease control, let markets operate more freely and encourage curiosity-based innovation? The more they pull back, the more they may reduce their ability to control society. The more they continue to dominate, the less they spur the kind of innovation that can create new technologies and industries.”
- Bob Davis, Senior Editor at The Wall Street Journal

“We’re at a big turning point from government-led investment to innovation based on free-market growth.”
- Cai Fang, Senior Economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

“Nearly every multinational is looking to China as a potential source of innovation.”
- Deloitte

“Hundreds of R&D centers have been established already [in China] with growing expectations for scientific and technological breakthroughs.”
- Deloitte

“China is now at such a crucial stage that without structural transformation and upgrading, we will not be able to sustain economic growth.”
- Li Keqiang, Premier People’s Republic of China

“China is implementing an innovation-driven development strategy at a faster pace, aggressively promoting technological innovation and integration of science and technology with the economy, and the country is building a social environment friendly to innovation and business start-ups”
- Li Keqiang, Premier People’s Republic of China

“Do not ignore the rising tide of IP and innovation in China. Some extremely importance advances in technology and business models are emerging here. The nations and companies that can respect China and its IP are the ones that will benefit most. The opportunities are staggering.”
- Jeff Lindsay, Head of Intellectual Property at Asia Pulp and Paper-China, and the lead author of Conquering Innovation Fatigue from John Wiley & Sons (2009).

“Within a decade it is expected that China will become a global leader in drug discovery and innovation.”
- KPMG

“Innovation is now a strategic objective for China; the question is not if Chinese companies will become leading innovators, but when. At “China speed,” and with government commitment, it’s likely to be faster than many think.”
- Huw Andrews & Stephen Kemper, PricewaterhouseCoopers China

“Without a doubt, the Chinese government is ready and willing to take the necessary steps towards embracing innovation”
- Bioassociate Consulting and Management Ltd.

“…it is clear that China will soon reach another superlative as the world’s top innovator. China’s innovation economy is here to stay and will continue to evolve into prominence.”
- Eve Y. Zhou & Bob Stembridge, Thomson Reuters

“E-tailing is fast becoming an area in which China could lead the world in innovation rather than relying on its historical labor cost advantage.”
- McKinsey Global Institute

“It turns out that Chinese shoppers are in a class by themselves, adopting the Internet as a retail channel much faster than their global peers and running ahead of the pack in terms of using new devices and social media. Chinese shoppers consistently use their PCs, tablets and smart phones to shop far more often than any other global shoppers in our survey. And, what’s more, they love doing it.”
- PricewaterhouseCoopers

“[The world's fastest supercomputer] Tianhe-2 is just one example of how China is becoming a more significant force in global science and innovation.”
- James Wilsdon, Professor of science and democracy at SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research), University of Sussex and blogger at The Guardian

“An ever-intensifying web of international connections has spread across every aspect of China’s innovation system: from joint academic research to technology transfer and licensing, FDI, mergers and acquisitions. As a result, the Chinese system is densely connected to sources of expertise elsewhere: in science, but also core technologies, design, management and branding.”
- James Wilsdon, Professor of science and democracy at SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research), University of Sussex and blogger at The Guardian

“Established strategies for piloting projects and educating leaders make China uniquely able to bring environment-benefiting innovations to gigascale.”
- Peggy Liu, Chairperson of JUCCCE

“Considerable innovation is occurring in China in both the business-to-consumer and business-to-business sectors. Although breakthroughs in either space generally go unrecognized by the broader global public, many multinational B2B competitors are acutely aware of the innovative strides the Chinese are making in sectors such as communications equipment and alternative energy.”
- Gordon Orr & Eric Roth, McKinsey Shanghai office

“With consumer spending power rising and an appetite for online purchasing already established and growing, China should surge ahead in terms of ecommerce innovation.”
- Gordon Orr, Director and Chairman of McKinsey Asia

“The US is still the world leader in science and technology, but as a new Nesta report and others have noted, Chinese capabilities are developing rapidly. China is on track to pass the US in terms of spending on research and development (R&D) in 10 years, and the share of scientific papers published by Chinese scientists in journals included in the prestigious Science Citation Index rose to 9.5% in 2011. China now boasts of a manned space programme and the world’s fastest supercomputer, the Tian-he 2.”
- Adam Segal, Maurice R Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations

“China, with its fast-evolving market, is becoming a hotbed of innovation.”
- Yi Ta Chng, CEO of ?WhatIf Asia! & Dr Xu Lin, academic partner and consultant at ?Whatif Asia!

“As Chinese companies are the ones leading the innovation race, multinationals should start learning from their local rivals. The best homegrown enterprises are street-smart innovators that rarely follow Western best practices, and it would do good for multinational corporations to shed them as well.”
- Yi Ta Chng, CEO of ?WhatIf Asia! & Dr Xu Lin, academic partner and consultant at ?Whatif Asia!

“While China has sometimes been accused of taking advantage of technologies invented elsewhere, and innovating mainly in production processes, the new data paint a different picture: Patents filed in China for renewable-energy technology (which includes patents filed by foreign inventors or companies) have shown dramatic growth over the last few years.”
- Jessika Trancik, assistant professor of engineering systems at MIT

“China is certainly closing the innovation gap with the US. But innovation tends not to respond to command-economy policies. Regardless of how much it spends, patents or publishes, China must first fix many things before it can hope to close that gap completely.”
- Gwynn Guilford, general reporter and editor for Quartz