Patent/trademark-related News in China (updated twice a month)
Huawei wins in Samsung patent dispute (2018-01-12)
Nation at forefront of intelligent ship design (2018-01-11)
Zhongguancun eyes AI science park (2018-01-05)
Anti-unfair competition law expands rights range (2018-01-04)
U.S. launches probe into solid state storage (2018-01-04)
Shanxi business wins US patent (2018-01-03)
TCL bets on 'intelligent homes' (2017-12-29)
Inventor battles to hold back desert sands (2017-12-28)
Laidian will charge up overseas expansion (2017-12-26)
1 in 5 IPR cases involved foreigners, says court (2017-12-21)
Google to open China AI center (2017-12-14)
'Right steps' point to a healthier China (2017-12-08)
IP service platform supports startups (2017-12-07)
A magnet for foreign investments (2017-12-07)
NEV battery glut posing challenges (2017-12-01)
Placing the chips on Artificial Intelligence (2017-12-01)
Talents speed up growth in Shenzhen (2017-12-01)
Intangible assets key component of value (2017-11-30)
Innovation hub finds new ways to woo talent (2017-11-17)
Qualcomm invests in 9 Chinese startups (2017-11-16)
China's first hydrogen vehicle unveiled in Shanxi (2017-11-15)
BOE Technology bets big on internet of things (2017-11-15)
Police in China, U.S. team up to stop fakes (2017-11-09)
Appliance patent battle 'heads for truce' (2017-11-07)
China's first IPR town set up in district (2017-10-20)
BAIC BJEV to host 10b-yuan innovation center (2017-10-20)
BOE to set up smart manufacturing base in Chongqing (2017-10-19)
Era of free downloads ends as China boosts IPR laws (2017-10-18)
Patent lawsuit turns up heat on Apple (2017-10-17)
Tapping growing potential of AI industry (2017-10-17)
Competition captures latest industrial trends (2017-10-16)
Good for China - and good for Africa (2017-10-15)
Automaker sees production, sales surge for NEVs (2017-10-12)
Huawei wins a victory in Samsung patent dispute (2017-10-12)
Delegate makes problem solving his mission (2017-10-12)
Scientists asked to get more entrepreneurial (2017-10-11)
China a powerhouse of innovation: UBS (2017-10-11)
China reaffirms commitments to IP law (2017-09-29)
Emerson praises nation's innovation-driven economy (2017-09-29)
Powering toward a clean energy future (2017-09-27)
AI will make robots smarter: Tech executive (2017-09-26)
18-year-old invents auto high-low beam switcher (2017-09-26)
High-tech transforms country's ties with Europe (2017-09-25)
Emerson boss salutes Chinese innovation (2017-09-25)
Young passion poured into indigo dye (2017-09-22)
Xiaomi's giant strides aim to recover lost ground (2017-09-22)
IPR protection boosts internet economy (2017-09-22)
Fighting China's counterfeits in the online era (2017-09-19)
China concentrates on sci-tech innovation (2017-09-18)
CETC speeds reform efforts (2017-09-16)
Domestic rivals make most of falling Apple (2017-09-16)
Electricity not always shocking (2017-09-15)
Mobike wins lock patent dispute (2017-09-15)
China steps up efforts to support innovation (2017-09-15)
High-value patents key to growing industry (2017-09-14)
The four major breakthroughs in modern China (2017-09-13)
Intellectual property progress (2017-09-12)
Mainland grows into nanotech power (2017-09-11)
Chinese happy to pay for content on web (2017-09-11)
New growth drivers expanding fast (2017-09-09)
China's patent operations more than 170,000 in 2016 (2017-09-06)
Reforms advanced to remove innovation barriers (2017-08-31)
Turning new ideas into actual products (2017-08-31)
Customs crack down on infringing exports (2017-08-31)
IPR courts concluded 33,000 cases in three years (2017-08-30)
China aims high in nanotechnology (2017-08-30)
Capital's key tech strategic engine (2017-08-28)
3-D printing 'is booming' (2017-08-25)
China goes up index's innovation rankings (2017-08-24)
Ford, Geely clash over U.S. brand names (2017-08-21)
Accord with Israeli university signed (2017-08-18)
Mobike defends its lock system in court (2017-08-17)
Experts call for IPR protection of online images (2017-08-13)
Lawyers work to resolve cross-border disputes (2017-08-10)
Turning smartphones into smart profits (2017-08-08)
New concepts optimize China's economic development (2017-08-08)
Red Bull license renewal causes rifts (2017-08-03)
Major State-owned miner strikes gold with innovation (2017-08-03)
Human-machine future seen in blink of an eye (2017-08-03)
Self-made cooling jacket a hit for Wuxi electricians (2017-08-01)
Cheetah Mobile wades into artificial intelligence (2017-07-31)
Regulation streamlines application for patents (2017-07-27)
Innovation-driven firms increasingly look abroad (2017-07-27)
New mega medical imaging plant rises (2017-07-25)
Firm fined for patent breaches (2017-07-25)
Patent use increases, but improvements still sought (2017-07-20)
Cradling an enterprise with the bottle (2017-07-14)
Zone pumps money into service providers (2017-07-13)
SF gets OK to use drones for air deliveries (2017-07-07)
Research results commercialized at Guangdong fair (2017-07-06)
Chinese characters go alphabetic (2017-07-06)
Huawei Technologies Co Ltd has won another patent victory in China over its South Korean competitor Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, amid increasingly fierce competition in the world's largest smartphone market.
The Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court ruled on Thursday in favor of Chinese smartphone-maker Huawei, issuing a ban on Samsung infringing the firm's intellectual property rights by manufacturing and selling products that use its patented wireless communication technologies.
Huawei's other litigation requests were rejected and Samsung holds the right to appeal to a higher court.
Samsung said in a statement that it always respects fair competition and the reasonable development of the industry, and fully values others exercising their patent rights. The company said it will deal with the ruling carefully.
Huawei said the court's decision reflected the continuous improvement of China's intellectual property protection environment. The company said it fosters industrial innovation and the healthy development of the industry by respecting and protecting intellectual property.
Huawei has launched a series of legal actions against Samsung in recent years, as the competition in China between two of the world's largest smartphone vendors has become more intense.
The Chinese smartphone producer filed lawsuits against Samsung in Shenzhen and California for patent infringements in 2016, alleging that some of Samsung's phone and tablet models use its technologies without permission.
In April 2017, the Quanzhou Intermediate People's Court in Fujian province ordered Samsung's Chinese subsidiaries to pay 80 million yuan ($12.3 million) to Huawei for patent infringement, and to stop manufacturing and selling more than 20 models from the Galaxy smartphone series.
The Quanzhou court's ruling marked Huawei's first victory in safeguarding its intellectual property in the local market.
"The reason for Huawei's patent dispute with Samsung lies in that it hopes to obtain reasonable business returns through patent licensing," said Li Junhui, an intellectual property researcher at China University of Political Science and Law.
Li said because Huawei holds some essential patents related to 4G technology standards, Samsung's defeat could also affect other smartphone manufacturers.
A recent shipwreck off the Shanghai coast has triggered discussions on the research and application of intelligent ship operation systems.
Changping, a cargo ship loaded with 5,000 metric tons of steel, collided with Xinwang 138, another cargo ship, after unmooring in Wusongkou at midnight on Jan 2.
The collision carved a big hole in the starboard side of the stern and the entire ship sank into the sea in only about five minutes, said Changping's first mate, one of the survivors.
As of Jan 6, three crew members had been rescued, two bodies had been retrieved and eight remained missing, according to Shanghai's maritime search and rescue center.
Experts said the likelihood of the tragedy would have been significantly reduced if Changping had been equipped with a more intelligent operation and maintenance system.
"Many of China's ports are becoming more crowded and the rate of ship collisions is higher due to the congestion," said Wang Cailian, a researcher from a Shanghai-based ship research institute of China State Shipbuilding Corp. "Modern and smart operation systems will enable the crew to discover malfunctions earlier and help decrease the likelihood of shipwrecks and collisions, by constantly monitoring the ship structure and equipment performance."
Among other functions, the system can measure the amount of water flowing into the ship and give timely warnings, as well as providing the best remedies and evacuation plans, Wang said.
Along with the rapid development of big data and artificial intelligence, vessels increasing their intelligent capabilities is becoming an inevitable trend.
On Dec 5, China launched its first self-developed smart ship at Marintec China 2017, an influential large-scale maritime exhibition. It is the world's first seafaring vehicle awarded the "cyber-safe", "cyber-perform" and "cyber-maintain" ship descriptive notes by Lloyd's Register, a leading maritime technical and business services organization and a maritime classification society.
The 38,800-ton bulk carrier, named Great Intelligence, was designed primarily by Shanghai Merchant Ship Design and Research Institute, and was built by Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province. It is a modified version of the well-known Green Dolphin fuel-efficient bulk carrier concept design.
The ship has more than 110 smart data analysis models and 34 patents, and its intelligent functions cover such fields as navigation and energy-efficiency management, said Li Xin, one of its designers.
The China Classification Society's Vice-President Sun Feng said at Marintec China that Great Intelligence showed that China is at the forefront of global merchant ship design and manufacturing, and also lays a solid foundation for China's research on unmanned vessels.
China is also working on its first smart crude oil carrier and hopes to launch the vessel by 2020.
Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co is undertaking a special project named Smart Ship 1.0 R&D assigned by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The very large intelligent crude carrier will be the most important goal of the project, according to the company.
China became one of the top five U.S. patent recipients in 2017 for the first time as the country also reported double-digit growth for its intellectual property sector last year internationally and domestically.
The number of international patent filings by China jumped 12.5 percent compared with 2016, and the number filed in China rose 14.2 percent on the previous year, according to Shen Changyu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office.
In the United States, last yearthe Chinese mainland increased its patent awards 28 percent over 2016, passing Taiwan to take fifth place, according to a report from the US Patent and Trademark Office (SIPO).
IBM remains in first place with 9,043 grants in 2017, up 12 percent -- its 25th year as the U.S. patent leader. Samsung is only 150 patents behind if all five divisions of the conglomerate are counted.
The US Patent and Trademark office issued 320,003 utility grants in 2017, up 5.2 percent from the previous year.
Government data show that the number of international filings from the Chinese mainland via the Patent Cooperation Treaty jumped to 51,000 last year, compared with 2016, and the annual applications for invention patents filed in the country topped 1.38 million.
Shen told an annual assembly in Beijing last week that the country has developed a batch of core technologies in such sectors as telecommunications, aerospace, aviation, high-speed trains and nuclear energy.
During the annual event, the IP heads of provincial regions and major cities across China shared their experiences of last year and set out what they would focus on in 2018.
Shen said the nation's growing participation in global innovation was marked by its increasing international collaboration with a wide variety of partners.
SIPO established a comprehensive strategic partnership with the European Patent Office, or EPO, and signed 52 bilateral and multilateral agreements in 2017.
Shen said the office is playing an active role in advancing China-Mongolia-Russia cooperation in IP. It is also involved in the collaboration in patents and industrial designs with EPO and the patent offices in the United States, Japan and South Korea — as well as having strong links with the IP heads of members of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations.
"Our goal for 2020-35 is to develop China into an IP powerhouse and enable IP to become a robust engine to drive the country's innovation," Shen said.
To this end, SIPO is pressing ahead with reforms.
In 2017, Xiamen, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Changsha, Suzhou and Shanghai's Xuhui district were named pilot areas for comprehensive IP reforms, in an initiative that is seeking breakthroughs in integrating administrative services.
The SIPO top official also said his organization was encouraging local governments to put emphasis on their IP development. To date, 13 provinces and 14 cities have rolled out IP development plans, with SIPO's support.
"The IP system provides a fundamental guarantee for innovation and is common practice in international trade," Shen said.
It is conducive to creating an environment friendly to innovation and business and promoting a country's development and opening-up, he added. "We have made remarkable achievements in various IP areas over the past five years."
These achievements included strong new policies and legislation and initiatives in protection, management, international cooperation and infrastructure, which "had won acclaim in China and abroad".
A major part of these efforts was about increasing protection.
Punitive damages of up to three times a complainant's losses were introduced to the draft of revised Patent Law, as a beefed up check to counterfeits and piracy. The revision is pending a green light from the State Council, China's Cabinet, according to Shen.
Legislators are also looking at the feasibility of integrating IP into a civil code planned for full enactment in 2020.
Currently, there are 31 IP protection centers across the country.
The SIPO commissioner said his office's enforcement officials had worked closely with other departments, including the police and customs, to promote cross-regional protection.
Coordinated enforcement raids in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao area and the Yangtze River economic belt were exemplars of such cooperation, he added.
Special crackdowns on infringements in the e-commerce sector and the exhibition and conference industry in Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces were highlights of last year's local moves, hitting the headlines in the Chinese media.
Chinese researchers have developed a new testing method for the diagnosis of lupus, which could improve the accuracy rate to over 90 percent.
The new method uses DNA methylation detection to find lupus-specific information in genes, the first time researchers are able to elevate the diagnosis of lupus to the genetic level, according to Lu Qianjin, a professor with Central South University.
Lupus, technically known as systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE, is an autoimmune disorder that can damage the joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, brain and blood. It affects 1 million Chinese, and 40 to 70 of every 100,000 people worldwide.
"Early symptoms of lupus are often too general to be distinguishable, making accurate diagnosis difficult and depriving patients of timely treatment," Lu said. "The new method can accurately discriminate lupus from other dermatoses, with an accuracy rate of above 90 percent."
The breakthrough, made by Lu and his team after 20 years of research, was awarded Monday at the National Science and Technology Award Conference in Beijing.
The new testing method has been adopted by 23 hospitals in China, Lu said, adding that he had applied for patents for the technique both at home and abroad in hopes of benefiting more patients.
China made 1.38 million invention patent applications in 2017, a 14.2 percent increase year on year, an intellectual property official said Thursday.
Of the total applications, 744,000 patents have been handled and concluded, said Shen Changyu, head of the State Intellectual Property Office, told a meeting attended by intellectual property officials from across the country.
Under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, a total of 51,000 international patent applications were received in 2017, up 12.5 percent from the previous year, Shen said in a work report delivered at the meeting.
Shen said the number of invention patents on the Chinese mainland reached 1.35 million, meaning that for every 10,000 people there are 9.8 patents on average.
About 67,000 administrative patent cases were handled last year, increasing by 36.3 percent on a yearly basis, according to Shen.
Shen said the country should improve the production in IP to raise technology service quality.
"Protection of IP should be further strengthened to create a favorable market environment, while the application of IP should be strengthened to better support the real economy," he said.
He also asked for more international cooperations and exchanges on IP, to serve the country's policy of opening up.
China plans to invest a total of 13.8 billion yuan ($2.1 billion) in the Zhongguancun AI Science Park, a national technology park dedicated to developing the artificial intelligent industry, it was announced on Jan 2.
Miao Jun, president of Zhongguancun Jingxi Construction Co Ltd, the developer of the park, a company of Zhongguancun Development Group, said that the new AI park will be located in the suburban Mentougou district of western Beijing, will cover 54.87 hectares, and be completed in five years.
The park is expected to attract about 400 enterprises, with an estimated annual output value of about 50 billion yuan (about $7.7 billion).
Focus will be put on high-tech fields including super high-speed big data, cloud computing, biometric identification and deep learning. The park's technological infrastructure includes a fifth generation mobile network, a super computer and cloud services.
Cooperation between worldwide renowned universities, science research institutes and leading companies on building various research centers in the park including a national AI laboratory, a research academy and a technology platform is expected.
The first phase of project construction with an investment of two billion yuan should be finished by the end of 2018.
Zhongguancun is home to China's biggest and most powerful AI innovation power group. Official statistics show that there're currently 250 artificial intelligence enterprises with over 7,800 patents in Zhongguancun, both ranking first in China. Additionally, 42.9 percent of China's AI entrepreneurial enterprises are also from Zhongguancun.
By 2020, Zhongguancun is expected to form an AI super group that will encourage international competitiveness. For instance, many frontier technological achievements and AI international standards are expected to take shape in the next three years.
Trade secrets violators now face up to a 3 million yuan ($460,970) statutory fine, after the revised Anti-unfair Competition Law came into effect on Monday.
"Tough crackdowns on trade secrets breaches will help to create a business-friendly environment and promote businesses' healthy and sustained growth," Sun Jia'en, a legal expert in the field, told China Intellectual Property News.
Trade secrets cases are generally a complex matter, partly due to the difficulty of collecting evidence compared with other types of IP cases, said Sun, founder of trade secrets protection platform cnsymm.com.
The revision contributes to increasing awareness of and improving protection for trade secrets, he said.
Unlike the previous version, which came into force in 1993, a trade secret as defined in the latest update does not need to bring right owners "economic interests" or have "a practical application".
Instead, the new law places emphasis on trade secrets' commercial value and their competitive edge in the market. In this sense, it has expanded the protection range, Sun said.
If a company has poured investment into research and development, and its recently generated R&D achievements have yet to be industrialized or patented, a raft of related activities that are part of the process are in the protection range of trade secrets, including technical drawings, parameters, know-how and data, he said.
Once the commercial spinoffs from the research are revealed, they will enable competitors to save time, spending and labor in their R&D endeavor, he added.
"Wherever there are R&D activities, there are fights against disclosure and theft of trade secrets," the senior expert said, counting such an infringement as a huge disaster to rights owners.
The law added new rules that tackle breaches by former employees who use trade secrets in their own business or reveal them to others in the industry without authorization.
The new amendments to the current law reflect the trinity protection goal - the interests of the public, businesses and consumers, Lu Cong, a judge in Beijing, wrote in an article published online.
Adjusted to the internet era, the law prohibits the use of internet technologies for unfair competition, which is a highlight of the revision, said Yang Hongcan, director of the China Anti-monopoly and Anti-unfair Competition Enforcement Bureau with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
Bans targeting e-commerce cover false online sales volume reporting and user comments. Online traders that fabricate data to mislead consumers in their purchase decisions can be fined up to 2 million yuan and lose their business licenses.
The change in the law will be a deadly knockout to the "internet water army" - legions of netizens paid to flood websites with comments and reviews in an attempt to manipulate public opinion - and will play an active role in cleaning up user comment systems on e-commerce portals, Lu said.
China's Lenovo Group along with other foreign IT firms are facing probes by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) on charges of infringing on patents related to the solid state drive technologies of U.S. chipmaker BiTMICRO Inc, China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said Wednesday.
BiTMICRO brought patent litigation based on Section 337 of the U.S. Tariff Act against Lenovo, U.S.-based Dell Technologies Inc, and South Korea's Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix Inc, according to the USITC.
Neither MOFCOM nor Lenovo offered any comment when reached by the Global Times on Wednesday.
Under Section 337 of the U.S. Tariff Act, the USITC can impose sanctions on imports of products that have been found to violate patents owned by U.S. companies or individuals.
The BiTMICRO complaint asked the commission to issue a limited exclusion order, cease and desist orders and to impose a bond upon respondents' alleged infringing articles.
Shanxi Quan'An New Technology Development has recently been authorized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the company's method and apparatus for remote coal mine leakage testing.
The apparatus for remote coal mine leakage testing will greatly reduce the mechanical and electrical accidents in coal mines and improve the reliability of power supply in coal mines, according to its inventor Guo Chunping.
It's the third US patent that the company has won, filling the gap in special apparatus for remote coal mine leakage testing.
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Jiexiu county, Shanxi Quan'An New Technology Development is a high-tech business focusing on developing products that ensure the electrical safety of coal mines.
To date, the company owns 30 intellectual property rights including patents and trademarks with a part winning the patents of more than 30 countries and regions, such as the United States, Russia and the European Union.
Banking regulators are encouraging commercial lenders to help develop emerging industries, overhaul credit structures and look for new growth opportunities.
In Jiangsu province alone, the banking sector's balance of loans to strategic emerging industries, such as information technology, biomedicine and high-end equipment manufacturing, reached 469.49 billion yuan ($71 billion) by the end of June 2017, a rise of 12.5 percent since January.
This has involved banks offering innovative financial services like the use of intangible assets as loan collateral, the creation of credit guarantee funds and venture capital loans.
Changzhou Sujing Electronic Material Co Ltd has benefited from this program of funding.
The company manufactures thin film materials for semiconductors, flat panel displays and liquid crystal displays, and is based in Changzhou, Jiangsu province.
Sujing Electronic Material obtained a 3 million yuan loan over 12 months from the Jiangnan Rural Commercial Bank Co Ltd by using patent rights as collateral.
Another loan of 10 million yuan was agreed by using its trademark as security, while a 5 million yuan loan was put together on a risk sharing mechanism at a favorable monthly lending rate.
"Before using our patent rights as collateral, our company suffered from tight liquidity but had already used our real estate as security," said Hu Qingxiong, chairman of Sujing Electronic Material.
"We tried to borrow from small financial companies but that could only meet short-term demands. In the end, it was the Jiangnan Rural Commercial Bank that helped us and the financing cost was about 40 percent lower than that of small loan companies," Hu added.
Jiangnan Rural Commercial Bank has created a loan program that caters for the different business cycles companies face.
It offers loans to firms to stimulate growth by using their intangible assets as collateral. It also provides loans for mature small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs, listed on the New Third Board.
Backed by regulators, financial institutions have been exploring innovative risk-sharing measures with municipal and provincial governments.
The Suzhou municipal authority in Jiangsu province set up a credit guarantee fund of 1 billion yuan for companies meeting the requirements of a special bank loan, without providing any collateral.
"If a company defaults, the credit risk will be shared among the fund (65 percent), the relevant guarantor or insurance company (15 percent) and the relevant commercial bank (20 percent)," said Kan Zhe, deputy director of the China Banking Regulatory Commission's Suzhou Office.
By the end of June 2017, 1,820 companies had obtained loans worth 6.42 billion yuan with the help of the credit guarantee fund.
This in turn has stimulated growth in parts of the economy that produce goods and services.
In the first half of 2017, sales revenue from strategic emerging industries in Jiangsu increased by 12 percent year-on-year to 2.62 trillion yuan.
It accounted for 30.5 percent of gross industrial output value at all State-owned and non-State-owned industrial enterprises above 20 million yuan in main sales volume during the same period.
Chinese consumer electronics giant TCL Corp is bullish on the prospects of the domestic air conditioner market, which enjoys great development potential, as annual sales of its air conditioners are set to surpass 10 million units by the end of this year.
"TCL has achieved eight consecutive years of rapid growth and is the fastest growing enterprise in the air conditioner industry. We will strengthen internal synergy and cooperation with our partners, as well as increase mergers and acquisitions in the future," said Li Shubin, vice-president of TCL.
In the past three years, TCL has spent more than 500 million yuan ($76.4 million) on the R&D of air conditioners, and invested 220 million yuan in this area in 2016 alone. Currently, its air conditioning unit holds 1,842 independent intellectual property rights, including 297 patents.
Li said they will continue to offer intelligent and customized air conditioners next year to meet consumption upgrading, with annual sales expected to reach 15 million units within three years.
With the advent of the 5G era, air conditioners will be incorporated into intelligent homes, rather than existing ones. The intelligent air conditioners should possess the functions of "self-learning, self-adaption, self-diagnosis and self-correction", according to TCL.
"Every 100 Chinese households in rural areas owns 43.8 units of air conditioners, while each (group of) 100 urban families has 124 units. In Japan, every 100 households owns 272 units of air conditioners, so China's air conditioner market still has a lot of room to grow," said Yang Jie, general manager of industry consultancy ChinaIOL, adding the rural and urban markets show different demand characteristics.
"You can see the consumption upgrading is the theme in cities, but there is a necessity to introduce more air conditioners to residents in rural areas," Yang added.
Statistics from industry watcher China Market Monitor showed China's sales of air conditioners reached 57.87 million units in 2016, up 27.4 percent year-on-year. Its revenue rose to 198.7 billion yuan, an increase of 32.4 percent compared with the same period last year, marking a record high. Meanwhile, the proportion of intelligent and high-end air conditioners is improving significantly.
However, industry insiders expressed concern about China's air conditioner market in 2018 due to tightened regulations in the real estate market and lack of incentives from the authority. Beijing consultancy All View Cloud, or AVC, estimates its sales will drop about 15 percent next year.
Lu Jianguo, deputy chief engineer of Chinese Home Appliances Research Institute, said apart from adjusting the indoor temperature and humidity, the upgraded air conditioners should tackle indoor air pollution and add functions that help in enhancing people's health, such as reducing noise and radiation.
Lou Zhiping is working on a project to combat desertification in northwestern China, thousands of miles from his hometown in Shengzhou, Zhejiang province.
The 72-year-old has invented a long reticular barrier fixed vertically along the top of a dune. The barrier is a screen made of two layers of mesh fastened by iron threads and supported by a wooden bracket.
When the wind blows, sand sifts through the mesh and settles between the two layers, transforming the screen into sandbags that prevent the whole barrier from falling down and being removed by wind or sand.
The development of the barrier has involved 12 years of research into desertification control in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region, Qinghai province and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, areas severely affected by land degradation.
"I hope to provide a new way of combating desertification worldwide, reducing the cost of desertification control and gradually solving this serious environmental issue," Lou said.
Once a farmer in his hometown, Lou is a proven inventor. Before he shifted his interest to desertification control, he spent 15 years focusing on gardening and landscaping. One of his previous inventions involved growing plants on vertical walls.
In 2003, his involvement in landscaping and interest in ecological restoration inspired him to visit a desert in Inner Mongolia.
"I was shocked by the desert, a barren area where little precipitation occurred, in Dengkou county," he said. "All of the pear trees, which were more than 10 meters tall, were buried under the sand. Few treetops could be seen in the dunes."
Recalling the experience as "thrilling and devastating", Lou has since devoted his time to developing simple and quick techniques to stop the moving dunes.
He became a frequent traveler to the deserts in northwestern China in the years after his initial visit. Few, including his family, knew of his intentions. During his desert trips, he was asked the purpose of his visits. His answer was met with doubt and ridicule.
"No one seemed to understand," he said. "So eventually I stopped talking about it."
After years of observation and research, Lou found that while water flows downward, dunes move upward.
"If a 50-centimeter-high barrier is placed along the top of a dune ridge, sand will stack up like a small hill, and the dune will stop moving forward," Lou said.
In his bid to design a barrier that would not be destroyed by violent sandstorms, Lou read many books, but he could not find any methods to achieve his goal.
"The structures of the barriers in the books were like high curtains, fixed vertically in the desert, which would be destroyed easily by the fierce winds and pressure of the accumulating sand," he said. "So I began to do my own experiments and designs."
In August 2008, Lou's first paper on desertification control was published in the official magazine of the first sand industry summit in China.
"It was a milestone that encouraged me to continue my work."
To prove his theory, in 2010, he ordered 100 kilograms of sand from a desert in Inner Mongolia and experimented with his design at home with the help of a giant wind blower. Three years later, he had come up with the reticular barrier, which has proved both functional and economical.
The major cost is the mesh, which is custom made in a factory in Lou's hometown and costs about 4 yuan (60 cents) a meter.
Lou said he does not know how much he has spent on his numerous visits to the desert and experiments. But over the decade, he has spent all of his monthly income of about 6,500 yuan－1,500 yuan of which is a pension and the rest his salary as an adviser to a local company in his hometown. When he runs out of money, he asks his son, who runs a gardening business, or friends.
However, Lou said things have started to get easier since his story was picked up by the media. "Fame works better than money," he said.
In 2013, his invention was used for desertification control in the Qaidam Desert in Qinghai, and the Badain Jaran and Tengger deserts in Inner Mongolia.
Two years later, it was identified as a leading project in desertification combat engineering nationwide by experts from the Chinese Academy of Forestry and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Lou is now a member of the Inner Mongolia Sand and Grass Industry Association, as well as the Sand Industry Association in Gansu province.
He attends national and international conferences on desertification control, including the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in September. His invention has four national patents.
"I have witnessed the changes in desertification in China, from a significant increase caused by ecological damage years ago to a gradual decrease due to government initiatives to convert the land for forestry and pasture," Lou said.
"Devastating droughts destroy harvests, make soil infertile and allow deserts to increase in size. With my efforts, I hope desert plants will grow in the wild again to fertilize the earth."
Over the years, he has spent a lot of his own money and received financial and emotional support from friends and family, "but this great adventure still needs more support from the nation, either from the government or local communities", he added.
Chinese consumer electronics giant TCL Corp is bullish on the prospects of domestic air conditioners market, which enjoy great development potential, as the annual sales of its air conditioners have surpassed 10 million units.
“TCL has achieved eight consecutive years of rapid growth and is the fastest growing enterprise in the air conditioner industry. We will strengthen internal synergy and external cooperation, as well as merger and acquisition in the future,” said Li Shubin, vice-president of TCL.
In the past three years, TCL has spent more than 500 million yuan $76.4 million) on the R&D of air conditioners, and invested 220 million yuan in this area in 2016. Currently, its air conditioning unit holds 1,842 independent intellectual property rights, including 297 patents.
The company will continue to offer intelligent and customized air conditioners next year to meet the consumption upgrading. Its sales are expected to reach 15 million units within three years.
With the advent of 5G era, air conditioners will be incorporated into the whole household intelligent system, and will not exist alone. The intelligent air conditioners should possess such functions as “self-learning, self-adaption, self-diagnosis and self-correcting”, according to TCL.
“Every Chinese household owns 43.8 units of air conditioners, while each urban family has 124 units. In Japan, every household owns 272 units of air conditioners, so China's air conditioner market still has a lot of room to grow,” said Yang jie, general manager of industry analyst ChinaIOL, adding the rural and urban market show different demand characteristics.
“You can see the consumption upgrading is the theme in cities, but there is a necessity to introduce air conditioners to residents in rural areas,” Yang added.
Shenzhen Customs seized more than 200,000 items valued at more than 7.65 million yuan ($1.18 million) that infringed intellectual property rights during a three-month nationwide campaign.
"The figures respectively represent more than 70 percent and 50 percent of the country's total seizures," Yuan Qing, a senior officer with Shenzhen Customs, told a news conference in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Wednesday.
"The patent infringing goods Shenzhen Customs seized include big name domestic and foreign brands of drones, mobile phones, medical products, electronic products, garments and shoes," Yuan said.
The campaign has dealt a heavy blow to patent infringement in the southern metropolis, home to myriad new and high-tech companies from home and abroad, Yuan said.
Meanwhile, the campaign has contributed to ensuring a fair investment and business environment in Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong special administrative region, Yuan added.
Despite the achievement, Yuan hinted that more special campaigns and operations would be launched to protect intellectual property rights and fight against patent infringement in the following months.
China's power bank rental service provider Laidian Technology Co Ltd looks to steadily expand overseas businesses in the coming year, amid increasingly intense competition at home.
"We will ramp up efforts to enlarge our overseas business in more countries globally, including the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam, as well as increase our international patents," said Huang Yun, chief operating officer of Laidian.
Huang added that the company has applied for 30 international patents under the Patent Cooperation Treaty and is on track to accelerate its applications for more international patents.
The move comes just a few days after Laidian announced it would offer its shared power banks in Indonesia, with the first batch of 10 shared power bank machines opening for public at one of the biggest music festivals of the country.
In Indonesia, users can download the app "Power On The Go" to rent a power bank for 5,000 rupiah (37 cents) per hour. In this case, rather than paying by WeChat or Alipay, users can pay directly through the app.
The Shenzhen-based company chose to globalize its business in Indonesia through equity cooperation with local partners, although it didn't disclose the name of the company.
"In 2018, we plan to put thousands of power bank machines in Jakarta, capital of Indonesia, especially in airports, train stations, shopping malls and government office blocks," said Dick Listijono, its local partner responsible for business in Indonesia.
It's not the first time the company has joined hands with partners to promote overseas business; earlier this year, it cooperated with a shared tourism platform to roll out its businesses in eight countries, including Thailand, Japan, France, Canada, Australia and the US.
In addition to announcing its plans for international expansion, the company unveiled its new products, among which the maximum one can charge up to 124 power banks. Users can also recharge, print photos and purchase lottery tickets all-in-one through one of Laidian's new products.
"We have our big cabinets in major public venues and removable ones in cafes and restaurants. We are turning from recharging-only to multiple scenarios in a bid to meet diversified demands of customers," said Yuan Bingsong, CEO of Laidian.
The company also inked a strategic partnership with Alibaba's Sesame Credit to further cooperation on deposit-free shared power banks. New data from the company showed that more than 12 million users in over 250 cities across China have used their deposit-free services in a year.
Almost one in five disputes relating to intellectual property rights in the city involved foreigners, the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court said yesterday.
In the past three years, the court had to deal with 668 cases involving foreigners. They were from more than 30 countries and regions, including the United States, Germany and Japan. International commercial giants like Louis Vuitton, BMW and General Electric were also involved.
Major disputes involved infringement of patents and brands being used by others, the court said.
The court recruited 11 technicians and experts to help the foreigners during court hearings.
China's ongoing investment in sci-tech research and achievements have caught the attention of overseas media. The country has transformed its way ahead from a world factory into a global innovation hub.
According to a statistics report issued by the National Bureau of Statistics, China poured 1.57 trillion yuan into R&D in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 10.6 percent, hitting a record high.
The bureau also announced on Dec 7 that China's innovation index in 2016 was 181.2, which is 5.7 percent higher than the previous year, and the annual contract value in the technical market exceeded 1 trillion yuan for the first time.
According to a report from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the number of patent applications in China has surpassed the total combined from the US, Japan, South Korea and Europe in 2016.
"China is taking the lead in global innovation," said Francis Gurry, director general of WIPO.
Chinese government plays crucial role
China's R&D spending accounted for 20 percent of the world's total, BBC reported.
Chinese scientists published more than 280,000 research papers in mainstream journals around the world in 2017, and 20 percent of the most referenced papers were by Chinese, only behind Americans, Japan's Asahi Shimbun reported on Dec 7.
China is on its way to becoming “a laboratory of the world” and an “incubator” for technological innovation, American magazine Time reported. This is a result of the government's efforts to build research centers and science parks, and construct a national innovation system, Time said.
South Africa's the Independent News & Media reported that China's tremendous spending in science and technology has paid off, and its scientists have been carrying out the world's largest-scale experiments, from medical technology to oceanic exploration.
The government has created a good environment for innovation of enterprises, and its expenditure in R&D and innovation is estimated to reach the world's highest level in 2019, according to French newspaper Les Echos.
Fundamental change in growth drivers
The Hill, in the US, published an article saying that emerging technology could make China the world's next innovation superpower, and that China placed innovation at the center of its national strategy.
China hopes to become a leading global artificial intelligence center, with its latest AI development plan and national engineering laboratories. At the same time, it is building the world’s largest quantum research facility to lead the second quantum revolution, the Hill reported.
Fortune magazine online said the new generation of entrepreneurs growing in China are developing world-class products, unique technologies and fresh business models at an unprecedented rate.
Western countries are no longer the only player in innovation, and they also need to learn from China, Les Echos reported.
A team led by Zhao Guangrong, a professor of Tianjin University (TJU), established an artificial biosynthetic pathway to produce salvianic acid A in an engineered bacterial fermentation process.
Results of the breakthrough were published in Metabolic Engineering and Microbial Cell Factories, two well renowned biotechnology journals. The invention patents were authorized by the State Intellectual Property Office of China.
Salvianic acid A, a drug with the active pharmacological properties of improving cerebral blood flow, inhibiting platelet activation and arterial thrombosis, is used to treat cardiovascular diseases. Salvianic acid A is now prepared from the plant Salvia miltiorrhiza root, but has low yield and unreliable quality.
Salvianic acid A is extracted from Salvia miltiorrhiza root in China. The traditional method of water extraction followed by alcohol precipitation led to excessive concentration of alcohol and loss of phenolic constituents including salvianic acid A.
More recent preparation methods including enzymatic and microwave extraction have not resolved crucial problems such as limited plant material, unreliable quality and low productivity as well as the seasonal and geographical constraints of growing Salvia miltiorrhiza.
Although full synthesis of the natural product is considered to improve the quantity and quality of the derived medical products, the chemical synthesis of salvianic acid A was troubled by complex procedures, poor stereoselectivity, low yield and was an unfriendly environmental impact.
Professor Zhao's team developed the artificial biosynthesis of salvianic acid A. Guided by catalytic mechanisms of bio-enzymes and retrosynthetic analysis and by mining big bioinformation databases, the team discovered that a P450 enzyme can hydroxylate by meta-position hydroxyphenylpyruvic acid, the precursor of salvianic acid A. A D-lactic dehydrogenase can reduce keto in the hydroxyl group, which generates salvianic acid A.
The team recombined and reassembled genetic modules for synthetizing hydroxyphenylpyruvic acid and attained Escherichia coli cells as chassis to mass produce the precursor.
Then they introduced the module of salvianic acid A synthetic genes into the chassis cell, and established the artificial biosynthesis of salvianic acid A from glucose. The customized synthetic microbial cell factory produced salvianic acid A is above 7g/L.
Nature Chemical Biology, a Nature journal, highlighted the team's research and pointed out that "this artificial route provides a new source for a plant polyphenols".
The team recently modified the genome by precisely integrating the genetic modules of biosynthetic salvianic acid A and the enhanced precursor supply onto a chromosome of Escherichia coli. Meanwhile, they deleted junk genes so that engineered Escherichia coli was more efficient as a microbial cell factory. Thus, salvianic acid A could be continually synthesized without additional use of antibiotics and fermentation inducers.
The project was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China, the National High-Tech R&D Program of China, and the Natural Science Foundations of China and Tianjin.
Nowadays, synthetic biology has become a powerful engine for the development of green bio-manufacturing. This next generation of biotechnology promises to solve major issues of resource and energy depletion, healthcare, the environment and security by reshaping the traditional biotech industry. Zhao's research is one excellent example of the customized production of medicines and valuable chemicals by decreasing dependency on natural resources.
China's innovation in core technologies has helped manufacturing enterprises become more competitive.
Guan Xiyou, chairman of Shenyang Machine Tool (Group), has played a role in such innovation, with the company developing the "i5OS" intelligent control system.
"Core technologies cannot be bought," Guan said.
Debuting in November at the 19th China International Industry Fair in Shanghai, the "i5OS" is a smart operating system for industry.
"The i5 is actually five 'i,' standing for five English words, industry, information, Internet, intelligent and integrate." Guan said. "We spent 10 years and 1.5 billion yuan ($23 million) to develop the i5 system. We have complete intellectual property rights."
Thanks to the core technology with multiple patents, i5 smart machine tools have received over 20,000 orders. Over 50 agreements have been signed to build smart factories nationwide. The company plans to establish more than 30 intelligent manufacturing valleys with local governments within the next three years.
China is speeding up the integration of information technology with the manufacturing sector and the development of the "industrial Internet."
The Made in China 2025 strategy and the Internet Plus Initiative are both vital for economic restructuring and the digital economy, according to a decision made by a State Council executive meeting in October.
The industrial Internet usually refers to the convergence of the industrial system with Internet-based technology, such as cloud computing and advanced analytics.
China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation reported on the development of its aerospace cloud network, saying that more than one million companies have registered on the network as of Oct 20, including over 6,600 foreign companies.
More than 97 billion yuan worth of deals have been sealed on the cloud network where business opportunities and production material can be shared.
"The sharing economy is providing new growth momentum for the country's manufacturing industry, while sharing of production material will be an important development trend," said Ding Minglei, analyst with the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development.
"Industrial companies should build cloud platforms that enable greater interconnectivity both within firms and among the entire industrial chain," according to the State Council meeting. "A favorable environment for the industrial Internet will be created, with streamlined administration and fiscal support. Specifically, market access for products and services in the field will be widened, while companies are encouraged to raise funds through social capital and innovative financial services."
"China's economy has been transitioning from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development," according to the report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October.
"This is a pivotal stage for transforming our growth model, improving our economic structure, and fostering new drivers of growth ... We need to...accelerate the building of an industrial system that promotes coordinated development of the real economy with technological innovation, modern finance, and human resources," according to the report.
During an inspection tour in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province, President Xi Jinping said China should ramp up investment and channel more energy into research and development to spur the development of the equipment manufacturing sector, noting that "many core technologies cannot be bought."
"Innovation is the source of business core competitiveness," Xi said at Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group (XCMG), a leading domestic manufacturer. Thanks to self-developed heavy-duty machines, XCMG is swiftly increasing its share in the global market.
Xi urged a shift from "Made in China" to "Created in China," stressing more emphasis on quality rather than speed.
More foreign investors look at the country's industrial upgrading as an opportunity and have increased their investment. In the first 11 months, 60.15 billion yuan of foreign direct investment flowed into the high-tech manufacturing sector, an increase of 9.9 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Amid the enthusiasm shown by the government and domestic technology companies for research and development of artificial intelligence, global technology giant Google announced on Tuesday the opening of its AI center in China.
Li Feifei, chief scientist of AI and machine learning at Google Cloud, announced the launch of the AI center during the Google Developer Day in Shanghai. Based in Beijing, the center will host a group of researchers supported by hundreds of engineers in the country.
The China AI center is the first of its kind in Asia. It will join similar overseas centers operating in New York, Toronto, London and Zurich.
Li will lead the center, which will focus on basic AI research. She said this is one of the first steps for Google to conduct long-term research in China.
"There are a large number of scenarios where AI technology can be applied in China. The talents here are also top-class if put in an international context," said Li.
Scott Beaumont, president of Google in China, expressed his confidence about the AI center, since he has witnessed the vibrancy of local developers and Chinese people's willingness to embrace new technologies, which is hardly found elsewhere in the world.
According to global market consultancy Roland Berger, China now ranks second globally in the quantity of AI enterprises, patent applications, and the scale of financing across the world, only next to the United States. It is expected that AI technology will create 10 trillion yuan ($1.5 trillion) in profits for related industries by the end of 2030.
Finance, automotive, medical and retail will be the four industries in China seeing the most benefits by adopting AI technology, according to Roland Berger.
Leading Chinese technology companies such as Baidu Inc, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd are making inroads into AI development in the form of self-driving cars, energy-efficient automobiles and educational equipment.
Simon Lance, managing director of global human resources company Hays in China, said that the AI sector faces a great shortage of candidates in China at the moment, since the country is "moving away from manufacturing and toward AI and robotics".
It is calculated by domestic online recruitment platform Zhaopin.com that the demand for AI talents in China has doubled so far this year, with the biggest demand for algorithmic engineers.
Regarding the rise and prospects of the AI industry in the country, the central government released the first number of national-level open innovation platforms for AI in November. AI technology has been used at Customs and procuratorates to seek innovation in different scenarios. Such adoption at the government administration level will be extended in 2018.
China saw over 1.04 million patent applications from January to October this year, up by 5.8 percent year-on-year, Shen Changyu, head of the State Intellectual Property Office, said Wednesday.
Some 39,000 international patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) were received during the period, increasing by 11.3 percent from the previous year, Shen said at an awards ceremony for China's outstanding patented inventions and industrial designs.
More than 34,000 administrative cases on patents were handled in the ten months, a 19.8-percent yearly increase, while pilots were launched in six places, including Changsha and Shenzhen, to reform the management system of intellectual property and make it more efficient.
According to Shen, intellectual property has played a more prominent role as a basic guarantee for innovation and a strategic resource for development, as well as a core factor in the country's competitiveness.
The ceremony saw 20 patented inventions and five designs receive the top awards. As of the end of 2016, products and projects related to the award winners had created 93.9 billion yuan ($14.19 billion) of sales revenue, 9.6 billion yuan in profit and 24.4 billion yuan in exports.
The development of the sharing economy increasingly depends on intellectual property - including patents, trademarks and copyright - rather than just financial capital.
That's according to industry insiders at the recent Global Intellectual Property Ecology Congress in Beijing.
Liang Jian, IP supervisor of Chinese leading shared bicycle operator Mobike, said at the forum that over the last few years patent lawsuits had emerged in sectors of the sharing economy.
"Patents have become a necessary weapon for competitors to compete and defend themselves," he said.
"In the future, there will be a new pattern of competition in the sharing economy, and patent owners in traditional businesses will enter the sector with their patents."
Mobike has filed about 60 domestic and international patent applications, and has been granted more than 20 patents. It also has applied for more than 180 trademarks, and its major competitor Ofo has applied for more than 500 trademarks.
Liang said companies needed a well-established IP management system when involved in lawsuits, and called for improved incentive systems for inventors to cultivate the culture of innovation.
"The increasingly frequent news reports on IP disputes will improve companies' awareness," he added.
Yuan Bingsong, CEO of Laidian Technology, one of the earliest and biggest power bank rental service providers, said that currently there are far fewer patents from companies involved in the sharing economy than from other technically innovative companies.
He added that international companies were paying more attention to filing patent applications to get protection than domestic ones.
In the power bank rental business, which has attracted total investment of more than 1 billion yuan ($152.7 million), 45 IP-related lawsuits had been instigated.
"In the sharing economy sector, a company sues its competitor for rights violations, not to win compensation, but to stop infringements so that the competitor can no longer produce and sell the product," Yuan said.
Although companies in the emerging sharing economy are favored by investors, their market expansion will be seriously impacted when they are involved in infringements, said Liu Yuanju, a researcher at Shanghai Institute of Finance and Law.
If a firm does not have its own IP rights, the most immediate hurdle it faces is the evaluation of the company when it tries to get listed or be sold, Liu said.
Laidian Technology's Yuan said a company must, first of all, realize the importance of IP.
"Then, it must seek the elements that can help to increase its market competence, such as core patents," Yuan said, adding that core IP rights were increasingly showing their value in market competition, and becoming a decisive element of success.
China's transition from a country that follows the world's technological trends to one that sets them, is no longer a blueprint -- it's a reality.
After years focusing on innovation, China caught up fast. From artificial intelligence and genetic engineering, to mobile payments and bike-sharing, Chinese firms are pulling ahead of their rivals.
Jeremy Rifkin, an economic observer and author of the New York Times bestseller "The Third Industrial Revolution," said China was becoming a global leader in the new revolutionary tide.
Silicon Valley has long been considered the most viable option for starting a business in the tech sector. Now, this is beginning to change. Known as "sea turtles," a growing number of overseas-educated Chinese are returning to their home country, turning down opportunities in Silicon Valley to make a splash in China's emerging tech sector.
As the number of Chinese students at overseas universities surged to 544,500 in 2016, the number of sea turtles also surged, with 432,500 returning to China last year, nearly 60 percent more than 2012, according to the Ministry of Education.
The reverse brain drain has benefited China's tech companies, such as Royole, a company founded in 2012 by "sea turtle" Liu Zihong, a Stanford graduate.
After working at IBM in New York for three years, Liu moved to Shenzhen and decided to start his own business. The 34-year-old CEO said the early days were hard, but "thanks to the government's preferential policies, we could focus on research and development in the early stage and grow fast."
Two years after its founding, Royole rolled-out one of its core products -- the world's thinnest bendable screens that if used on an iPad, would allow it to be folded into the size of an iPhone.
The company has filed more than 1,500 patents, and its products have been sold to more than 20 countries and regions.
Valued at over three billion U.S. dollars, Royole has become one of the world's fastest-growing tech "unicorns," new tech companies valued at over one billion dollars.
Besides fueling emerging industries, innovation is also transforming traditional sectors, which are under double pressure from developed nations' re-industrialization strategies and the mushrooming of lower-cost manufacturers in emerging economies.
"To remain competitive, we have to stick to innovation," said Zou Lei, chairman of Dongfang Electric Corporation, a state-owned company that manufactures power generators.
Data from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) showed last week that China dominated top economies in patent applications in 2016, with the number surpassing the combined applications of the United States, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Europe.
"China is increasingly amongst the leaders in global innovation and branding," WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said.
VIBRANT ECO-SYSTEM FOR INNOVATION
Driven by both global ambition and domestic needs for new sources of growth, China has been trying to make itself a country of innovators and emerge at the world's high-tech forefront.
At the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which charts the course for the country's future development, innovation has been labeled as the primary driving force behind development.
China has worked to create an eco-system for innovation, including talent, investment, policy support and market environment, that fuels a cycle of innovative activity.
"As the world's most populous nation, China has the demographic dividend for technological innovation," said Zhu Yanmei, chief human officer of the Shenzhen-based BGI, China's top gene-sequencing provider. "We can easily arrange an R&D team of more than 1,000 members in China, but it is not an easy task in other countries."
To raise the quality and quantity of its college graduates, China lifted the college enrollment ratio from less than 10 percent in the 1990s to 42.7 percent last year. This, together with measures to attract "sea turtles" and overseas talent, ensures innovative and entrepreneurial talent for the country's high-tech sectors.
Increasing R&D expenditure -- the total is second only to the United States, and government support, including financial services, subsidies and easier market access, are also advantages for China's innovators.
Riding a wave of government support, tech start-ups like Royole have mushroomed in China. The boom has attracted an influx of global venture capital, making China the world's second-largest private equity investment market.
Analysts say that China's improving infrastructure, including the world's largest high-speed rail network and a massive broadband network, has enhanced logistics and fostered innovation.
Country will benefit greatly from medical research and policy changes, says executive of pharmaceutical giant
China's emphasis on innovation in recent years has led to more opportunities for global clinical development and research programs to be conducted in the country, something that has benefited its people, says a leading executive at a top German pharmaceutical company.
Dieter Weinand, president of Bayer AG's pharmaceuticals division and a member of the company's management board, said: "The Chinese government is taking the right steps in assuring that new medicines can be approved in China faster, by allowing full studies conducted in other countries to be utilized and updated in China."
He said the company used to have to set up separate programs for China, which meant it took much longer for new drugs to reach Chinese customers.
Speaking at the Annual Pharmaceuticals Media Day in Berlin, Weinand said: "The ability to include Chinese patients now in clinical research and development in a global program will automatically bring more clinical research into China."
He said the company welcomes the Chinese government's recent reforms, which "make it much easier for us to get drugs to the market faster in China". Weinand said the move also adds an incentive for Bayer to conduct more comprehensive and advanced clinical research at its China Innovation Center in Beijing, which until now has only hosted early-stage research.
Bayer's links with China go back a long way: The business established a presence in the country in 1882. As a leading global company in the fields of healthcare and agriculture, its classic medicine - aspirin - has a history going back 120 years.
Today, China is Bayer's largest single market in Asia, accounting for sales of more than 2.67 billion euros ($3.18 billion; ￡2.36 billion) in 2016. Its Chinese workforce numbers more than 10,000.
Weinand said the company's vision in relation to China is in line with the government's policy of improving the lives of Chinese people. He believes "a healthier population is more productive and a more productive population results in better economic status, and therefore a better life.
"We have a program in place with the Chinese government to support the Go West initiative, where we provide unrestricted grants and efforts for the Chinese government to bring better healthcare to the more western provinces in China. Our support has resulted in the training of physicians, not only in medical capabilities but also in administration of healthcare system and hospitals."
Thousands of physicians are being trained. The company recently signed a new agreement for the next five years, in which it commits to continue to support the effort to change the imbalance in medical care between the rural west and urban east.
Weinand said this aim aligns with the Chinese government's mission to tackle the current principal contradiction faced by the Chinese people, which is the tension between "unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life". It was outlined in October by President Xi Jinping at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
Weinand said China is on the brink of an innovation revolution in medicine, not only in treatment and clinical medicine but also in terms of the number of scientists at work.
"I recently went into an organ transplant center in Shanghai and was shocked at the success rate they have, as well as the capabilities. Even the world's leading experts are going to visit this transplant center in China to learn," he said.
Weinand applauded the consolidation that has happened, and continues to happen, in China among thousands of small, generic companies that used to co-exist and carry out their own small-scale research. He said these were not cost-efficient and their research was not always of high quality before consolidation.
"When you have a handful of major generic companies that propose high-quality generics for the Chinese market, there will no longer be any difference between the original and the generic. That allows you to treat patients inexpensively, so money can be reinvested into innovative pharmaceuticals, leading to high-quality generics at a low price for everybody, rather than paying a higher price for the originator of the patent. That innovation drive is going to be good for Chinese patients," he said.
Moving forward, Weinand said he would welcome continued progress in matters including regulatory reform, innovation, value pricing and national drug listing.
"I would like to see more frequent additions (of medicine) to the national reimbursement list. There were years when nothing was added. That is not helpful to Chinese patients, nor to innovation," he said, adding value-based evaluations of medical products should be introduced.
Last year, Bayer increased its global investment in research and development by 9.2 percent, to nearly 4.7 billion euros. Around 60 percent of that total (nearly 2.8 billion euros) was assigned to the development of new pharmaceuticals, with a focus on therapeutic areas of cardiology, oncology and women's healthcare.
In 2017, the company plans to further increase its overall research and development spending to about 4.8 billion euros.
As an innovative player in women's healthcare, Bayer has been pioneering the promotion of the estrogen balance management concept among Chinese women. Under the Post Abortion Care Project, the company is also making long-term efforts to educate women about effective contraception and reduce the harm caused by repeated abortions. To date, the project has benefited more than 6 million women.
Noting that China is Bayer's second-largest market globally, Weinand said the company is determined to further expand its involvement in the country, to improve the its healthcare and medical services and help in offering better lives to Chinese patients.
Guangdong Industrial Design City (GIDC) generated nearly 10,000 innovative products and designs between 2012 and last year, with 85 percent commercialized.
Designers in GIDC, which is based in Beijiao township, Foshan city, gained 2,507 patents during the period, generating combined revenue of 2.2 billion yuan ($332.4 million) from their design services, said Jing Chunying, assistant to the general manager.
As of July, 8,120 designers were working in GIDC -- 1,418 in the core area, 4,230 at Midea Group's global innovation center, 1,516 at Guangdong Shunde Innovative Design Institute and 956 with Kefan Smart Manufacturing Co, Jing said.
Shanghai's Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone is expected to launch the largest intellectual property service platform in the country within three years.
The service platform will boast state-of-the-art planned improvement projects.
Its subsidiary is in charge of constructing and operating the platform.
To protect the intellectual property rights of innovation-oriented enterprises in Zhangjiang, Shanghai Jingyuan Group has been focusing on IP services and working to establish an IP-friendly environment for startups in the zone.
"This IP environment is essentially a community that offers IP-related services for newly established technology companies that don't have enough assets and capital to protect their core technologies," said Qiu Kejun, general manager of the Shanghai Jingyuan Group.
According to Qiu, this style of innovative IP service community assists its members with the creation, protection, management, to use and transfer of IP rights in all aspects.
It offers both online and offline whole-industry-chain services to members, setting it apart from traditional patent agencies.
Helping to commercialize smaller startups' IP for practical use is an important part of Jingyuan's IP services.
Qiu said there are a lot of potential projects, however, they are not well applied and are stuck in a dormant state.
In this situation, the platform has the role of identifying potential projects, especially those from newly launched enterprises, and trying to transform these IPs into products that benefit society, Qiu said.
The IP platform includes a financial mechanism that helps to solve any financial bottlenecks in startups' initial development stage.
This move can allow them to pay more attention to research and development around their innovative products.
The platform has extended its services to cities in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shandong provinces. It has more than 40,000 registered members so far, including IP rights owners, service providers and buyers.
In addition, Jingyuan helps a number of domestic enterprises to export their technologies and IP rights, such as those related to intelligent manufacturing technologies, as well as solar and wind energy.
In the next three years, Jingyuan plans to serve 200,000 enterprises from all industries, offer training to over 15,000 IP professionals, attract over 300 overseas management personnel, and introduce and invest in more than 300 IP projects.
A good environment, large talent pool and efficient transport system make Shanghai a top business destination
Shanghai has always been at the forefront of economic reform and opening-up in China, and is one of the key bases for attracting foreign investment in the country.
According to statistics from the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, the city had attracted 90,900 foreign investment projects with a contracted investment value of $414 billion as of the end of October. Shanghai also accounts for one-seventh of all investments in China.
The city is also home to a large number of regional headquarters. As of the end of October, there were 616 multinational companies headquartered in Shanghai. Sixty-seven of them were established to oversee operations in the Asia Pacific region.
An excellent business environment, massive investments in innovation and a large, high quality talent pool are major factors that draw multinational giants to set up shops in Shanghai.
The city's extensive and efficient transportation network is another plus point. According to the authorities, more than 100 million people traveled from Shanghai's two airports last year. In addition, the city's container throughput reached 37 million twenty-foot equivalent units or TEU in 2016, topping the world rankings for the seventh consecutive year.
The Lujiazui Financial Zone in the city is today a vibrant platform for leading financial institutions in the world. By the end of 2016, 1,515 financial institutions were based in Shanghai, contributing to the yearly trading volume of 1,365 trillion yuan ($206.3 trillion).
One of the main reasons behind Shanghai's robust development is its openness to the outside world. The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, which was established in September 2013, is one of the prime examples.
China's first negative list for foreign investors, which was introduced to manage foreign capital in an internationally-recognized manner, was released in Shanghai.
Over the past few years, Shanghai has also introduced 54 measures to expand the scope of opening-up, and this has in turn attracted more than 2,300 projects to the FTZ, including the first wholly foreign-invested hospital in China. Another example of its commitment to openness is the plan to build a free trade port.
A keen focus on innovation, which is evidenced by the huge amounts of investment fl owing into this sector, is another key reason why foreign companies are entering Shanghai. In 2016, research and development expenditure in Shanghai hit 103 billion yuan, accounting for 3.8 percent of Shanghai's GDP.
An increasing number of foreign companies have built innovation facilities in Shanghai to better serve local clients. As of the end of October, there are 419 foreign-invested R&D centers in Shanghai that have trained more than 40,000 Chinese engineers, according to official statistics.
Officials from the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce said that there is a new trend emerging where many foreign innovation centers are providing industrial solutions in Shanghai for the global market.
Shanghai presently has a large talent pool of about 200,000 R&D professionals. The city is also home to leading educational institutions such as Fudan University and Tongji University. About 100,000 university students graduate in the city every year.
Based on latest government figures, about 31 percent of workers in the city are recognized as highly skilled workers. Furthermore, the 46th WorldSkills Competition, one of the largest vocational skills competitions in the world, will take place in Shanghai in 2021. The event will encourage skilled workers in Shanghai to pay more attention to professional training.
To attract high-caliber professionals, Shanghai has been introducing a slew of measures, such as fast-track VISA approval and permanent residency permits.
Forging a better environment
Shanghai, which aims to be China's strongest magnet for foreign capital, has constantly strived to develop a world-class business environment for global investors.
In October, the Shanghai government released 16 policies to encourage foreign-funded R&D centers to support the city's efforts to be a world-class science and innovation hub. Earlier this year, authorities released updated policies to encourage multinational companies to launch regional headquarters in the city.
It also released a three-year action plan to encourage the manufacturing industry in Shanghai to utilize more foreign capital.
In the coming years, Shanghai will further expand its scope of opening-up and accelerate the building of a new system for an open economy.
More foreign capital will fl ow into the professional service fields as well as industries such as finance, telecommunication, culture, repair and maintenance and shipping service.
New standards will also be implemented in regional headquarters to serve multinational companies' changing needs. It will also encourage companies to upgrade their existing regional headquarters.
Foreign-funded R&D centers that can play a strategic role in the companies' global innovation networks will enjoy more support from the Shanghai government. The city is also encouraging foreign companies to develop new R&D models that can support the innovation drive by local enterprises.
Shanghai will encourage more foreign R&D centers to participate in government projects.
In the manufacturing sector, new emerging and product service industries will be welcoming foreign capital. More policy support will be given to businesses that promote technological upgrade and invest in commercial land.
Shanghai will take measures to improve the efficiency of trade so companies can more conveniently purchase products and service around the globe at lower costs.
The city is also focused on providing a sound legal system, particularly in the intellectual property rights field, to support technological innovation. This can be seen in the construction of the China (Pudong) Intellectual Property Protection Center, the first of its kind in China, which started in July. The center, which is approved by the State Intellectual Property Office, will provide quick patent checks and react quickly to intellectual property related disputes.
Shanghai will continue to streamline administrative procedures to raise efficiency levels. For instance, the review and approval process for setting up and making significant adjustments to foreign enterprises will soon be replaced by a simple filing process. These efforts will help businesses to lower their operational costs and aid long-term growth.
The city will also be looking for ways to open more fundraising channels for foreign companies. This year, two foreign companies were listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange while another company managed to raise 2.5 billion yuan by issuing corporate bonds in China.
China accounted for 98% of the total growth of global patent applications, said a report issued at a news conference at the United Nations Office in Geneva on Dec. 6.
The annual World Intellectual Property Indicators showed that global innovators filed a total of 3.1 million patent applications over the last year, up 8.3% for a seventh straight yearly increase.
The number of patents applied by Chinese innovators outnumbered the combined total from the U.S., Japan, South Korea, and the European Patent Office.
"China is increasingly amongst the leaders in global innovation and branding," said World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Director General Francis Gurry.
According to him, the latest figures charting a rise in demand for intellectual property rights confirm a decade-long trend, where developments in China increasingly leave their mark on the worldwide totals.
China's State Intellectual Property Office received the highest number of patent applications in 2016, a record total of 1.3 million. Asia's share of all applications filed worldwide has increased from 49.7% in 2006 to 64.6% in 2016, primarily driven by strong growth in filings in China.
Gurry believes that the huge population and market in China, as well as improvements in the intellectual property protection system, have helped the country be innovative.
Midea Group, one of the world's leading household appliance manufacturers, is ranked No 165 among the 1,000 largest corporate research and development spenders, according to a recent study released by the consulting firm Strategy&, a subsidiary of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Midea spent more than $900 million in the past year alone and has positioned itself as a world-leading technologies group in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems; consumer appliances; robotics and automation systems, as well as smart supply chains.
The group is aiming to strengthen its market position through innovations, proprietary technologies, patents and technological know-how, said Paul Fang, chairman and CEO of Midea Group.
"Technological innovation and progress are our core long-term strategy," said Fang. "The group has invested generously in sectors such as human-machine interfaces, so we can seize more opportunities and capitalize on the fields of intelligent manufacturing and smart homes."
To implement this strategy, Midea has set up more than 20 R&D centers around the world, including in China, the United States, Japan, Italy, Germany and Austria, in order to apply the most advanced technologies.
Last year, it opened two R&D centers in Louisville and Silicon Valley in the US. Midea also set up an R&D center in Austria this year.
"Midea's research has gone far beyond its household appliance sector to reach the areas of artificial intelligence, microchips, sensors, and smart robots," said Fang.
To fulfill its ambitions, Midea has spared no efforts in attracting professionals. Part of its R&D spending is on leading researchers
Last year, the group offered 1 million yuan ($151,301) salary packages in a global search to recruit professionals holding PhD degrees, which made headlines in many local media.
Midea has attracted leading professionals from Germany, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the US, and as well as top researchers from renowned universities and research institutes all over the world.
Currently, more than 10,000 staff members work on Midea's R&D programs, about 10 percent of whom focus on the development of cutting-edge technologies.
Besides fostering its own talent pool, the group has set up high-level strategic partnerships with more than 100 world-renowned universities and research institutions for technological collaboration.
"Talented people, who are making technological breakthroughs and accelerating the development of top-notch technologies are crucial for Midea's future development," Fang said.
Apart from the generous spending on researchers and R&D, the group also attaches much importance to the application of technologies.
It has signed strategic agreements with many industry leaders, including Huawei Technologies and Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings.
It has established a full strategic partnership with Huawei Technologies in terms of smart homes and signed a multi-layer strategic agreement with Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings in the areas of robotics, medical devices, healthcare data application, a smart supply chain, healthcare investment, and intelligent manufacturing.
The group has also forged a multi-sector and multi-layer partnership with Country Garden, a Chinese leading real estate developer, and is exploring smart town projects, smart home appliances, smart home systems and overseas projects.
Midea is also working extensively with its subsidiaries Clivet, Kuka, and Servotronix, to share technologies and leverage each other's advantages.
"As China's only home appliance manufacturer in the Fortune 500, we will continue our investments in R&D to strengthen our core competiveness," Fang said.
Innovators around the world filed 3.1 million patent applications in 2016, up 8.3 percent in a seventh straight yearly increase, a World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) report showed Wednesday.
Worldwide filings for patents, trademarks and industrial designs reached record heights in 2016 due to soaring demand in China, according to WIPO's annual World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report.
China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) received the highest number of patent applications in 2016, a record total of 1.3 million. It was followed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) (605,571), the Japan Patent Office (JPO) (318,381), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) (208,830) and the European Patent Office (EPO)(159,358), said the report.
China received about 236,600 of the nearly 240,600 additional patent filings, accounting for 98 percent of total growth, it said.
Trademark applications jumped by 16.4 percent to about 7 million, and worldwide industrial design applications grew by 10.4 percent to almost 1 million, both also driven by growth in China, it added.
"The latest figures charting a rise in demand for intellectual property rights confirm a decade-long trend, where developments in China increasingly leave their mark on the worldwide totals," WIPO Director General Francis Gurry told journalists.
"China is increasingly amongst the leaders in global innovation and branding," he said at a media conference, adding that "the numbers from China are quite extraordinary."
The WIPO head noted that that this is seventh straight year of growth for patents and trademarks which is "quite extraordinary...because compared to growth in the world economy that is a very different picture."
He observed that patent applications are an indicator of innovative output, but the innovation ecosystem is quite complex and involves a number of factors.
With the market for new energy vehicles (NEVs) booming, China is now the largest NEV battery producer. But with the opportunity comes a challenge: how to recycle the growing number of redundant batteries.
China is still exploring regulatory and management systems for battery recycling. Industry and Information Technology Minister Miao Wei recently said China will establish an extended producer responsibility regime, which would make car manufacturers responsible for recycling.
China's total production and sales of NEVs are expected to reach 5 million by 2020. As the average lifespan of power batteries is about five to eight years, according to Shenzhen-based research firm Gao Gong Industry Institute, China will see the amount of redundant batteries hit about 250,000 metric tons in 2020, almost 20 times that of 2016.
In line with the national strategy, Shanghai has outlined plans to drive growth by bolstering the development of its AI sector
Shanghai released a new municipal plan in mid-November which aims to make the development of artificial intelligence a new growth engine and expand the industry scale of AI-related sectors to more than 100 billion yuan ($15 billion) by 2020.
According to The Opinions on Promoting the City's Next Generation of AI Development, the city will undertake 21 measures to facilitate the development of this industry, such as forming a world-class industry cluster, nurturing 10 AI innovative enterprises that have substantial influence, building six AI innovative application demonstration areas, and launching more than 100 application demonstration projects.
"Although Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are not based in Shanghai, the city could be the birthplace of AI unicorn companies as conditions here are mature," said Chen Ming-bo, director of the Shanghai Commission of Economy and Information Technology.
Chen added that Shanghai's wealth of big data resources, wide application of smart technologies, and large pool of research talents have laid a solid foundation for the development of the AI industry.
As many as 260,000 items have been categorized into the municipal government's data sharing pool, and a city-wide information exchange and sharing platform will be launched by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the growing amount of data shared by public service organizations including weather, electricity, gas and communications will enable enterprises and public entities to gain more business value.
"The plan pays great attention to the application of AI technology," said Wei Hui, a professor from Fudan University. "Shanghai's abundant data base in sectors such as public transportation will likely enable some creative applications in the future."
Wang Yanfeng, deputy dean of Shanghai Jiao Tong University's school of electronic information and electrical engineering, said: "Shanghai's ambition to build an innovative technology center with global influence would make the city a mega zone for AI exploitation and application. In addition, its openness and talents from top universities will put Shanghai in a vantage point."
According to the plan, Shanghai would deepen the integration of AI and related industries including high-end equipment, integrated circuits, biomedical, and automotive to establish a set of innovation centers for intelligent manufacturing and industrial internet. In addition, AI industrial clusters will be built across the city to spur the development of intelligent driving, intelligent robots and intelligent software and hardware. Policies aimed at attracting talents both from home and abroad will be established.
"Shanghai is currently building an AI development alliance, and nearly 300 major enterprises, investment and financing institutions, as well as research institutions have been approached. We will work on attracting global AI enterprises to locate their regional headquarters and innovation centers in Shanghai," Chen said.
AI: The buzzword in China
During this year's five-day China International Industry Fair (CIIF) in Shanghai, a special AI area was opened for the first time in the exhibition's history.
"With the help of our lower-limb exoskeleton robot that is equipped with AI technology, wheelchair-bound users can practice standing up and walking," said Yang Zhihao, marketing engineer from Fourier Intelligence.
Yang pointed out that the product, which is the nation's first commercialization exoskeleton, will allow users to perform similar functions at one-third of the cost of its foreign counterparts. He noted that AI robots will also help to address the shortage of rehabilitation therapists in the country.
According to public information, there are more than 20 million physically disabled people in China. China National Radio reported that the market size of exoskeletal robots will expand to 14 billion yuan by 2021.
AI technology has already proven to be beneficial to manufacturers as well. Lin Yuchun, the owner of Xie Mo Fang, a shoe business in Chengdu, said that such technologies have helped the company to design its products 30 percent quicker, resulting in a 25 percent growth in annual profits in the past year.
"Traditionally, a shoe designer has to draw hundreds of styles and customers would only pick one or two of them. After using the new AI shoe design and manufacturing system, which is tailor-made for our factory, we have simplified the procedure greatly," he said.
Shanghai's move to make this industry a growth engine reflects the national focus on AI development as well. In July, the State Council illustrated a national AI development model, detailing a three-step strategy to increase the value of China's AI industry to 1 trillion yuan by 2030 and turn the country into one of the key global centers for AI innovation in terms of technology and application.
"AI will be a major driver in industrial upgrading and will be widely used in manufacturing, smart city plans, agriculture, defense and other sectors," Jiao Tong University's Wang said.
He pointed out that one key characteristic of the latest phase in AI development in China is that industrial application has become far more prevalent than academic research. As such, applications of AI technology can be seen in a wide range of sectors including security and financial.
Chinese tech giants Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and iFlytek have also been embracing the new technology, as evidenced by Baidu's autonomous driving platform, an urban brain created by Alibaba, a medical imaging brain built by Tencent, and an intelligent voice platform supported by iFlytek.
Nasdaq-listed Baidu, China's biggest search engine, said in its third quarter report that more than 70 companies, including international automotive giants Ford and Daimler, had joined the company's open autonomous driving platform called "Project Apollo".
Baidu co-founder and CEO Li Yanhong said that the company will work together with China's Xiongan New Area, a new economic zone in Hebei, to transform it into a leading intelligent transportation city.
Over at Alibaba Group, AI technology has been pivotal in helping it amass an average of 117 million yuan in sales per minute during this year's Nov 11 Singles Day. Alibaba generated a new record of 168.2 billion yuan in revenue during this year's one-day shopping extravaganza.
The New York-listed company announced last month that it would invest $15 billion over the next three years in cutting-edge technologies including AI through its global research effort called Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook (Damo) Academy.
This planned investment is more than double that of the $6.4 billion the company spent on research in its past three financial years, according to Bloomberg data.
Shenzhen-based Tencent said in August that it would similarly boost its investment in AI. Tencent is the world's largest games company by revenue, and is also China's biggest social media operator.
An AI research lab led by former Microsoft scientist Yu Dong was set up by Tencent in Seattle in May. The facility hires more than 50 AI researchers who are backed by about 200 engineers in the Chinese mainland, reported the South China Morning Post.
Meanwhile, an artificial intelligence-enabled robot developed by iFlytek, a leading Chinese artificial intelligence company, has also passed the written test by China's national medical licensing examination, an essential entrance exam for doctors, making it the first robot in the world to pass such an exam.
The Hefei, Anhui province-based voice recognition firm said it will set up a 1.02 billion yuan fund to finance startups that have core technologies but lack business know-how, or companies that excel in commercializing products but are unable to integrate AI into their devices.
Boom or doom?
Jiao Tong University's Wang said that China is already in a competitive position for AI development because of its massive market size and the quality of its research and market applications.
CCTV.com, citing sources from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, reported that China's AI technology development is nearly at the same level as developed countries in terms of deep learning thesis and number of patents.
However, Chinese AI researches are still lagging behind their international peers when it comes to working on creativity and originating open source material, said Wang.
There are 709 AI-related enterprises in China as of 2016, only second to the US, according to Chinese research firm CCID Consulting data. The total industrial scale of the Chinese AI sector reached nearly 300 billion yuan last year, and the figure is projected to rise to 360 billion yuan this year.
"Talent is the greatest strength of China and Shanghai, and after all these years of higher education, we now have a substantial amount of talent in computer science, automation and electronic engineering, which are all related to AI," said Wei.
"To some extent, China and the United States are entering the no man's land for AI technology innovation, application, as well as supporting policies, regulations, ethics and culture, almost at the same time. This is an extremely exciting opportunity for the tech industry in China," said Liu Qingfeng, founder and chairman of iFlytek.
But further development of the AI industry could also spell more unemployment. According to an article published on the official website of Science magazine, automation could push down global employment - a measure known as the labor participation rate - to just 50 percent by 2045. The article also cited a report by Oxford Martin School which said that automation will threaten 77 percent of the jobs in China, compared with just 47 percent of jobs in the United States.
But Lin is confident that machines will never completely replace humans.
"The AI shoe design system cannot replace the core work of designers, but it does offer inspiration and help in recommending particular samples, making the whole process much more efficient and economical," he said.
"As long as we are moving in the right direction, AI technology can be an important assistant for everybody, just like the mobile phones we are using today," said Liu.
China's State Council has also addressed this issue, saying that a better legal and social security system must be in place to prevent a situation where a few AI giants are responsible for creating the majority of social wealth.
The story of Shenzhen's transformation from a small fishermen village just 30 years ago, into an international innovative model city has become legendary. Many people have asked what are the secrets to its success? Talents is definitely one of them.
During his inspection tour of the southern Guangdong province city in 2012, President Xi Jinping stressed that competition for talents is the cornerstone of a nation's prosperity.
Xi made the remarks at KuangChi Science, a Shenzhen-based innovative high-tech startup established by five students who'd returned to China after studying abroad.
In just five years, the startup team had grown from 300 to nearly 2,700 employees, half of which are technical staff and 30 percent made up of expatriate workers.
KuangChi Science's efforts in attracting high-end talents has in return brought the startup success. Its business has expanded to more than 21 countries and regions, covering advanced technologies in the field of aerospace, smart cities, artificial intelligence, and high-speed WiFi. The company's patent applications have totaled 4,400, almost doubling in a five-year period, and it has formed two listed companies on the Shenzhen and Hong Kong stock markets.
To introduce talents is one of Shenzhen's most important formulas to develop into today's innovation model. Besides traditional preferential policies, such as financial rewards and housing allowances, the city has also formulated a comprehensive mechanism of talent policies.
For example, research and development talents can share 70 percent or above, of the income that results from their scientific research results.
In November, the city began implementing a legal regulation of talents' working in Shenzhen and the first day of this month is pinned as “talent day”, according to Li Xiaogan, head of Shenzhen publicity department.
Shenzhen has evolved into an ideal destination to realize the dream of young talents from the whole nation and even the world.
"U Mobile Wash", an O2O car service platform, stood out at the Zhangjiagang E-commerce Entrepreneurship Contest held in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu province on Nov 8.
"U Mobile Wash", a one-step self-service auto-washing service platform developed by Suzhou Youdibang Intelligent Technology Co, provides local residents with a convenient, environmentally-friendly and energy-saving way to clean their cars. Based on internet of things, artificial intelligence and big data analysis technology, the startup offers possibly the world's greenest and most high-tech car washing service in the world. The platform offers an auto-washing service by means of an advanced intelligent terminal and wastewater recycling system.
"U Mobile Wash" can solve many problems, as there are now 340,000 cars on the road in Zhangjiagang. Car washes tend to be expensive and difficult to find, and often pollute the environment because the waste water and dirt is not disposed of properly.
"The ‘U Mobile Wash' platform is a set of smart self-cleaning car terminal equipment. It has many functions including automated car identification, scan WeChat code to login, automatic stop function and machine self-diagnosis warming function which have won national patents," said Jiang Dongping, CEO of Suzhou Youdibang Intelligent Technology Co.
"We have developed a wastewater recycling system and the recycling utilization rate of the car wash is 80 percent. Auto-washing sludge filter terminal technology jointly developed by Shanghai Tongji University can utilize sludge to fertilize flowers and grass. "
Zhangjiagang city has already launched 27 auto washing stops and three pilot central washing stations: Jinmao Station, Yongan station and Zhizhong station.
Users need only follow the WeChat Official Account "uxiche" and click "service station enquiries" to find the nearest available car-washing stop. When arriving at the stop, users can start the wash machine to use water, foam, vacuuming, glass water and other self-washing functions to wash their cars. After finishing, the system automatically charges the user on WeChat.
"I come here every two days to wash my car, and six dollars is a very good price. It not only saves time, but is also very convenient," said a local taxi driver surnamed Tao as he washed his car at Jinmao station.
With Zhangjiagang as the headquarters, the service is expected to be rolled out to cities across China over the next few years.
"We hope that the service can be applied in the whole of Zhangjiagang, and that we can promote the Zhangjiagang self-created high-tech internet brand to other places in the nation," Jiang added.
Brochures with basic information on more than 2,400 declassified national defense patents were issued at the opening ceremony of an invention exhibition last week in Foshan, Guangdong province.
The National Defense Intellectual Property Rights Bureau of the Central Military Commission's Equipment Development Department also issued CDs storing detailed explanations of these military patents.
Yang Jianbing, deputy director of the bureau, said it was an important measure to boost the coordinated development of the civilian and defense sectors.
The patents cover such fields as information technology, new materials, energy technology, biological and environmental resources, and advanced manufacturing and automation technology.
The bureau started to organize patent holders in 2015 to review their patents and determine whether they could be declassified.
In March, about 3,000 national defense patents were declassified, of which 2,346 were made open to the public.
It was the first time the military declassified and made public military patents since it began to register such patents in 1985, according to PLA Daily.
During the exhibition, the bureau organized more than 70 military institutes and universities to showcase 156 projects at the civil-military integration exhibition zone, facilitating the transfer of military technologies to civilian industries.
The People's Liberation Army's Rocket Force University of Engineering debuted a gamma ray system at the expo. It is used for recognizing, positioning and analyzing radioactive nuclear waste in sealed containers. Zhang Quanhu, a professor of nuclear engineering at the university, said the system was the result of over 20 years of research, with a total investment of 10 million yuan ($1.51 million).
He added he hopes the exhibition will help to promote the system and provide a platform to find business partners.
The China National Exhibition of Inventions is one of the country's largest and most influential events in this field.
This year's event, held from Nov 23-25, involved more than 800 exhibition booths, presenting about 1,600 research projects brought by participants from 40 countries and regions, as well as four international organizations.
Yu Huarong, secretary-general of the China Association of Inventions, said Foshan has a solid industrial foundation and a strong culture for innovation.
He said he hopes the event will help the city to bring in the latest scientific achievements and high-quality invention patents to integrate with local industries and to create social and economic benefits.
Foshan Mayor Zhu Wei said the exhibition is an important opportunity for the city to accelerate construction of an innovation system.
The city government has highlighted creative industries for years. Since 2012, it has invested over 2 billion yuan annually to meet the requirements of a national innovation city.
Last year, expenditure on research and development reached 22.36 billion yuan, accounting for 2.6 percent of the city's GDP.
WIPO identifies rights, design, tech as driving forces of products' worth
Intangible assets, especially intellectual property portfolios, have become a major contributor to products' value, according to a report released by the World Intellectual Property Organization.
WIPO gave the first-ever figures revealing that nearly one-third of the value of manufactured products sold around the world comes from intangible capital, such as branding, design and technology.
The World Intellectual Property Report 2017: Intangible Capital in Global Value Chains, unveiled in Geneva, Switzerland last week, showed that intangible capital contributes twice as much as buildings, machinery and other forms of tangible capital to the total value of manufactured goods.
"Intangible capital will increasingly determine the fate and fortune of firms in today's global value chains. It is behind the look, feel, functionality and general appeal of the products we buy and it determines success in the marketplace," said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.
"Intellectual property, in turn, is the means by which companies secure the competitive advantage flowing from their intangible capital," Gurry said.
The WIPO report looks at how much income accrues from labor, tangible capital and intangible capital in the global production value chain across all manufacturing activities, with case studies focusing on coffee, photovoltaics and smartphones.
Rising up the ranks
As an IP powerhouse, China is well positioned in all three industries, as Chinese companies are participating in global value chains by establishing their own intangible assets.
In the photovoltaics sphere, the vast majority of patents are filed in China, Germany, Japan, South Korea and the United States, with Chinese innovators emerging as the largest source of patent filings as of 2010, according to the report.
Participation in the photovoltaics global value chain has shifted markedly over the last decade, in particular with the relocation of upstream and midstream production activities to China.
Chinese companies have benefited from attracting skilled engineers and executives from abroad, bringing technological expertise, capital and professional networks to China.
Solar panels have transformed from highly specialized products to lower cost commodities. Between 2008 and 2015, prices fell by an estimated 80 percent.
The shift in global value chain production - combined with the steep fall in solar panel prices - has left many traditional photovoltaics manufacturers facing greater competitive pressure, which partly explains the decline in related patent filings worldwide after 2011.
While the decline has been sharp in the US, Europe and Japan - the sector's traditional sources of innovation - China is the only major patenting origin to have seen continued patent growth after 2011.
Smartphone firms and technology providers rely heavily on patents, trademarks and industrial designs, generating a high return on their intangible capital.
The WIPO report estimated up to 35 percent of all first filings worldwide could relate to smartphones.
Chinese industry players have rapidly upgraded their technological capabilities.
The report cited Huawei as an example of the evolution from a manufacturer of telecommunications equipment and low-end mobile phones, into a leading supplier of high-end smartphones, investing heavily in research and development and building up a global brand.
Other Chinese smartphone suppliers, such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, have also joined the ranks of the top 10 by global sales.
Studies have identified East Asia, Europe and North America as the three regional blocks with the strongest supply chain relationships.
While Japan, Germany and the US have been the leading headquarter economies in those regions, China is increasingly entering the more technology-intensive upstream production stages.
Data from the State Intellectual Property Office show that roughly 21,200 international patent applications filed via the Patent Cooperation Treaty were from China in the first half this year, an increase of 16 percent year-on-year.
The Chongqing division of the Second International New Energy and Intelligent Vehicle Competition of the China Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition (CIEC) concluded on Nov 24.
According to the organizing committee of the two-month competition, the aim of the event is to introduce high technologies, high-end talents and high-tech companies to Chongqing.
Projects involved in the competition focused on innovations in the fields of R&D, production, manufacturing, and high-tech products' services and businesses.
A Chongqing internet technology company that developed a project aimed at dispelling drivers' road rage won the best award in the business category with a prize of 10,000 yuan (1,515 US dollars).
Chen Guozhen, manager of the project, said that a high-tech car networking system, composed of three parts – a cloud service platform system, an APP application platform and an intelligent display device – will be operated to help drivers correct their uncivilized driving behaviors.
"The real-time communication between drivers can relieve their mood and reduce traffic accidents, which can promote traffic safety," said Chen Guozhen.
The project developers have applied for a patent and introduced it to four agent cities including Qingdao and Xuzhou, Chen added.
An exhibition of new energy and intelligent cars was also held for makers to exchange ideas and to provide an opportunity for the public to get close to maker's culture.
Since it was founded in 1896, Roche has grown decade upon decade into a world-leading healthcare company, focused on developing medicines and diagnostics to help patients live longer, better lives.
Roche today is a global leader in the pharmaceuticals and diagnostics industries, including in-vitro diagnostics and tissue-based oncology diagnostics. Innovation is the driving force of Roche's continuous development to provide what patients need next.
Roche's annual investment in R&D accounts for 20% of its sales. In 2016, Roche invested CHF 9.9 billion in R&D. The patent system encourages innovation and protects R&D achievements. The patent right is the affirmation of our long-term investment, and also the powerful guarantee for our core competitiveness. Roche has always attached importance to protecting R&D results from infringement and will not tolerate any violations.
Roche also supplies instruments and reagents for Diagnostics to the Chinese market under the trademark cobas. To protect this business from unauthorized use of its intellectual property, Roche applies for patents in China for its innovative products. The Chinese Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has granted many patents to Roche.
As the owner of a patent directed to a container for reagents, Roche found that Guangzhou Kofa Biotechnology Co., Ltd., Shanghai Xuchi Biotechnology Co., Ltd. and Yuhuan Kangjia Enterprise Co., Ltd. have infringed its patent right, including:
Kangjia has produced and, sold the patented containers to Kofa. Kofa has produced, offered and provided reagents in the patented containers to Xuchi with the purpose of sales of the infringing reagent containers to laboratories for use on Roche instruments, thus competing with patented reagent containers sold by Roche for performing Diagnostics
Roche brought a lawsuit against the above-mentioned three companies for infringing patent right in Shanghai Intellectual Property Court of the People's Republic of China on October 25, 2016. On August 18, 2017, Shanghai Intellectual Property Court of the People's Republic of China issued a final decision on the case ((2016) H. 73 M. C. No.835):
Kofa, Xuchi and Kangjia should stop infringing Roche's patent as soon as the judgment enters into force.
Kangjia should compensate Roche for economic loss and reasonable expenses totaling 300,000 yuan. Kofa shall bear joint and several liabilities of RMB 100,000 of the aforesaid compensation.
As the patent owner of patent "container for reagents", Roche supports the judicial decision of the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court of the People's Republic of China which has strengthened Roche's confidence in intellectual property protection in China. Meanwhile, we believe that this decision is a positive step forward in promoting the awareness of domestic intellectual property rights and encouraging innovation.
Roche is the technical pioneer and has made many technical breakthroughs in the in vitro diagnostics industry. We will also continue the investment in research and development to create more advanced products to serve doctors and benefit patients. At the same time, we will also maintain the consistent "zero-tolerance" attitude towards any infringement and resolutely protect the implementation of patent rights.
From "smog corridors" to smog-cleaning bicycles, China has seen some unusual proposals to clean up smog.
However, there's one patent-seeker among them with a plan that really blows.
If approved, the "fan-away smog plan" could perhaps one day see up to 1.5 million people in Beijing blowing smog from the city using hand-held fans, the Legal Daily reported.
Its inventor surnamed Du filed an application with the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) in March in the hopes of making his "fan fiction" become reality.
According to Du's calculations, the plan could generate enough pressure to move more than 1 trillion cubic meters of air over the distance of one meter - enough to disperse Beijing's smog.
All its takes is 1.5 million residents fanning at the same time in one direction for an hour.
According to the patent application, the force of fans could be organized through TV, radio and SMS alerts, and government or other organizations could hand out fans at designated spots.
Du touted the method as a low-cost, effective solution to China's smog problem.
However, it seems unlikely Du will have his day. A SIPO official said that the application is in the initial stages and not under "essential review," which could take up to 18 months.
Most applications do not make it past this stage, the official said.
With more than 30 years of development, the cooperation between China's State Intellectual Property Office and the European Patent Office has evolved from a technical partnership to a strategic one, EPO President Benoit Battistelli said in a recent news conference in Beijing.
The two sides signed a new comprehensive strategic partnership agreement on Nov 23 with the aim of strengthening cooperation between the two offices and providing better services for global intellectual property users and contributing to improvements in the world's IP system.
"SIPO and the EPO are equal partners sharing similar views and objectives for the development of the global IP system," said Battistelli.
These objectives include the highest quality and legal certainty for granted patents, efficient and informed use of the patent system, optimized resources deployment, improved efficiency of patent search and examination tools and more interaction with users and the industry to provide more professional services, he said.
When China and Europe established their patent cooperation in 1985, China just started to build its IP system, but now it has "developed significantly".
"I'm very impressed by the progress that China has made in recent years and the quality of the granted patents in China," he said. "Within a few years, SIPO has become a leading office in the world."
SIPO, the EPO, the Japan Patent Office, the Korean Intellectual Property Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office－known as the IP5 in the industry－are the world's five largest patent administrations, representing roughly 85 percent of global patent applications.
More than 2,000 Chinese patent examiners and other related professionals have been trained at the EPO, and the EPO has helped SIPO use tools in patent search and examination.
SIPO and the EPO have developed "common positions" in their joint effort to simplify and improve the patent granting procedure. One example is the Global Dossier, a public service that enables users to monitor via a single online source how a family of patent applications is progressing at the IP5 offices.
"This is a one-stop access to work products from all patent offices, and the EPO and SIPO have been the first two offices to implement the Global Dossier," said Battistelli.
Last year, Chinese companies applied for 7,150 patents at the EPO, accounting for about 5 percent of the total applications and ranking No 6 among all origins. The number showed the strongest growth, 24.8 percent, among the top 10 leading countries at the EPO, making China "the main driver of growth in applications at the EPO", according to the office's 2016 annual report.
With 2,390 applications, Chinese IT giant Huawei moved two places ahead to become the second-largest patent applicant at the EPO last year, only after Philips.
Also last year, Chinese companies were granted 2,513 patents from the EPO, up 78.7 percent. Battistelli said the Chinese applications' approval rate is at about the same level of other regions.
However, he said there is still "a big margin of progress" for China. "The U.S. and European markets represent more or less the same importance for Chinese companies, each has 20 percent of Chinese exports, but if we look at the patent applications, Chinese companies applied four times more in the U.S. than in Europe."
Battistelli also said that Chinese patent applications at the EPO are concentrated in the information and communications technology sector, which parallels the strength of the Chinese economy. He said he expects more applications from other technical fields.
He said Chinese companies will find it easy to apply for patents in Europe, as the legal and administrative rules at the EPO are similar to those at SIPO.
He said the Unitary Patent system will be applied next year, which is an improvement on the current European patent system, as it will make it possible to get patent protections in 26 European Union members by submitting a single request to the EPO. It will not only simplify patent granting procedures, but also cut the application costs by 70 percent.
China pursues tough stance on IPR infringement (2017-11-24,Chinanews)
China is set to impose severe punishments in intellectual property right (IPR) infringement and counterfeiting cases.
"Penalties for IPR infringements will be increased and the cost of safeguarding such rights will be lowered," according to a statement following a State Council executive meeting Wednesday.
It is a significant move to demonstrate the government's determination to safeguard IPR, which is crucial to innovation, new growth and optimizing allocation of resources.
"Quick and low-cost ways of safeguarding IPR must be expanded," the statement said.
At the same time, the government plans to establish a punitive fine system for property right infringements and step up law enforcement and judicial protection.
"A normalized mechanism needs to be built so as to protect the IPR in a comprehensive and law-based manner," according to Li Shuguang, a professor at China University of Political Science and Law.
Data from the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) showed that in the first half of 2017, there were 15,411 national patent administrative law enforcement cases, an increase of 23.3 percent from the same period a year ago.
"With the deepening of reform, the cost gap between innovation and safeguarding rights has been reversed fundamentally," Li said.
IPR protection will be improved using real-time monitoring, Internet tracing of sources, and online identification of infringements, according to the statement.
Focus will be put on IPR infringements in online shopping and foreign trade, and more will be done regarding fake or shoddy goods.
Meanwhile, the government will make compensation if companies suffer losses due to the government's bad faith.
With strong and effective property rights protection, China will raise the confidence of market participants to invest and start businesses, the statement said.
"IPR protection should be deeply rooted in people's hearts just like traffic rules," Li said.
In 2016, Chinese courts handled 152,072 IPR cases, up 16.8 percent year on year. Over 3,700 people were arrested and 7,000 prosecuted, according to a white paper on IPR protection.
In September 2017, "the Action Plan for Protecting Foreign Companies' Intellectual Property Rights" was jointly published by 12 of China's government departments, including the office of the National Leading Group on the Fight against IPR Infringement and Counterfeiting, SIPO and the Public Safety Bureau.
China has a very good workable IPR protection system, which is different from the U.S. system, yet right and appropriate for China, William Mansfield, IP director for ABRO Industries, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
In 2014, China established special IP courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and their success encouraged the government to roll out four additional IP courts in Nanjing, Suzhou, Chengdu and Wuhan in early 2017.
The most important thing is that Chinese officials strongly value the role that the law plays in keeping society well-functioning as they are aware of the importance of legality and the value of commerce, Mansfield said.
China to raise cost of IPR infringement (2017-11-23,Chinanews)
The State Council, China's cabinet, said Wednesday that penalties for IPR infringement will be increased to reduce the cost of safeguarding such rights.
IPR protection will be improved by internet tracing of sources, real-time monitoring and online identification of infringements, according to a statement following an executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.
Punitive fines will be imposed on IPR infringement and new, low cost ways of safeguarding IPR must be found, the statement said.
China will take severe action against a batch of IPR infringement and counterfeiting cases to make law breakers aware of the heavy price they must pay and to improve the business environment, it said.
Focus will be put on IPR infringement occurring during online shopping and foreign trade, and more must be done about fake or shoddy goods, according to the statement.
The government itself will be fined if companies suffer losses from the government's bad faith.
"With strong and effective property rights protection, China will raise the confidence of market participants to invest and start businesses," the statement said.
The statement also said the government will provide better protection of property rights and help recover the losses of property owners with better legal assistance.
Tech trade fair's success reflects industry's rapid rise (2017-11-20,Chinanews)
Hong Kong-listed Tencent Holdings rose nearly 3 percent Friday to 403.4 HK dollars per share, making the Chinese Internet giant Asia's largest company by market value.
The company's fiscal report, released Wednesday, showed third-quarter revenue rocketed up 61 percent year on year to 65 billion yuan (9.8 billion U.S. dollars).
The China Hi-Tech Fair (CHTF), China's largest high-tech fair, held annually in Shenzhen, where Tencent is based, has also witnessed spectacular growth since its days as a young startup.
In 1999, when Asia had yet to step out of the shadow of its financial crisis, the Shenzhen city government transformed a lychee agricultural trade festival into the CHTF, hoping technical innovation would help restore the economy.
Tencent, just one year old at that time, rented a booth to display its messaging tool OICQ, known for its penguin icon and for being a copycat of the early instant messaging client ICQ.
"To attract an audience, we prepared 1,000 penguin-shaped pots as gifts, which turned out to be very popular at the fair," said Chen Yidan, one of Tencent's founders. "We later sold them for 5 or 10 yuan each, with the sales income offsetting the booth rental."
In 2000, Tencent received its first round of investment of 2.2 million U.S. dollars from two investors.
The penguin has grown into an Internet mammoth with social networking, mobile payment, online music, games and live streaming services. It has also shifted from imitation to innovation.
Figures show Tencent filed more than 1,000 international patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in 2013.
The company has also set up an artificial intelligence laboratory, eyeing success in the AI industry.
With its history of copying, then keeping up, and finally innovating, Tencent's development mirrors that of China in general.
China has made innovative development the priority among its five development concepts. The report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China said innovation is the "first force" to drive development.
China has become the world's second-largest economy after 30 years of reform and opening up, contributing more than 30 percent of the global economic growth. As supply-side structural reform shifts the country's growth pattern, science and technological innovation has been contributing more and leading growth in many sectors.
At the ongoing 19th CHTF, nuclear giant China General Nuclear Power Group has displayed robots for nuclear plant operations, including a radiation-resistant one that can climb through narrow spaces to take high-definition photos.
He Yu, chairman of the group, said the domestically developed robots have broken foreign monopolies, which will help reduce maintenance costs of nuclear power plants and increase the safety of plant operation.
At another pavilion, visitors tried on a "portable 3D cinema" device, which has a headset plus augmented reality (AR) glasses.
With flexible sensors on the headset, users can play movies simply by touching and sliding the earphone.
The latest 4G version of the product won the CES 2018 prize in the United States earlier this month, and a former WiFi version has been sold in more than 20 countries and regions.
"People will be able to have completely different interactions with machines through flexible products, as sensors will no longer be limited to a specific shape," said Liu Zihong, founder of the startup Royole.
China's science and technology innovation is also being recognized more widely in academic circles.
Statistics released by the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China last month showed papers from Chinese research fellows from 2007 to October 2017 had been cited 19.35 million times, an increase of 29.9 percent compared with data collected in 2016, leading China into second place globally, surpassing Britain and Germany.
China plans to become an innovative nation by 2020, a leader in innovation by 2030, and a world powerhouse in scientific and technological innovation by 2050, according to a three-step strategy for its innovation-driven development released in May last year.
China's first "talent park" sits on a beautiful coastal site in the southern city of Shenzhen.
The Shenzhen talent park, which opened to the public earlier this month, has photos and names of top innovators printed onto the pillars.
Two founders from Shenzhen-based BGI, China's top gene-sequencing provider, are among those recognized.
"It's like the stars of the Hollywood Walk of Fame with the names of celebrities. It's a novel way to recognize them and helps attract innovative talent here," said Zhu Yanmei, BGI chief human officer.
Neighboring Hong Kong, Shenzhen is a frontline city for China's opening and reform. This hotbed for both innovation and investment has drawn swarms of talent to start businesses or work in the city.
While new entrepreneurs innovate in emerging sectors, such as genomics, metamaterials and artificial intelligence, the city has also been creative in finding ways to draw high-end talent.
In August, the city legislature passed a regulation on talent work, declaring Nov. 1 as Shenzhen Talent Day.
The city also announced last month it will award a maximum of 100 million yuan (15 million U.S. dollars) to Nobel Prize winners who locate their laboratories in Shenzhen.
Five Nobel prize winners have set up laboratories in Shenzhen.
"The city is comfortable in both climate and its inclusiveness, making newcomers fall in love with the city easily," Zhu said.
She said BGI has over 1,000 R&D personnel in Shenzhen, which is high compared to its peer life science companies worldwide.
With highly qualified personnel flowing in and leading emerging industries, the value added in emerging sectors surged up 10.6 percent in 2016, accounting for 40 percent of the city's economic growth.
Last year, Shenzhen saw nearly 20,000 international patent applications filed under the PCT. There are 80 patents per 100,000 people, 10 times the national average.
At the ongoing China Hi-Tech Fair (CHTF) in the city, an exhibition zone is reserved for early startups, offering opportunities to show off their ideas and woo investors.
Yang Lujian is busy introducing his drone dock design, a round table-like base for drone landing and automatic charging.
The auto engineering major and his two partners quit their jobs at an automaker in northeast China's Jilin Province and started his business in Shenzhen in 2015.
"As an innovation hub, Shenzhen has a complete industrial chain with industry clusters and convenient logistics, so we chose it," he said, adding that a group of drone makers, including DJI, the country's leading brand, is a main reason for their choice.
The report delivered to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China said the country will accelerate its efforts to become a nation of innovators.
More efforts will be made to cultivate a large number of world-class scientists and technologists in strategically important fields, scientific and technological leaders, and young scientists and engineers, as well as high-performing innovation teams, according to the report.
Facing rising housing prices, the Shenzhen city government is also coming up with new ways to encourage rental housing and to help lower living and business operating costs.
Last week, the city bid on the first piece of land designated for rental homes. The apartments to be built on it will not be allowed to be sold.
Banks are also encouraged to offer loans designed for home rentals.
At the CHTF on Thursday, a high-end job fair offered nearly 1,000 vacancies with annual packages of over 500,000 yuan or more than 300,000 yuan plus company shares.
Company presidents, operations directors, and senior engineers in cutting-edge sectors were among the job vacancies.
"I have never experienced such a high-end job fair before, neither as an HR worker nor as a job seeker," said Xu Jing, 36, from Jiangsu Province.
Xu, who has worked in HR for eight years, is looking for an HR and administration director position.
"I have decided to move to the city, as the young and passionate city makes me feel young," she said.
In the knowledge economy era, intellectual property plays a key role in generating new technologies and commercial patterns, according to a senior official.
"IP helps to analyze the market environment and design strategies, and offers protection for scientific research and companies' global development," said Zhang Zhicheng, director of the protection and coordination division of the State Intellectual Property Office. He made the comments at an IP activity in Chengdu, Sichuan province last week, which focused on how IP can serve regional economies.
Fan Su, head of the IP team at Ninebot Ltd, a Chinese startup making electric personal transport vehicles, echoed Zhang. Founded in 2012, the company has become a shining example of IP safeguarding.
"IP, especially trademarks, designs and invention patents, are the core for a startup," said Fan.
Ninebot has made efforts both in China and abroad to fully protect its IP rights.
The company found replicas of its self-balancing scooter on the Chinese market. It reacted to the infringement by asking the Beijing Intellectual Property Office to confirm Ninebot's IP rights to the product design.
In 2015, Ninebot acquired Segway, the United States-based producer of the now household name self-balancing scooters founded in 1999. Ninebot obtained the complete patent package for self-balancing scooters and won the US market.
Fan said: "Startups should seize opportunities in the market within the first two years and register their IP for protection. Safeguarding IP rights is essential for protecting the business itself and maintaining market order."
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has taken steps to protect its creation of the "Singles Day" shopping spree, which takes place on Nov 11 each year.
In 2011, Alibaba applied for the trademark "Double Eleven" associated with the spree, which was approved the next year.
Registering the trademark has helped Alibaba to maintain its leading position in the e-commerce sector, said Zhang Haiyan, president of China Trademark and Patent Law Office Co.
"IP is an intangible asset for all walks of life. It will play an increasingly important role in China's economic restructuring and globalization," he said.
Wu Kai, director of the Chengdu federation of trade unions, said: "In the knowledge economy era, the foundation of cities' development has shifted from labor and resources to technology and knowledge. The IP system significantly stimulates innovation, encourages startups and supports innovation-driven development."
A Shanxi-made vehicle with a hydrogen engine, the first of its kind in China, was unveiled at the 2017 Shanxi Clean Energy Automobile Promotion and Application Exhibition which opened in Taiyuan on Nov 11, attracting many visitors.
Faced with a global energy crisis, many countries including China, the United States, Canada and Japan have been promoting new energy vehicles such as fuel-cell vehicles on a large scale.
Shanxi in North China, previously a major energy producer, has seen its development dogged by exhausted energy supplies and pollution caused by energy development and production.
"The hydrogen-powered vehicle with fuel made from water has zero emissions and will help relieve the energy crisis," said Gao Zhenshi, sales manager of Shanxi Yuanye Automobile Manufacturing Co, the producer of this new energy vehicle.
The hydrogen engine uses 60 percent less processing materials, reduces emissions by more than 90 per cent and running costs by 50 per cent, compared with traditional engines.
"The cost of running a petroleum vehicle for 100 kilometers is around 80 yuan ($12.05), an e-vehicle is around 10 yuan, while a hydrogen-powered vehicle costs only 6 yuan," added Gao.
The company's promising hydrogen vehicle project provides a new way to utilize a hydrogen engine and the related key technologies which have reached an advanced level in China, and can be applied in more areas, according to an expert group led by Ni Weidou, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
Currently, the company's hydrogen fuel rotary engine technology is the subject of three national patent applications, and has been tested on various types of vehicles.
When it goes into mass production and hits the market in 2018, the hydrogen-powered vehicle is expected to help control air pollution in Shanxi, and facilitate the development of new energy vehicles and the upgrading of the auto industry.
US chipmaker Qualcomm Inc on Wednesday said it has invested in nine Chinese startups, including Beijing-based image recognition startup SenseTime and Chinese bike-sharing titan Mobike Technology Co Ltd, as it attempts to create new momentum in key markets.
The move is also part of the company's $150 million strategic investment plan announced in 2014 for China's technology market and came as it further expands into artificial intelligence and the internet of things business.
Quinn Li, Qualcomm's vice-president and global head of Qualcomm Ventures, said by providing financial and technical support for the nine companies, Qualcomm aims to help them make further breakthroughs in the fields of AI and IoT.
"Qualcomm is committed to be a supporter of technological innovation and aims to foster better life for the public. In the future, Qualcomm Ventures will continue to support tech startups to innovate in cutting-edge technologies and boost the related industries," Li added.
Other startups being backed by Qualcomm include wireless technology provider CreatComm Technology, AI startup Kneron Inc, unmanned convenience store operator Zero Element, virtual reality and augmented reality film and television content provider Magic AI and leading electronic building blocks manufacturer and learning tools provider Microduino. Beijing Acsm Agriculture Consultant and Smart Management Technology Service Co Ltd and Alo7, which offers immersive English learning environment for children, also received additional investment from Qualcomm. The company did not disclose the size of the investment.
James Yan, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, said: "As a deep localized company, Qualcomm basically focuses on investment in technologies and products related to its own industry chain products, which will help it better develop its technologies and products in those areas."
Jia Mo, an analyst at market research company Canalys, said the new move marks Qualcomm's goal to steadily diversify its business to earn more profit, as most of its current profit comes from mobile chip services and fees charged for patents that cover the fundamentals of all modern phone systems.
"Qualcomm expects to benefit from the invested startups in the future and the investment will also help it have a better preparation for the future fierce competition in those key fields," Jia added.
BOE Technology Group Co Ltd plans to ramp up its efforts in the internet of things sector by utilizing display, sensor, artificial intelligence and big data technologies, as well as working with partners in computing, storage, software and other related equipments to build an industry ecosystem.
The Beijing-based technology company is transforming from a semiconductor display manufacturer to an IoT technology and service provider, putting its focus on display and sensor devices, smart systems and healthcare services.
"We are positioning BOE as an IoT company providing intelligent interface products and services for information interaction and human health," said Wang Dongsheng, founder and chairman of BOE at its Innovation Partner Conference on Tuesday in Wuhan, Hubei province.
Wang said total revenue of the global IoT market will reach $27.6 trillion in 2030 from $1.1 trillion this year, and said the firm will continue to work with enterprises in the IoT sector to promote both hardware and software innovation, covering the fields of healthcare, digital art and intelligent retail.
"R&D spending now accounts for no less than 7 percent of our revenue. Moreover, we attach importance to patent applications. Our new patent applications reached 7,570 last year, and the number is expected to surpass 8,000 this year," said Wang.
The company has also signed a strategic cooperation agreement with e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and SAP SE on building a new retail ecosystem, marking another step in its endeavor to open up its application and technology platform.
Chen Yanshun, CEO of BOE, said the company's turnover would double every three years and reach 300 billion yuan ($45.2 billion) by 2022.
"We will expand our applications from traditional fields such as smartphones, tablets, PCs, television and other display devices to new products like vehicle displays, electronic tags, wearable devices, virtual reality and augmented reality," said Chen.
BOE has accelerated its layout in the IoT field this year. It has launched a smart, interactive shopping terminal together with Intel Corp, and developed brand-new IoT solutions together with China Mobile Communications Corp.
BOE reported operating revenue of 69.4 billion yuan during the first nine months of this year, a year-on-year growth of 51.41 percent and a net profit of nearly 6.5 billion yuan during the period.
Chip giant reaches agreements with three Chinese smartphone vendors
Qualcomm Inc on Thursday signed non-binding deals worth about $12 billion with three of China's largest smartphone vendors as the United States chip giant beefed up efforts to strengthen ties with Chinese players amid ongoing patent disputes with Apple Inc.
Under the memorandums of understanding, Xiaomi Corp, Oppo Electronics Corp and Vivo Mobile Communication Technology said they plan to buy smartphone components, mostly chips, worth at least $12 billion from Qualcomm over the next three years.
The deals are expected to give a boost to the San Diego-based company's financial performance, which was hit by its patent disputes with Apple in the latest quarter.
Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, said in a statement: "We have been cooperating with Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo for a long time. We will continue investing into China's semiconductor and mobile industry."
Qualcomm is the world's largest mobile chip maker, but recently it has been involved in a string of challenges. In the quarter ended in September, it posted an almost 90 percent slump in profit, as its ongoing patent battle with Apple hurt its licensing and chips business.
Qualcomm also faces mounting pressure from its rival Broadcom Ltd, which has recently proposed a purchase of Qualcomm for $105 billion.
James Yan, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, said: "The deals can temporarily relieve Qualcomm's pressure and help boost investors' confidence."
According to Yan, most Chinese smartphone companies rely on Qualcomm for high-end chips. Deepening ties with Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, which are all growing rapidly, will send positive signals to investors.
"But given the deals are non-binding, it remains to be seen how the partnerships will go on if Qualcomm loses in the patent war with Apple," Yan said.
Apple has continued to withhold patent licensing fees attributable to iPhone and iPad, after it sued Qualcomm for allegedly overcharging unnecessary licensing fees tied to critical smartphone intellectual properties.
Xiang Ligang, a telecom expert and CEO of industry website Cctime, said the deals are based on projections that Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo will maintain healthy growth in coming years.
"In addition to buying chips, the three companies are likely to work more closely with Qualcomm on research and development of new processors by a slate of efforts, such as giving immediate consumer feedback," Xiang said.
The Qualcomm deals are part of broader agreements signed during US President Donald Trump's first state visit to China, underscoring the strength of commercial partnerships between the world's two largest economies.
"The timing will also significantly boost Qualcomm's brand image," Xiang added.
Chinese and U.S. police have jointly smashed an international criminal network that made and sold fake luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Rolex and Cartier, the Ministry of Public Security announced on Wednesday.
The joint probe is part of an ongoing collaboration between law enforcement agencies in the two countries to curtail intellectual property infringement, and it reflects a zero-tolerance attitude on both sides toward cross-border crimes, the ministry said.
In this case, fake luxury goods were produced in Chinese factories, sold via e-commerce and shipped to the U.S. and other countries and regions.
Chinese police so far have detained 36 suspects and destroyed seven production plants, confiscating more than 3,000 counterfeit items, including leather products, suitcases, glasses, watches and jewelry. Sales had reached 100 million yuan ($15.1 million), according to the ministry.
U.S. law enforcement agencies are investigating buyers who placed the orders in the United States.
Early this year, police in Guangzhou received a tip and discovered an English-language website full of advertisements for fake luxury goods, the ministry said. Later, a criminal group - led by a person with the surname Zhuang - surfaced. The ministry then informed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security about the matter, and a joint investigation was started.
As part of the effort, police discovered that Zhuang and his associates received orders from the website in Guangzhou, and then purchased fake products from local markets or ordered them from illegal factories. The pirated products were sealed and declared at customs through Zhuang's express company, and then shipped abroad through international express delivery services.
In mid-July, police in Guangdong raided production, storage and export operations, and found information related to orders from U.S. customers. From those orders, they found that many U.S. customers were aware the products were fake but still placed large orders. That led police to suspect those customers of being intermediaries in the sale of the products on U.S. soil, according to the ministry.
At the request of U.S. officials, the ministry sent a police team to the United States at the end of August to collect evidence. Both sides are now investigating web servers in the U.S. and a possible wholesale network in China, the release said.
Liu Chuntian, a professor at the Renmin University of China's Intellectual Property Academy, said that in recent years China and the U.S. have been in close communication and have collaborated against multinational intellectual property infringement.
China and the U.S. have common ground in fighting IPR infringement, and a consensus has been reached at high levels on both sides, he said.
A potential mega-merger between chipmaker Broadcom and U.S. rival Qualcomm Inc is likely to face stern scrutiny in China, antitrust lawyers said, amid a strategic push by the Chinese government into semiconductors.
Broadcom made an unsolicited $103 billion bid for Qualcomm on Monday, aimed at creating a $200-billion-plus behemoth that could reshape the industry at the heart of mobile phone hardware.
But Chinese regulatory approval could be a hold-up.
China and the US have sparred over technology deals, including in chips, with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) knocking back a number of takeovers involving Chinese companies this year.
The merger would face a lengthy review from the anti-monopoly unit of China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), due to strategic concerns, the huge size of the deal and because Qualcomm has come under fire before in the country over competition concerns.
"This is a critical industry for China and Qualcomm has been fined by the MOFCOM before so it's on its radar," said Wendy Yan, a Shanghai-based partner at law firm Faegre Baker Daniels.
Qualcomm agreed to pay a record fine of $975 million in China in 2015 to end a probe into anti-competitive practices related to so-called double dipping by billing Chinese customers patent royalty fees in addition to charging for the chips.
China is making a major push to develop its own semiconductor industry under local champions such as Beijing-based Tsinghua Unigroup and Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund to help cut reliance on global operators including Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics Co and Intel Corp.
"The [MOFCOM] will consider industry security for the whole country, as the semiconductor industry has strategic importance to China," a second Shanghai-based antitrust lawyer said.
He asked not to be identified because Qualcomm was a client of his firm.
Midea, Gree nearing negotiated settlement of court cases
Shares of Midea Group Co and Zhuhai Gree Electric Appliances Inc, two of China's leading appliance makers based in South China's Guangdong Province, outpaced the benchmark Shenzhen stock index on Monday following media reports of moves toward a negotiated settlement in a dozen lawsuits involving intellectual property rights (IPR).
The Beijing-based Securities Daily reported on Monday that Gree may have recently approached Midea to discuss an out-of-court settlement for 12 cases, which may be the reason why hearings in these cases have yet to open.
After Gree filed a lawsuit against Midea in June, demanding compensation of 50 million yuan ($7.54 million), Midea fought back with four lawsuits filed in multiple cities with a total value of 50 million yuan.
Altogether, there were suits with a gross value of "hundreds of millions of yuan," according to the report.
Neither company responded to the Global Times' request for comment as of press time on Monday.
Investors reacted favorably to the report, with shares of Midea up 4.03 percent to 52.69 yuan and those of Gree up 4.06 percent to 43.53 yuan. The Shenzhen Component Index, which measures the performance of the Shenzhen bourse where the companies are listed, rose 1.41 percent.
Both companies are industrial champions in the domestic home appliance sector.
According to the 2016 State of Innovation compiled by Thomson Reuters, Midea ranked No.1 among the top 10 Global Innovators in home appliances, with Gree at No.2.
Li Junhui, a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times on Monday that the lawsuits come as the two giants square off over the air conditioning segment, which is increasingly dominated by innovation and high technology.
"Compensation for IPR violations in China has risen continually in recent years, providing a way for a company to get a return from protecting its IPR. Confrontation over IPR can also be seen as competition in another form," Li said.
However, patent lawsuits are unique in that many such cases can be settled out of court if the adversaries are equal in technological strength and opt to cooperate rather than compete by such means as cross-licensing, Li noted.
Liu Buchen, a senior home appliance industry analyst, said it's possible that Midea and Gree will reach a negotiated settlement because the number of patent violations they each claimed and the amount of compensation they each sought were relatively similar.
If such a deal is reached, Liu said it would mean that Midea is catching up quickly with Gree in terms of technological research and development.
"In the past, Gree often had the upper hand over Midea in patent disputes. But now, the fact that Gree is likely to settle shows that Midea's patent bank has grown fast recently," Liu said. By the end of 2020 at the latest, Midea should draw even with Gree in terms of business performance, Liu added.
Li said the case is important in the context of the Made in China 2025 strategy, which calls for innovation-driven growth. "If cross-licensing is achieved, the two companies together can better guard against risks from potential patent lawsuits in overseas markets," Li said.
According to Liu, if Midea and Gree settle their disputes, they will share the patents involved in the cases.
"I think patent lawsuits are not a bad thing for China's manufacturing industry. It shows that companies are attaching increasing importance to patents. Such suits also raise domestic companies' awareness of how important patents are for their business," he noted.
China has a very good workable intellectual property (IP) protection system, which is different from the U.S. system, yet right and appropriate for China, a senior U.S. professional told Xinhua in a recent interview.
"The problem most Western brand owners have is not that the Chinese have a bad system, but that the brand owners often don't know how to make that system work," said William Mansfield, IP director for ABRO Industries, Inc, which is based in South Bend, Indiana and has been in business for 75 years.
The company makes non-electronic consumer goods like glue, tape, engine oil and things like that, with about half products manufactured in America and half manufactured in China, under the brand name ABRO.
Mansfield, who is familiar with both Chinese and U.S. markets after visiting China about 30 times, noted that like all government officials, Chinese anti-counterfeiting officials have very limited resources, but face unlimited requests for their help.
"ABRO goes directly to these officials in order to make our case for why they should expend some of their limited resources in protecting our brand as opposed to other things they could do," said Mansfield, talking about ABRO's successful experience of anti-counterfeiting activities in China.
After entering the Chinese market in 2008, ABRO started manufacturing more and more in China as well as selling more in China over the last five to seven years, and the company has even opened up its first overseas branch office in Beijing and hired Chinese employees.
RESPECTING LOCAL RULES
The importance of respecting local rules should not be neglected either, Mansfield said.
"As a brand owner, it's not their job to conform their system to mine, it's my job to learn and understand their system. If I want help there, I need to comply with their rules," he told Xinhua. "Our strong position in China comes from our focus on working with the Chinese as equals."
People also should show respect to differences in different nations. "I've been to 55 countries personally and we've done actions in probably 160. And in each place there's something a little different," he pointed out.
It is probably true that many brands have more counterfeit products in China than in some other countries, but it is only because that most things are made in China, he said.
"If most of everything was made on the moon, most of the counterfeits would be made on the moon, and we'd all be angry at the moon people," Mansfield added.
The most important thing is that Chinese officials strongly value the role that the law plays in keeping society well-functioning as they are aware of the importance of legality and the value of commerce, he said.
"Chinese officials more than any other officials I've dealt with understand the role that foreign commerce plays in their domestic prosperity and they are very serious about protecting them," he added.
CHINA'S IP PROTECTION EFFORTS
In recent years, the total number of patent law enforcement cases in China has maintained a rapid growth each year, indicating that the Chinese government has continuously stepped up its crackdown on various kinds of infringement.
Latest data from State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) show that in the first half of 2017, the national patent administrative law enforcement cases totaled 15,411, an increase of 23.3 percent from the same period a year ago.
In September 2017, "the Action Plan for Protecting Foreign Companies' Intellectual Property Rights" was jointly published by China's 12 departments, including the office of the National Leading Group on the Fight against IPR Infringement and Counterfeiting, SIPO and Public Safety Bureau, which is widely seen as the Chinese government's latest determination to continuously protect IP.
Meanwhile, according to Mansfield's observation, the Chinese system offers much better training and the judges are becoming more and more educated about it.
Back in 2014, at the tenth meeting of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People's Congress, the Chinese government voted to establish special IP courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
The success of the IP courts in those test cities has encouraged the Chinese government to roll out additional similar courts in other cities. In early 2017, four additional specialized IP tribunals were established in Nanjing, Suzhou, Chengdu and Wuhan.
CHINA'S EFFORTS NEED TO BE RECOGNIZED
However, it seems that Chinese government has got "virtually no credit for their efforts," said Mansfield.
When testifying on behalf of ABRO before the Section 301 Committee at an International Trade Commission hearing in October, Mansfield represented the only U.S. company that opposed a so-called Section 301 investigation into China's alleged IP misappropriation launched by the U.S. trade representative.
"When we heard about this, we wanted to come to testify, because in that sort of hearing you tend to get a lot of people who have a problem to come out and talk. But what you don't get is all the people whose things are going well."
"I feel like somebody needs to go and say that truth as well, and I hope that will be considered in the course of writing the 301 report," said Mansfield.
Equipment that can process household garbage and convert 100 tons of it every day into 80,000 cubic meters of flammable gas is expected to enter the market in Dalian in Northeast China's Liaoning province.
The heating value can exceed 1,200 kilocalories and can meet the requirements of a heating area of 240,000 square meters, said Xu Qinghui, director of the laboratory at Dalian Huichuan Environmental Protection Technology.
Research and development on the gasification and power generation of municipal solid waste is listed as a key project among Dalian's 13th Five-Year Plan.
"The advanced technology is a result of 10 years' research," he said, "We have obtained 14 national patents from the invention of garbage treatment system technology."
Taking household garbage as its material, the equipment utilizes high-temperature pyrolysis technology.
In the state of anaerobic heating, the molecular chain structure can be changed. Thus, the material will be converted into combustible gas with a high calorific value, as well as tar or other useful substances.
According to Xu, the system integrates garbage collection, transportation, extrusion, dehydration, screening, drying treatment, pyrolysis and gasification, energy conversion and utilization, and automatic control.
"It realizes the reduction, decontamination and resource utilization of household garbage," he said.
Zhongguancun Science Park's administrative committee recently released an industrial incubation plan to promote the artificial intelligence (AI) industry.
Known as China's Silicon Valley and a national-level high-tech demonstration zone, Zhongguancun has been making efforts in promoting its AI industry in recent years.
As pointed out in the plan, AI technology has become a new engine in promoting economic and social development.
By 2020, Zhongguancun is expected to form an AI super group that will encourage international competitiveness. For instance, a batch of frontier technology achievements and AI international standard are expected to take shape in three years.
More importantly, Zhongguancun has owned China's biggest and most powerful AI innovation power group.
Official statistics show that there're currently 250 artificial intelligence enterprises with over 7,800 patents in Zhongguancun, both ranking the first place in China. Additionally, 42.9 percent of China's AI entrepreneurial enterprises are also from Zhongguancun.
In the following four years, Zhongguancun will focus on making breakthroughs in core technology of AI industry and construct a special innovation platform for AI technology research and development.
Through various ways such as industry competition, summit forum and international congress, communication and cooperation between different AI companies will be promoted.
Gree, Midea and others establish industry's first alliance, echoing national strategies
Despite an ongoing patent fight between Gree and Midea - both leading Chinese home appliances manufacturers - the two companies have joined hands to protect the intellectual property rights of the entire air conditioner sector, establishing the first IP rights alliance for the industry in China.
Other founding members of the alliance include Haier, TCL, Hisense, Changhong and Aux, all big names in the industry.
The establishment of the alliance echoes the national strategies of building a strong IP powerhouse and an innovation-driven economy, and will promote the integration of the industry's development and IP, said Chen Jingliang, deputy secretary-general of the newly formed China Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Industry Association. He made the comments at the alliance's launch ceremony last week in Zhuhai, Guangdong province.
Liu Hua, deputy chief engineer of Gree and the first director-general of the alliance, called on the entire industry to "join hands to build a firewall".
"Gree hopes the alliance will guide the industry to respect IP rights, regulate competition order in the air conditioner market, promote patent operation, coordinate patent disputes and licensing among its members, and provide analysis on industrial development trends," Liu said.
Gree has so far filed more than 30,000 patent applications. Last year, it filed more than 3,000 applications and was granted 871 patents. Both numbers are the highest among Chinese home appliances manufacturers.
In June, the company filed a patent lawsuit against its competitor Midea with the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, asking for 50 million yuan ($7.6 million) in damages from the latter.
Midea sued Gree in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, and Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong, seeking a combined 50 million yuan in damages in another four patent cases.
Hong Shibin, executive director of the marketing committee of the China Household Electrical Appliance Association, said the patent wrangle between the two giants is the result of increasingly intense competition in the air conditioner market.
"However, the two companies are now standing side by side, showing that home appliance giants have an urgent need for patent protection," he said.
On many occasions, Gree's President Dong Mingzhu has called for greater efforts against patent infringement, counterfeiting and piracy, as well as for higher compensation, so that people will be encouraged to innovate and can enjoy the benefits of IP rights.
"Related laws in China are being improved," said Zang Xiaoli, a lawyer at Beijing-based Yingke Law Firm. "Shortened patent lawsuit hearing periods and more punitive compensation must be the future trends in legislation.
"At the same time, patent wars among leaders in the same businesses will intensify, as the companies are paying increasing attention to proprietary innovation and IP protection."
The fourth revision of the nation's Patent Law is expected to finish within the year, insiders said.
Three-dimensional holographic images usually appear in science fiction films like Star Wars, but a group of Chinese researchers is trying to bring the same effect into the real world without use of 3D glasses.
A video demonstrating this holographic projection, generated by a spinning fan-like blade and LEDs, has amazed global netizens since it was first posted on Instagram in late September.
The holographic projector itself is a complex and formidable piece of technology, which can project a variety of 3D images more or less into thin air -- a flying butterfly, a bird, a moving car and a jumping Super Mario.
The video has been viewed more than 20 million times on Chinese video websites, around 10 million times on Youtube. It has been shared 54,000 times and received 14,000 comments on Facebook.
The holographic projector was invented by DSEE.LAB, a Chinese startup in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province.
According to founder and CEO Zhou Quan, the product is basically a propeller with hundreds of LEDs controlled by computer. When it rotates at a high speed, the LED lights change quickly, creating a moving picture in the air.
The existing product can be used for advertising displays or exhibitions at hotels, shopping malls or airports, but in the future, Zhou aims to make low-cost holographic videos.
Existing products that project moving holographic images are costly and have severe limitations.
Sun Jian, in charge of publicity, said that their naked-eye display has different sizes with a price ranges from 2,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan.
Since the product was put into mass production in June, the company has received around 10,000 orders from home and abroad, with sales reaching 10 million yuan (around 1.5 million U.S. dollars).
DSEE.LAB is a young company set up in 2016. The average age of its 20 team members is only 24. The team has obtained seven patents in China and one international patent.
The company has set up branches in the United States, Germany and Singapore. On October 20, it announced that it had secured around 10 million yuan in financing from angel investors.
Many young people are setting up their own businesses as China moves toward an innovation-led economy, encouraging entrepreneurship.
According to auditing firm KPMG, the government has invested more than one billion U.S. dollars in domestic startups since 2015. Compared with other firms, technology firms have obtained most support in tax preferences, funding, low-interest or interest-free loans and rent subsidies.
Zhou's team has received 1.7 million yuan of government funding since 2015.
Next year, the company plans to develop a projection propeller with a diameter of 1.5 meters and make the screen more interactive, allowing users to switch images only by moving their fingers.
Fangda Partners, JunHe LLP and King & Wood Mallesons become leading Chinese law firms in patent application in Asia, according to Asian Legal Business (ALB) Intellectual Property (IP) Rankings 2017 released by Thomson Reuters.
ALB identified the top firms for IP in Asia by drawing information from firm submissions, interviews, editorial resources and market suggestions and the research included both ongoing work and matters that were closed from January 2016 to February 2017.
These law firms have been evaluated in diversified metrics such as the volume, complexity and size of work, presence across Asia and in individual jurisdictions, key personnel hires and growth of the practice group, and key clients and new client wins, according to ALB report.
Five companies are listed as the strongest law firms in patent application and four in trademark and copyright as tier one IP firms. Except JunHe LLP, the one only in patent application category, all the other four firms are listed in both categories.
China maintained its fast-paced growth in IP filings and cases in 2016 and drove the overall growth in global demand in terms of the number of Patent Cooperation Treaty applications filed last year, ALB reported citing United Nations agency World Intellectual Property Organization's statistics.
Propulsion system boosts submarine capability
China has conducted a trial run on the country's first permanent magnet propulsion motor for naval vessels, with experts saying that it marks a significant breakthrough in the country's naval vessel building industry, especially for the nuclear submarines.
The State-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), which is known for its aircraft carriers and the Jiaolong submersible vessel, made a statement on its official WeChat public account on Monday that the permanent magnet motor with a Chinese patent has been used on naval vessels docked at Sanya, South China's Hainan Province, the base of China's conventional and nuclear submarine fleet.
The statement said the vessel's propeller began to turn at 11 am on October 18, then reached the designated speed, which signified the success of the permanent magnet propulsion.
Although the statement did not disclose the type of vessels the motor was tested on, Chinese military experts say they believe the motor is specially designed for China's submarines and can substantially improve their performance in many aspects, especially by significantly reducing their running sound to the lowest possible level.
The new high-performance permanent magnet motors made from rare-earth materials avoid the flaws of traditional motors that work under the excitation principle, and can provide much greater power density, and can significantly reduce its working noise," Song Zhongping, a military analyst who previously served with the PLA Rocket Force, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Back in May, Rear Admiral Ma Weiming, China's top naval engineer, in an interview with China Central Television, said that the navy was supplying its newest nuclear attack submarines with a "shaftless," rim-driven pump-jet, which was considered a revolutionary, low-noise propulsion system.
Ma said that the technology was ahead of the U.S. and more efficient and suitable for high-speed nuclear submarines.
Shanghai released an announcement on Oct 16 to further encourage foreign-funded R&D centers to participate in the construction of the city's scientific and technological center.
A total of 16 measures concerning global allocation and cross-border flow of innovative elements, intellectual property protection, overseas talents services, and services for foreign-funded R&D have been proposed.
Five measures focusing on global allocation of innovative elements are expected to create a better investment and trade environment in the city. Top-rated R&D centers of multinationals will gain support for their development in Shanghai. Multinationals are encouraged to set up open innovation platforms in hope of helping local enterprises make breakthroughs in R&D and innovation.
Procedures for research samples, specimen, and reagents import will be simplified to improve R&D efficiency. Foreign-funded R&D centers are encouraged to take part in key R&D projects and to transfer their research results in Shanghai. Social capital will be introduced to help with the industrialization of their research results. Foreign investors are allowed to set up national technological centers.
Three intellectual property-focused measures are intended to create a better legal environment, including promoting the actual use of intellectual properties, carrying out one-stop services integrating patent examination, quick confirmation of IP right, and quick access for right protection, and bringing in more of the world's leading IP service agencies.
Three measures aiming to better serve overseas talents will be rolled out. Work permit application procedures will be simplified. Eligible overseas talents will be able to secure multiple exit and entry visas valid for five to ten years. Benefits in housing, children's education, and health care will also be provided.
Four other measures seek to better serve foreign-funded R&D activities and to create a better R&D environment.
In addition, foreign-funded R&D centers can participate in the city's R&D public service platform construction, making it easier for the centers to use the city's large scientific facilities.
Their research personnel are permitted to join the city's expert's bank and local government-led research projects.
Government service mechanism will be improved to make sure the communication between government and enterprises fluid. All districts are also encouraged to roll out related supportive policies.
Foreign-funded R&D centers have already become a major force in Shanghai's scientific and technological innovation center construction. By the end of August, the city was home to 416 such centers, accounting for nearly a quarter of the country's total.
These centers bring together an abundance of innovation capital and talents to the city and are considered a "treasure trove" of global innovative elements, the source of innovative products, and the starting point of innovative network.
The unveiling ceremony of Shenzhen's Intellectual Property Rights town was held at Shenzhen Special Zone Press Tower on Sept 12, making Shenzhen the first city in China with an IPR town in operation.
Founded by the Shenzhen Press Group and Shenzhen Zhongyi Patent and Trademark Office, the IPR town will be settled in Futian-based Baochun Building.
It aims to take advantage of Shenzhen's maturing market, industrial clusters, professional IPR expertise and financial capital, to build China's first full-fledged IPR service system featuring complete chains and high quality.
According to Zhang Quanwen, chairman of the Shenzhen Zhongyi Patent and Trademark Office, once the project is put into operation, operators will design the Baochun Building on modern and rational lines.
The building is expected to begin a trial operation period in the middle of 2018 and start official service at the end of 2018.
The IPR town is positioned to become an "aircraft carrier" in the intellectual property sector, Zhang said.
It will fulfill the role of integrating service institutions and standardizing service behavior, so as to become a comprehensive supplier for the interpretation and service schemes of intellectual property rights.
Xie Hong, deputy head of Guangdong Intellectual Property Rights Office, said in her speech that the establishment of the IPR town was a huge milestone for the sector in Guangdong.
As a landmark project of Shenzhen, a recognized national intellectual property demonstration city, the IPR town is expected to advance IPR development for the entire region.
The Shenzhen Zhongyi Patent and Trademark Office's Zhang said that the IPR town would also ensure that Shenzhen's capabilities in intellectual property services matched the needs of companies for innovative development.
It will accelerate the deep integration of intellectual property and industries, the sciences and technology and the economy.
It will supply intellectual property services that will support science, technology, innovation and economic growth - and promote the upgrading of Shenzhen's industries and assist with innovation and entrepreneurship.
BAIC BJEV, a subsidiary of BAIC Group, is to invest 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) in a new energy car science innovation center, according to local media.
The innovation center, wholly-invested by BAIC BJEV, will strive to be one of the leading innovation centers globally.
Founded in 2009, BAIC BJEV has long been engaged in R&D and innovation. Till date, the company has established seven electric vehicle R&D centers in five countries.
A total of 3.62 billion yuan has been spent in R&D and innovation since 2013.
The company currently boasts more than 2,000 patents.
BAIC BJEV remains one of the most influential new energy car manufacturers in China with more than 52,000 cars sold in 2016, ranking first in China.
Multi-functional robots, intelligent air conditioners, low-carbon equipment - these are just some of the many cutting-edge technology products gracing the ongoing 122nd China Import and Export Fair, or Canton Fair.
As many leading companies are exhibiting new products with their own patents, brands and technologies at the fair, the event was making a bigger effort to better protect intellectual property rights, said the organizer.
The biannual fair, widely regarded as a barometer of the country's foreign trade, kicked of on Oct 15 and will last until early November in Guangzhou, southern Guangdong province.
Chinese home appliances giant Haier Group is showcasing its "world-first" refrigerator, which can preserve wet and dry food separately and control the density of oxygen to keep them fresh.
Domestic air conditioner-maker Gree Group brought 100 products to the show with innovative technologies, including in the areas of photovoltaics and ultra-low temperatures.
Wu Bin, assistant general manager of Gree's overseas sales division, told Nanfang Daily that 80 percent of the exhibits were newly developed.
"Visitors to the fair care more about high-end products. This time we brought out our company's emerging key technologies," Wu said.
More than 160,000 products from about 25,000 companies from home and abroad are featured at the exhibition.
"Artificial intelligence, high-end and customized brands, and low-carbon products have become the new trends," said Xu Bin, a spokesperson of the fair.
A ball-like microwave oven from home appliances company Galanz Group - which can cook dumplings, chicken wings, pork ribs and rice - features a door on the top, challenging the traditional design.
Xiao You, an AI robot, stood at the gate to the fair to answer visitors' questions. These included the purchase of tickets, information about the local subway and tips on scenic spots and restaurants.
Staff said the robot was equipped with a complete map of Guangzhou, a cloud database and a capacity to recognize English and Chinese words.
The first phase of the fair, lasting from Oct 15-19, mainly displays products such as home appliances, lighting, automobile parts, machinery and building materials.
Special stands were established for watches, children's clothes and furniture.
Experts from the trademarks, copyright and patent departments were providing services at the complaints station at the fair to deal with issues concerning trade and IP disputes, according to Xu.
Companies who are charged with violations of IP rights will have to remove or hand over their products, lose stands or even be barred from participating in the fair again.
A new rule this year allows companies to withdraw their complaints.
Companies that had their rights violated in previous fairs, are now being given advice online to avoid risks in advance, he added.
Internet of things (IoT) supplier BOE Technology is to establish a smart manufacturing base in Chongqing by the end of this year, according to local media reports on Oct 17.
The factory, to be located in Lingjiang New Area's Shuitu High-tech Industrial Park, will cost around 1.53 billion yuan ($232 million) and cover some 160,000 square meters.
BOE's smart manufacturing system, which consists of both online and offline platforms, allows customers to customize their designs and orders for products such as televisions, semiconductors and other branded products. Orders can be made online using the iMaker platform, then followed through offline via a maker workshop and intelligent factory, integrating new information technologies with traditional manufacturing.
Once the factory put into operation, it will be able to produce about 100 million products such as LCD televisions, mobile displays and vehicle display terminals per year, reaching an annual production value of about 8 billion yuan ($1.21 billion).
Yao Xiangjun, vice president of BOE and CEO of the company's intelligent system business, said, "BOE Chongqing intelligent production line will devote itself to becoming an example of 'intelligent factory' and realize the integration of industrialization and informatization."
Seizing the highland in global industry revolution
Intelligent manufacturing has become a vital part of BOE's smart systems, one of the company's three major business sectors along with display devices and healthcare services.
The manufacturing business has seen an increase of 54 percent since 2014 and is expected to maintain an average increase speed of 30 percent.
BOE has stepped up its efforts developing and producing AMOLED (active matrix organic light emitting diode) displays. It is the second company to master flexible display technology and go into mass production, following Samsung Electronics.
The new factory in Chongqing is the third step of BOE's smart factories layout following those in Suzhou and Hefei to provide customized tailor-made services for consumers to tap into the intelligent manufacturing field, thus seeking to overturn the existing model. It is also developing online-to-offline medical services and cutting-edge mobile health intelligent products.
Seeking innovation development in the future
Innovation is key to a company's development and expansion. Chongqing BOE has established a semiconductor display technology R&D center costing a total of 393 million yuan.
The R&D center has employed over 1,000 technicians focusing on core technologies including copper processing, COA, oxide, and touch screen.
The Chongqing branch of BOE has developed more than 130 products and technologies last year and most of them has realized mass production.
BOE Group has applied patents for its 7,570 products last year, ranked 40 places in Top 50 USPTO Patent Assignees in 2016, according to IFI Claims.
China has been strengthening the protection and use of intellectual property rights (IPR) to develop intellectual property and encourage innovation since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Special IPR courts established in 2014 in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai have brought about significant improvements. China has also begun a campaign to protect the IPR of foreign companies, focusing on malicious trademark registration and imitation of foreign brands.
Ask Chinese netizens about the greatest change to have taken place in the Internet's development in recent years, and you're most likely to get the answer "the era of free content is over."
Analysts said piracy has tainted the burgeoning Internet economy, an increasingly vital component of the Chinese economy, and the country's efforts in killing this pest will eventually help bring a virtuous cycle into the market.
Years ago, along with the boom in the Internet industry, Chinese netizens could freely and conveniently download resources, such as music, news, movies and books.
However, the era of free content seems to have come to an end, accompanied by the closure of free e-books websites, the cancellation of free music downloads, and the removal of free audio and visual resources.
"This National Day holiday, I had planned to download some music for my travels; however, most of my favorite songs were banned from being downloaded through music software … the era of free content is over!" a resident surnamed Li from Shanxi Province told the Global Times.
All the changes were attributed to the country's greater efforts in protecting intellectual property rights (IPR) since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, as behind the "free lunch" was rampant online piracy, which had dealt a blow to content providers and operators.
China has been strengthening the protection and use of intellectual property rights in a bid to develop intellectual property and encourage innovation. According to the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), China will improve rules and regulations related to intellectual property rights in newly-emerged fields including Internet Plus, e-commerce and big data.
Recently, two of China's most popular video platforms and leading animation, comic and game websites, Bilibili and AcFun, temporarily removed most of the overseas TV shows and films uploaded by users as part of an inspection of online video content. Despite the unclear explanation given for the removal, some industry experts said the content may have been culled due to copyright protection issues.
Moreover, as problems such as the unreasonable vying for exclusive copyrights, bidding up of licensing prices and use of music without permission have emerged, with the support of music companies, China's National Copyright Administration launched a campaign in 2015 to regulate online music copyright, requiring online streaming services to stop providing unlicensed music to users.
The same campaign was also applied to online literature after a 2015 White Paper on China Internet Literature Copyright Protection produced by consulting company iResearch showed that piracy of Internet literature had led to 7.7 billion yuan ($1.18 billion) in lost subscriptions in 2014. In May 2016, Chinese tech giant Baidu closed a number of its forums related to online novels to "better protect authorized copies and safeguard authors' rights."
More and more netizens who had become used to downloading free e-books also found that websites providing free services were shut down in quick succession.
"I never expected the IPR protection campaign to be so serious. Recently, the Beijing Founder Electronic Co Ltd, which invented FounderType, requested that I pay several thousand yuan for using its font without authorization. To avoid paying the compensation, I had to take down all the goods at my store and re-decorated the pictures with authorized fonts," a Taobao store owner surnamed Yao told the Global Times.
Yao said she and other Taobao store owners had used FounderType's fonts for over 10 years and had never had any complaints.
"It shows that China is fighting against copyright infringement seriously. In terms of legislation, China has been completing its copyright law, trademark law and even included commercial secrets as part of intellectually property rights, making IPR a priority in the legislation field," Xu Xinming, a Beijing-based lawyer who specializes in IPR, told the Global Times.
In the past five years, China passed 14 laws and regulations on IPR and signed 171 cooperation agreements with 63 countries, regions and international organizations, reported Xinhua.
Moreover, constant updates of judicial interpretation of IPR and stricter enforcement also guarantee the implementation of the laws, said Xu.
According to a report of china.com.cn in April, China's courts heard more than 130,000 IPR cases in 2016. IPR courts were also established in 2014 in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai and have brought about significant improvements.
The Xinhua report said that from January 2014 to November 2016, more than 13,400 people were arrested for IPR crimes, citing the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Over 24,000 people were prosecuted for violating IPR during the same period.
Xu added that the effects of better law enforcement and a tougher stance on IPR in China have been obvious to people at home and overseas.
Recently, a U.S.-headquartered chipmaker set up a joint venture with an investment of 1.85 billion yuan together with the provincial government of Guizhou in Southwest China for the design, development and sale of advanced server chipset technology.
The US tech giant and local government also agreed to set up a holding company in the province to manage its investment in Chinese market, the People's Daily reported.
"We have seen China's determination to protect intellectual property after its implementation of national intellectual property strategy," Mark Snyder, Senior Vice President of Qualcomm Incorporated, told the daily.
In September, 12 government departments launched a joint action plan focusing on malicious trademark registration and imitation of foreign brands.
From September to December, the campaign will also target infringement of online IPRs, patent rights and plant variety rights, as well as industrial espionage, according to the plan, said Xinhua.
Qualcomm Inc's decision to file a patent lawsuit against Apple Inc in China is putting pressure on the U.S. smartphone maker as it faces mounting competition from local rivals, analysts said on Monday.
The move came at a critical point when Apple's 10th anniversary iPhone is set to compete head-to-head with Mate 10, the artificial-intelligence-enabled handset unveiled by Huawei Technologies Co Ltd on Monday in Germany.
Jia Mo, an analyst at global consultancy Canalys, said: "Qualcomm taking the initiative to challenge Apple in the world's largest smartphone market shows that the chip giant is no longer willing to compromise its intellectual property income."
Qualcomm said on Friday that it has filed a lawsuit in a Beijing intellectual property court, seeking to halt the manufacturing and sale of Apple's iPhones in China, where most iPhones are produced.
"It will take a very, very long time for the Chinese court to reach a ruling. But given Qualcomm's aggressive stance, it seems to have very solid evidence to safeguard its interest," Jia said.
The latest move is part of a broad and prolonged legal dispute that centers on Qualcomm's technology licensing business. Qualcomm generates most of its profits from charging fees for patents that cover the fundamentals of all modern phone systems. But Apple accused it of overcharging unnecessary fees.
The lawsuit also came as Apple is to start selling its most advanced handset iPhone X on Nov 3. Customs officials in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, where major iPhone plants are located, said over 46,500 iPhone X had been shipped out of local factories on Saturday, heading to the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates.
On Monday, its arch rival Huawei unveiled the Mate 10, which boasts a slate of upgraded AI features such as faster image recognition capabilities.
Xiang Ligang, a smartphone expert and CEO of telecom industry website Cctime, said: "Though it is unlikely for iPhones to be banned in China, the lawsuit distracts Apple's attention when it is working hard to revive local consumers' appetite for iPhones."
Apple's iPhone 8 has so far been greeted with less enthusiasm in China, as most fans are waiting for a better-equipped iPhone X, analysts said.
The global artificial intelligence market has experienced explosive growth in recent years, and this game-changing technology is now considered the "next big thing" after the mobile internet.
AI has a long development history but recent breakthroughs have led to a new inflection point. Advances in deep learning neural network algorithms, alongside improved computer processing power, and the abundance of big data that serves as valuable training data are all contributing to the rise of the AI industry.
China's AI industry has been growing in an exponential manner. According to Tencent Research Institute, the number of AI companies has increased more than tenfold over the past 10 years, from 57 AI companies in 2007 to 592 by June 2017. Remarkably, the number of newly established AI startups in 2015 was equivalent to the total number of AI start-ups from 1999 to 2012. In terms of fundraising, according to The Economist, Chinese AI companies received $2.6 billion investment from 2012 to 2016 while US peers received $17.9 billion over the same period. However, China has been catching up quickly in recent years.
The Chinese government has positioned AI as a national strategic priority. China, earlier seen as a technology development laggard, aims to become a world leader in AI to drive its economic transformations with it. In the most recent government policy document outlining the New Generation AI Development Plan, the State Council, the country's Cabinet, has declared an ambitious goal of becoming a world leader in AI innovation with a market size of over 1 trillion yuan ($151.86 billion) by 2030. Policies such as Made in China 2025, the Three-year Guidance for Internet Plus AI plan, and the New Generation AI Development Plan are all top-down initiatives aiming to take the nation's AI technology forward. Furthermore, local provincial and city governments are also offering preferential policies and generous financial incentives to AI start-ups. For example, the city of Tianjin recently set up a 30 billion yuan fund to support the local AI industry.
Data is the key to unlocking the potential of AI development. With 751 million internet users and 724 million smartphone users, Chinese are embracing a 24/7 connected lifestyle and adopting all kinds of new digital products and services. Their ubiquitous connectivity has led to tremendous amount of data that can be further monetized. And with the massive amount of training data sets as input, the AI algorithms are continuously self-tuning and improving. Companies are now able to leverage AI-enabled tools to develop a more comprehensive and dynamic understanding of their customers and competitors.
This vibrant innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem has also fueled China's AI development. Chinese AI-based patent applications grew 186 percent between 2010 and 2014, a huge increase from the previous five-year period. Also, in the past two years, all the top-performing teams in the ImageNet Large Scale Visual Recognition Challenge, an influential AI computer vision contest, were Chinese, while half the teams were Chinese-based. Meanwhile, Internet giants such as Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, along with rising startups like Mobvoi, iCarbonX, Megvii and SenseTime, and unicorns like Didi Chuxing and Xiaomi are all investing in or experimenting with AI technology.
Baidu is one of the major leaders in AI development in China. It established the Institute of Deep Learning in 2013 and the Silicon Valley AI Lab in 2014. In 2017, Baidu announced a shift in its strategy from mobile-first to AI-first, and recruited Qi Lu, a former executive vice president at Microsoft, as its new COO. In particular, it has launched an open-source platform for autonomous driving solutions, namely Project Apollo, to transform the global research and development landscape of self-driving vehicles.
Yet, China's AI industry still faces major challenges. First, China's academia is not doing much in fundamental scientific research, especially in the areas of advanced computer algorithms and computing infrastructure. So far, the majority of groundbreaking research is still being done in the West. Second, AI startups are good at launching new products and features to satisfy unmet market demand. However they primarily rely on business model innovation rather than technology innovation. Third, governments and venture capitalists tend to provide more incentives to commercial applications of technology over fundamental technology research, which takes more time and involves more risks.
The success of China's ambitious goal to become a world leader in AI by 2030 will hinge on the nation's innovation capabilities and long-term strategic vision. Could China eventually achieve global leadership in AI? Like everything that is related to business and technology innovations these days, it would be imprudent to count China out.
Shanghai Jiao Tong University is boosting entrepreneurship in its MBA education program by hosting the annual China MBA Entrepreneurship Competition.
This year, a team from the university won the national final in late July with its Broad Life Medical Supply Chain Management project.
The project was tailor-made for the cold-chain distribution of biological reagents and samples. It covered customized packaging, one-stop temperature-controlled logistics services and whole-process monitoring.
Similar to Shanghai Jiao Tong University's project, three other projects of the 17 finalists were also related to the healthcare industry.
Tsinghua University set up an online psychological hospital in Guizhou province, Tianjin University used gene sequencing and artificial intelligence to detect cancer, and National Chiao Tung University, from Taiwan, presented a wrist device used to test blood glucose levels.
New energy projects were also popular.
The Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences developed a hydrogen fuel cell drone with a flight endurance of three hours.
Sichuan University's project was solid-state lithium-ion batteries, Xi'an Jiaotong University's project was an electronic control system used in new energy vehicles, while Sun Yatsen University presented an energy-saving electro-heating system for industrial use.
Nearly 65 percent of all the projects in the final were high-tech projects, seven of them were granted patents.
Kicking off in January, this year's competition received more than 200 applications nationwide. After multiple rounds of selection procedures, 17 made it to the final.
Most of the finalists focused on new energy, healthcare, information technology and the sharing economy.
By capturing the latest industrial trends while delving into market segments, the projects showcased great quality and high maturity, the judges said.
Launched by Antai College of Economics and Management at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2002, the China MBA Entrepreneurship Competition has established a reputation for being a pioneering program that encourages and supports business students throughout China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, pursuing their innovative business ideas.
Zhou Lin, dean of Antai College of Economics and Management, said that "Antai will further boost the entrepreneurial spirit by creating the 3+X Entrepreneurial Model", which combines education, funds and other startup activities, and more diversified entrepreneurship programs are expected to be launched.
Centering on its multifaceted, interdisciplinary MBA educational system, the college has fostered a batch of startup projects by offering related courses, and training and holding startup competitions.
2018 Antai MBA program intake
Deadline for applications:
Nov 24, 2017
Date of interviews:
Dec 2, 2017
Deadline for applications:
March 2, 2018
Date of interviews:
March 10, 2018
Deadline for applications:
April 27, 2018
Date of interviews:
May 5, 2018
Deadline for applications:
June 15, 2018
Date of interviews:
June 23, 2018
Asian giant improves competitiveness ranking and its investment is boosting continent's standing
Latest data from the World Economic Forum's global competitive report 2017-18 indicates that the Chinese mainland is steadily pushing forward its global economic competitiveness, while Hong Kong and Taiwan are making huge gains in a difficult global market.
Although the mainland maintained its place as the largest market in size for the past three years and continues enjoying robust economic growth, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region made a significant leap up the ranks from ninth last year to sixth. It is now ahead of Sweden (seventh), the United Kingdom (eighth) and Japan (ninth).
"It has made the largest leap among the top 10 economies, which in turn are supported by strong and stable financial markets," says the report. It attributes the large leap to the mainland's physical infrastructure and healthy level of competition and openness, which it says ensure efficient markets.
The report also praises Hong Kong's labor market, which is highly flexible and efficient, and an advanced macroeconomic environment that slightly lowered its inflation rate last year.
The Geneva-based WEF's report attributes the Chinese mainland's overall competitive score to gains made in technological readiness, occasioned by higher information and communication technology penetration and the extent to which foreign direct investment has been bringing new technology to the country.
However, greater investment in the sector is encouraged to push forward productivity that has been slowing down in the Asian region, it says. China presented the best case study, it adds.
"For instance, greater access to mobile technology in China has fostered the expansion of the 'sharing economy', which is expected to reach 10 percent of GDP by 2020," the report says.
The Chinese mainland is ahead of India and Indonesia in technology and innovation. However, Brazil and Turkey, which according to the report showed great potential in the early 2000s, have lost ground.
"Other sources confirm the growing importance of China and India as centers of innovation. In a recent study on which geographical clusters are generating the most patents, Shenzhen-Hong Kong comes in second place - between Tokyo-Yokohama and San Jose-San Francisco - while Beijing comes in seventh. In both cases, activity is concentrated in the field of digital communications.
Three Indian locations appear in the top 100 of the cluster study: Bengaluru at 43rd (with patent activity focused on computer technology), Mumbai at 95th and Pune at 96th (both registering among the most patents in organic fine chemistry), the report says.
Taiwan was ranked 15th overall, ranking high on innovation.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2016-17 assesses the competitiveness landscape of 137 economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity.
Meanwhile, despite subdued economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa, its countries recorded slight improvements in their overall competitiveness.
Experts attribute this to recent infrastructure expansion, especially in countries that have strong Chinese presence - Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda. The report also notes improvement in health, technological readiness and business sophistication.
Including Senegal, the report praises the four countries for improving their performance for five consecutive years since 2010.
"The most improved African countries year-on-year are Madagascar (121st, up seven places), Gambia (117th, up six), Kenya (91st, up five), and Senegal (106th, up six), thanks either to an improved macroeconomic environment (Madagascar and Senegal) or to the efficiency of goods, labor, and financial markets (Gambia and, to a lesser extent, Kenya), the report says.
Tanzania moved up three places, from 116th last year to 113th, while Uganda retained its position at 113th.
"These are countries we have seen strengthen their trade and investment relations with China over the recent past, particularly in the infrastructure sector. I am sure that the expansion and modernization projects that have recently been completed have ultimately improved the region's attractiveness to foreign direct investment," says Robert Kagiri, director for the Centre for Strategy and Policy Management at the Africa Policy Institute, an economic policy think-tank based in Kenya.
In October last year, Ethiopia launched an electric train service that links its capital, Addis Ababa, with the Red Sea port of Djibouti. Kenya inaugurated its diesel-powered standard gauge railway from the port city of Mombasa to the capital, Nairobi. It is expected to extend to Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kagiri says that China's policy in areas such as trade, climate change, politics and security has seen countries in Africa, which agree with President Xi Jinping's vision, align themselves closely with China.
"The East African countries that have seen remarkable improvements, such as Kenya and Ethiopia, host mega infrastructures partly funded and wholly developed by the Chinese. This has not only significantly bridged Africa's infrastructure deficit, but has strategically positioned these countries' economies to benefit from China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative," says Kagiri.
The Global Competitiveness Report ranking is based on the Global Competitiveness Index, which was introduced by the WEF in 2005. Defining competitiveness as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country, GCI scores are calculated by drawing together country-level data covering 12 categories - the pillars of competitiveness - that collectively make up a comprehensive picture of a country's competitiveness. The 12 pillars are: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.
Qatari Internal Security Force (Lekhwiya) and Chinese company Nuctech have signed an agreement to manufacture smart jackets for workers in Qatar, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported Thursday.
The smart jacket will feature a helmet cooling system and a chip that gives signals indicating the condition of workers. The solar-powered jacket also includes the voice dialing function and a tracker.
Under the deal, Nuctech will take patent for a number of devices innovated by Lekhwiya, including safety devices for construction workers in Qatar.
Apart from smart jackets, safety devices to be developed under the deal also include intelligent eye sensor, automatic explosive and drug detection device, Nuctech cross-sectional scanning device and intelligent security fence.
The agreement was signed by Lekhwiya's commander of the security technologies Ali Hassan al-Rashed and Nuctech Vice-President Wang Weidong, in the presence of Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs Issa al Nuaimi.
The Beijing-based Nuctech has been a provider of security equipment in China since 2006 when it was awarded a contract by the Chinese government for producing scanners to detect liquid explosives at all of China's airports.
The company is one of the world's top providers of security scanning equipment, which has clients in about 50 countries.
China is becoming an innovation-driven developing economy, and innovation, if continued, will help the country ward off the "middle-income trap", according to a recent HSBC report.
While some foreign observers hold pessimistic views on the slowdown of China's economic growth, new growth drivers are rapidly evolving, the report said.
China is the only developing economy in the top 25 most innovative countries, according to the report, which cites the Global Innovation Index compiled by the World intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
China is also the world's third largest patent originator, and Chinese patents rose to 43,168 in 2016, up 44.7 percent from the previous year, WIPO data showed.
The innovation boom is being driven by economies of scale, financial and manufacturing eco-systems, good infrastructure and supportive policies.
Dynamic financing in different sectors that feature venture capital investment, and a strong network of suppliers also provide an eco-system for China's success in innovation, the report said.
Across China, urbanization is gathering large clusters of consumers, who are connected with the internet. Over 750 million Chinese, more than half the population, are now online, 96 percent of them via smartphones, according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).
Rapid urbanization allows China's internet companies to quickly gain high numbers of users, the report said, referring to the cases of Chinese internet giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.
Over the past decade, the central government has put in place measures to support innovation by investing in education and improving human capital and physical infrastructure, which "enabled productivity to rise", noted the report.
In the report HSBC acknowledged Chinese innovation as a sign of the "dynamism of the Chinese economy" and a "vital ingredient" for the country to change its future economic growth model.
China's current innovation is mostly driven by consumer-facing companies, and more efforts are needed to achieve progress in knowledge-based areas of science and technology.
The Alibaba Group announced Wednesday it will set up a research institute, the DAMO Academy, and invest over 100 billion yuan (about 15 billion U.S. dollars) over the next three years in the development of advanced technology.
The academy aims to attract world-class talent in such areas as quantum computing, machine learning, basic algorithms and network security. DAMO stands for discovery, adventure, momentum and outlook.
China places a high value on protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), and hopes that the U.S. will seek cautious action to avoid hindering the sound growth of bilateral economic and trade relations between the two countries, a trade official said Thursday.
The comment came after U.S. representatives gave testimonies on Tuesday, alleging that China has committed "intellectual property theft."
At an International Trade Commission hearing on Tuesday, some groups alleged that Chinese firms stole ideas and software or forced firms to turn over intellectual property as part of the price of doing business with them, Reuters reported.
The report said that the IPR theft committed by China has allegedly cost the U.S. technologies and jobs.
"We have noticed media reports about the hearing. The China Chamber of International Commerce represented China's industrial and commercial industries by providing more than 700 pages of comments and relevant evidence to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative before the hearing," Gao Feng, spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), told the Global Times at a regular press conference Thursday.
In fact, there was only a small number of enterprises that questioned China's IPR protection at the hearing, while some companies and industrial associations have appealed to the U.S. government for cautious action in order to avoid harming the sound and stable growth of Sino-U.S. economic and trade ties, noted Gao.
China has been attaching great importance to IPR protection, and opposes any forms of unilateralism and protectionism, Gao said.
The U.S. is expected to take the whole picture of Sino-U.S. economic and trade relations as a starting point and comprehensively consider suggestions from all parties whose interests are involved, he said, noting that China hopes that the U.S. will act cautiously and respect the facts as well as multilateral trade rules.
"The Chinese government will closely watch the development of the investigation and will adopt corresponding measures at a proper time to safeguard the legal rights and interests of the country," said Gao.
China will promote the production of generic drugs - while encouraging the development of new medicines - according to remarks made at a China Food and Drug Administration news conference.
The State Council released guidelines on reforming new drug approval procedures on Sunday, addressing ways to boost innovation of drugs and medical equipment.
The government will periodically release a list of drug patents that are no longer valid, to guide drug companies in the production of generics.
New technological regulations will be also released to promote research and evaluation of generics, to speed up evaluation of the quality and efficacy of the drugs.
The protection of drug patents is in line with China's push to build itself up as an innovative country, while upgrading its pharmaceutical industry, said CFDA Vice-Minister Wu Zhen.
"We encourage innovation and we encourage generic drugs too," Wu said.
"When original patent terms lapse, sales of generics will cut down the price of those drugs, and lead to easier access for their clinical usage."
Currently, there are more than 4,000 pharmaceutical companies in China producing generic drugs.
Competition between them used to be unregulated and the quality of their products were sometimes uneven and unsatisfactory.
Analysts of the sector said that as a result China needed to put more effort into promoting innovation in the industry.
The guidelines propose the concept of a pharmaceutical patent linkage system, involving a combination of drug registrations and patents.
The CFDA is responsible for registration of medicines, while the State Intellectual Property Office handles patent applications.
The combination of the two sectors will enable the resolution of patent infringement cases before the drugs are put onto the market and reduce the cases of patent infringement caused by generic drugs, Wu added.
The guidelines suggest pilot programs for compensation for patented drug developers during the administrative approval procedure for new drugs.
The longer the approval process takes, the longer the delay will be for the launch of new drugs onto the market, and the closer to the expiry of the patent - reducing the revenues due to the drug companies and patent owners.
Wu said the government should therefore consider reasonable compensation.
The guidelines also call for a certain period of protection from wider commercial use for the drug developers' experimental data and research.
Those new measures were first defined in developed markets - including the US, Japan and Europe, in the 1980s and 1990s - to facilitate innovation in drug management.
Implementation of them in those markets were successful and stimulated the production of generic drugs, Wu said.
The guidelines will construct a scientific and systematic mechanism to protect the ownership of intellectual patents, he said.
It will also pave the way for more innovation in the booming pharmaceutical industry, especially in Chinese medicine, boosting development in all aspects of the sector, Wu added.
China's flair for innovation has led it to the forefront of exciting sphere of development
China is now the world's biggest patent owner and patent application filer in the business of intelligent connected vehicles, or ICVs - underscoring its rapidly accelerating technological capabilities in the cutting-edge field - a key report has found.
The Global Patent Watch on Intelligent Connected Vehicle Technologies, released by the Institute for Global Industry at Tsinghua University, surveyed patent numbers, applicants and characteristics related to the vehicle technologies.
The development of ICVs will be one of the critical paths for the automobile industry, and China has made an excellent start in the race, a Chinese media report cited Li Donghong, deputy director of the Institute for Global Industry at Tsinghua University, as saying.
The report said there have been more than 45,000 ICV technology patent applications around the world to date, including about 32,000 of them filed over the past 10 years.
The number of annual applications has been surging since 2009, with an average growth rate of nearly 20 percent.
Five countries have had their hands in about 92 percent of the world's ICV-related patents over the past decade, and China is taking the lead with its 37 percent share, the institute said.
Japan ranked No 2 with a share of 20 percent, the United States in the third place with 16 percent, and Germany's 12 percent and South Korea's 7 percent followed closely.
In 2015 alone, China's State Intellectual Property Office received 3,166 ICV patent applications, the most among peer countries including the US, Japan and Germany. The lead position was held by Japan before 2012.
However, Li said China still trails developed countries in the hot areas of ICV, especially in research and development of the technologies for driver assistance systems and onboard communications.
China's patent applicants on driver assistant and onboard communications were below the average, while the accumulated 8,764 applicants for autonomous driving contributed 61.8 percent to the world's total patents.
Over the past decade, the report said the country's patent applications were mainly in the fields of driver alert systems and advanced collision avoidance systems.
The two systems are among the hot areas also covering optical observation equipment, unclassified collision avoidance systems, driver assistant collision avoidance systems, navigation, lane-control and remote communications.
Yang Diange, dean of automobile engineering at Tsinghua University, said ICVs will be the way of the future for mobility development.
ICVs will be smart enough to be able to react in time to dynamically changing situations - involving a vehicle autonomously collecting information via its sensors, rapidly processing it and then issuing action instructions.
Furthermore, the vehicles will also connect with each other and with transportation infrastructure to help the car understand traffic conditions and help traffic control.
With the goal of helping the country's industry to get well prepared for the future development, Li suggested that Chinese auto makers "strengthen partnerships with up-stream and downstream companies in the value chain, and work closely with research institutes and universities".
He also believed that international cooperation with global peers and startups will help Chinese carmakers to make progress in innovation and result in improvements in core competences.
Beijing Electric Vehicle Co says that it expects to see a fourfold rise in new energy vehicle sales in the next three years, thanks to government support for the sector.
Zheng Gang, general manager of the company－the new-energy vehicle arm of State-owned automaker Beijing Automotive Industry Corp (BAIC), said its sales of NEVs would reach 500,000 by 2020.
"We have topped the domestic NEV market in terms of sales volume for four consecutive years," Zheng said at a Monday news conference in Beijing.
"Since 2014, our company has sold 124,000 NEVs, with the total mileage reaching 1.21 billion kilometers, roughly 3,000 times the circumference of the Earth, thus cutting carbon emission by 190,000 metric tons, equivalent to planting 740,000 trees," Zheng said.
"The number of NEVs sold in 2016 amounted to 52,000, an almost 74-fold increase compared to 678 in 2012, taking up 21 percent of domestic market share and snatching the fourth place globally," he added.
The company owes the significant jump in sales to its heavy investment in research and development.
It has invested a total of 3.62 billion yuan ($550 million) in R&D from 2013 to 2017, accounting for 20.35 percent of its total business revenue.
Currently, 45.1 percent of its employees are engaged in R&D, and those employees now own 2,219 patents and 1,053 patents for invention.
BJEV now has 10 different types of NEVs which can run between 200 and 400 kilometers per charge.
Its flagship NEV EU400 runs 460 kilometers per charge. The electricity cost for 100 kilometers is only eight yuan, one-sixth of that needed for fossil-fuel powered vehicles. Owners of the EU400 can save as much as 6,000 yuan each year if their mileage reaches 20,000 kilometers.
According to Xin Guobin, vice-minister of industry and information technology, the government is reviewing the timetable for phasing out the production and sale of fossil-fueled cars.
On Aug 28, MIIT unveiled a new regulation requiring most automakers to sell a minimum percentage of NEVs each year from 2019.
The new policy requires car makers that produce or import more than 30,000 conventional vehicles annually to sell 10 percent of NEVs in 2019 and 12 percent in 2020. Companies failing to achieve such a quota will either have to buy credits from other automakers or face a fine.
"This regulation is great news to us. It means the government has shifted its support to NEV enterprises from offering subsidies to market regulation", said Zhang Yong, deputy general manager of BJEV.
"China is the one of the biggest markets of NEVs in the world. What we do sets an example in the world (and) will have a significant impact for automakers in other countries," Zhang said.
Han Xiaoping, chief information officer of China Energy Net Consulting, said that BJEV started early in NEV research and has accumulated sufficient experience.
"Although China lags behind Western countries in the fossil (fuel) car era, with more policy support and technological breakthrough, we can prevail in the electric car era", Han said.
China rolled out a total of 350,000 NEVs in 2016. The country has manufactured and sold 346,000 and 320,000 NEVs, respectively, in the first eight months of 2017, a year-on-year rise of 33.5 percent and 30.2 percent, according to data from China Association of Automotive Manufacturers.
The same data predict that the total number of NEVs sold this year will reach more than 700,000 by the year end.
Huawei Technologies Co Ltd has scored a point in its patent dispute in China with its rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, which may weigh down on the South Korean company's business in the world's largest smartphone market, experts said.
The Patent Reexamination Board of the State Intellectual Property Office said on its official website that some of the patents involved in Samsung's lawsuit against Huawei are invalid.
Among the eight patents, five are not valid, one is partially valid and only two are valid, the office said on Sept 30.
The decision came amid mounting competition between two of the world's largest smartphone vendors. Huawei and Samsung are involved in a slate of patent disputes in China, accusing each other of violating patents related to mobile technology and design.
Of the 16 patents Samsung accused Huawei of infringing in 2016, 10 were announced to be invalid, accounting for 62.5 percent. There is still one patent awaiting a review decision from the authority, according to data compiled by Securities Daily.
Huawei and Samsung declined to comment on the story.
Li Junhui, an intellectual property expert at China University of Political Science and Law, said Samsung cannot sue Huawei with invalid patents. Part of its lawsuits will likely be revoked.
"This is a blow for Samsung's plan to defend itself in the intellectual property battlefield," Li said.
According to Li, the five invalid patents involve technology related to smartphone cameras, screens and basic telecommunication services.
The review decision also came after a Chinese court ruled in April that Samsung's Chinese subsidiaries must pay 80 million yuan ($11.6 million) to Huawei for patent infringement.
In June 2016, Huawei filed a lawsuit against Samsung's units in China, claiming that more than 20 models of the latter's smartphones and tablet products, including the flagship Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge, had infringed its patents.
One month later, Samsung sued Huawei and other companies in Beijing on accusations of patent violation, demanding 161 million yuan in compensation.
Xiang Ligang, a smartphone expert and CEO of telecom industry website Cctime, said the chances are low for Samsung to win a legal battle in China.
"Samsung is losing ground in the local smartphone market. Patent defeats will have a further negative impact on its brand image," Xiang said.
China will ease and speed up approval of drugs and medical devices as part of efforts to deepen healthcare reform, according to a new guideline released by the central authorities.
China will accept clinical trial data gathered overseas for applications to register drugs and medical devices, on condition that they are collected in multiple centers and meet Chinese requirements.
The guideline, jointly released by the general offices of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, also calls for accelerating the review and approval process for urgently needed drugs and medical equipment.
Those items in early- or middle-stage clinical trials are permitted to enter the market with conditions attached, so as to provide treatment for severe life-threatening diseases that lack effective medication.
In the meantime, the guideline encourages innovation in the medical sector.
"Lack of intellectual property rights protection impedes the drug innovation process," said Wu Zhen, deputy director of China Food and Drug Administration. "The guideline offers measures to stimulate innovation."
The drug review and approval process will be linked with the patent process, so that infringement disputes can be addressed before the drugs hit the market.
Pilot compensation projects will be carried out, and patent holders will receive compensation if their drugs are delayed in going public because of clinical trials and the review and approval process.
Measures including setting up a catalog of marketed drugs and improving the protection of drug trial data will also be introduced, said the guideline.
From 2011 to 2015, 323 "innovative" drugs in China were approved for clinical research, and 139 new chemical generic drugs entered the market.
The guideline also bans medical representatives from selling drugs, and clarifies their responsibilities as promoting drugs in academic settings, introducing pharmaceutical knowledge to medical personnel and collecting suggestions during clinical use.
China started its latest round of healthcare reform in 2009, aiming to provide patient-oriented healthcare services.
As of September, all public hospitals in China had joined the comprehensive reform program to end the 60-year-old practice of drug price markups, helping to rationalize medical care costs.
As the reform proceeds, the share of drug sales in total revenues for hospitals dropped from 46.3 percent in 2010 to 38.1 percent in 2016.
In addition, China aims to build a basic medical services network covering both urban and rural areas, and completed a national reimbursement network for inpatient services in September.
The network allows any patient who is enrolled in China's public medical insurance systems to be reimbursed for inpatient expenses, no matter where they are treated.
Before these efforts, inpatients had to return to the locality where they were enrolled in public medical insurance in order to receive the reimbursement if they were treated at hospitals elsewhere.
Currently, 1.34 billion Chinese people are enrolled in various public medical insurance systems, accounting for up to 98.8 percent of the population.
South Korea-based electronics manufacturer Samsung has lost 10 of the 15 patent infringement cases it filed in China against Huawei out of the court rulings announced since 2016, media reports said on Wednesday.
Analysts said that this outcome won't have a major impact on Samsung's business in China, but it also reflects domestic handset producers' improving research and innovation ability, which may further put pressure on traditional technology giants.
On September 30, China's State Intellectual Property Office announced the invalidation of Samsung's five patents among the eight cases that Samsung launched against Huawei for alleged intellectual property violations since September 2016, according to a statement on the office's website.
Only two of the eight patents involved in the filings were effective, with the one remaining patent also partly invalidated, according to the statement.
Huawei and Samsung have been embroiled in an intensifying patent battle in recent years.
Since 2016, Samsung has 16 similar lawsuits against Huawei for intellectual property infringement. The South Korean electronics giant has lost 10 cases so far, with one patent still waiting for court judgment, news website ifeng.com reported on Wednesday. That translates to a patent invalidation rate of 62.5 percent, the report noted.
The disputed technology patents involve graphic displays, mobile phone cameras, screen controls and some basic communication infrastructure technologies, said the report.
Huawei declined to comment when contacted by the Global Times on Wednesday.
Wang Yanhui, head of the Shanghai-based Mobile China Alliance, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the patent ruling is not likely to have any impact on Samsung's sales in the Chinese market, as the 10 invalidated patents are just "a drop in the bucket" of Samsung's patents pool.
Also, "the electronic equipment maker can either seek to overturn the result through an administrative lawsuit, or pay royalties to use the patents," Wang said, noting that patent lawsuits have been utilized by electronics manufacturers as a weapon against competitors in recent years.
But for domestic electronic equipment suppliers like Huawei, the win is "symbolic," shedding light on the increasing competiveness of domestic technologies, Wang said.
In 2016, telecom equipment supplier ZTE Corp filed 4,123 applications for patents under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, ranking first in patent applications, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization. That was followed by Huawei with 3,692 patent applications.
The rise of domestic smartphone makers may pressure traditional technology giants such as Samsung and Apple, which have already experienced slumping sales in China, Wang added.
Liu Yongdong, a holder of 46 different patents, is a genius at invention in his company in Hunan province, always solving technical problems with his new inventions.
Liu, a delegate to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China who joined the Party in 2010, was awarded the Chinese patent gold medal, the second prize for national technological innovation and many other accolades.
Liu, born in 1976, joined Sanyi Heavy Industry Co. when he graduated from university in 1998. He is now the general manager of Zhongxin Hydraulic Component Co, a subsidiary of Sanyi.
In 2009, Liu, leading a team, invented a new type of oil cylinder and hydraulic block, core components for a hydraulic system which used to be imported. Liu's inventions have been put into use for pump trucks made in China.
In 2010, Liu's team started to improve the hydraulic valve in order to decrease the vehicles' energy consumption.
"It was a tough task. In the first few months, we tried three models and failed. Luckily, we finally found the right direction in the fourth trial," Liu said. "I remember my team stayed up for three nights to solve the last bottleneck, and then everything went well."
The new hydraulic system has improved pumping efficiency by 15 percent, reducing energy consumption by 80 percent, Liu said.
In 2016, Liu's team invented a new hydraulic cylinder which is used in military equipment.
"Although we made a lot of progress in equipment manufacturing, the core techniques of hydraulic components still lag behind," Liu said, adding that his team will develop more hydraulic products to meet domestic needs.
A Chinese-American scientist has suggested that leading Chinese scientists get involved in investment that simultaneously supports science and innovation.
Zhang Shoucheng, a physicist at Stanford University and a foreign academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that scientists can make better investors because they can grasp cutting-edge technologies better than investors with only business training.
As China is committed to moving from a labor-intensive economy to one that is innovation-driven, it can refer to the successful experiences at Stanford and in Silicon Valley and encourage top-notch scientists to take part in investment that helps advance science and innovation, Zhang said on Sunday at a US-China Summit on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Collaboration.
The summit, hosted by the Chinese Association for Science and Technology-USA, coincided with the association's 25th annual convention in New York.
"It's a learning society, innovation society; the university should play a leading role in this," Zhang said.
In July, Zhang and his team published in Science magazine findings about their discovery of a particle (Majorana fermion) that can be both matter and antimatter. The finding can potentially lead to more advanced quantum computers.
Italian theoretical physicist Ettore Majorana first predicted the particle's existence in 1937.
Zhang shared with the audience the experience of Danhua Capital, a venture capital fund he co-founded that invests primarily in early-stage and growth-stage companies with a disruptive technology/business model. The fund focuses on areas including artificial intelligence, AR/VR and big data.
"I want this fund to become a bridge between China and the origin of innovation and entrepreneurship - Stanford and Silicon Valley," he said.
Zhang Qiyue, China's consul general in New York, said at the summit that with structural readjustment and reform in China, innovation and entrepreneurship have become the new engines for economic growth, and innovation-driven development is a national strategy.
Last year, China spent nearly $200 billion on scientific research and development, and China became the world's largest patent applicant for the first time, she said.
By encouraging mass innovation and entrepreneurship, new ideas are constantly popping up, and the potential of individuals has been brought into play. Last year, about 40,000 new market entities were registered daily, adding more than 10 million urban jobs.
"Recently, foreign students from 20 different countries in China voted on 'the Four New Great Chinese Inventions'. High-speed trains, online shopping, mobile pay and co-share bikes topped the list. Today, innovation and entrepreneurship have taken root in China and have brought about dramatic changes," she said, adding that China is committed to the strengthening of innovative cooperation with all countries.
A research report released recently by UBS recognized the innovation development of China in past five years, and predicts that China will become a global innovation powerhouse thanks to improved education quality, input in research and development and policy support to innovation, Economic Daily reported on Tuesday.
The current economic model of China is seeking a rapid transition from "Made in China" to "Created in China", and China is expected to rule the technology realm in various fields.
China has been growing fast in education, the report said. China sees 2.8 million graduates majoring in science and engineering every single year, which is five times compared to the U.S.. The proportion of science and engineering graduates per 1,000 people in 2015 is also five times compared to 2005.
According to the QS world university ranking, the average score of top three Chinese universities has exceeded that of German universities. China is narrowing down the gap of academic performance with the U.S. and increasing the advantage over European countries. China has moved up five places in the ranking list from five years ago.
The report also said that China has shown increasing investment in scientific research investment and financing.
Input in research and development in China today takes up more share of GDP than the UK. Meanwhile, the government has stipulated the goal in the 13th Five-Year Plan that the ratio of R&D input in GDP must reach 2.5 percent by 2020. Therefore, UBS predicts that China is likely to surpass the U.S. in terms of the overall scale of research and development investment by 2019.
China's CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of venture investment in innovation has been up to 41 percent since 2012. Unlike in the U.S., where financing in innovative industry mainly relies on venture capital, multiple Chinese technology enterprises make a great deal of investment in internet and AI with their own funds. This establishes a relatively loose financing environment for the development of domestic innovative industry.
With the support of developed fundamental education and optimized investment environment, the patent applications of Chinese firms and individuals at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, an agency that issues patents to inventors and handling trademark registration for products, saw a tenfold increase in the past decade, surpassing the UK.
UBS emphasizes the superiority that China has in exploring AI and fintech and in their view, Chinese enterprises have played a critical role in guiding the direction of global technology development. Its particular advantage in AI can possibly enable China to revolutionize the manufacture industry in respect of technology.
The key for innovation development is Chinese government's promoting and implementing the pro-innovation policies, the report said. Within the last five years, the government has dedicated itself to modernize the economic sectors and boost the industrial value-added and specified the ratio of innovation input in the national Five-Year Plan, which buoys UBS's confidence in China's economy.
A group of Chinese students have invented a system to increase the electricity generation of small and medium-sized hydropower stations during dry seasons.
The system is based on a variable speed, constant frequency motor for small and medium-sized hydropower plants designed by a doctoral team from Hunan University.
"Traditional hydroelectric power stations have a fixed water flow requirement, which means electricity outputs drop dramatically during the dry season," said Lyu Mingsheng, one of the students.
The invention fixes the current situation where power output is directly proportional to river flow, allowing small and medium-sized hydropower plants to maintain output throughout all seasons, according to Lyu.
Improving generating capacity is expected to reduce the number of hydropower plants needed in the future, therefore lessening their effect on the environment.
"The new technology will transform the dam construction in China, making it more environment-friendly," he said.
Lyu cited official figures published in 2013 that stated China had more than 45,000 hydropower stations in rural areas, with the total installed capacity exceeding 65 million kilowatt (kW).
If the new system was applied to all of these stations, the total installed capacity would be increased by 19.5 million kW, almost equivalent to the output of the Three Gorges Dam which is 22.4 millon kW, Lyu added.
The core technology has received 10 national patents and several companies have signed cooperation agreements with Lyu's team.
Intellectual property law in China has always complied with international standards since it began, and the progress of jurisprudence will provide a healthier environment for both domestic and foreign business, said a senior official Friday.
The Office of National Leading Group for Combating Intellectual Property Rights Infringement and Counterfeiting released a document on Sept 28, chronicling the progress made thus far, including recent negotiation on geographic indications with Europe.
"The promotion of IPR started in China later than many countries, with only 30 years' history, but it has achieved fruitful results," said Chai Haitao, deputy head of the office. "China has always valued IPR highly, and will apply the same regulations to both domestic and foreign business."
"China has been talking to member countries in BRICS as well as 20 economies from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation on IPR," said Chen Fuli, deputy director-general of the department of treaty and law at the Ministry of Commerce. "China has always been active in conversation with other countries, covering a wide range of topics."
Based on the recently released action plan on IPR for foreign investment, the Chinese government will intensify inspections of IPR violations, especially in the foreign sector, in the next four months.
Gao Feng, spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce, said such action is not only a practical measurement echoing the State Council's call for stimulating foreign investment, but also part of China's ceaseless work on IPR.
"To clean up IPR violations is following up on Chinese IPR protection in order to create a fair market environment," Gao said. "It is never a decision to deal only with certain countries responding to the investigation they filed."
China is an important innovation base for the Emerson Electric Co and Edward L. Monser, president of the Fortune 500 corporation.
Established in 1890, the US-based multinational manufactures products and provides engineering services for a wide range of markets.
Monser has served as president since 2010 and pointed out that about one-third of more than 1,800 patents awarded to Emerson employees globally last year were generated in China.
"This is clear evidence of the capabilities and quality of China's research and development community, and our commitment to developing this indigenous capability," he said during a visit to southern China's Guangdong province.
Emerson started doing business in China in the late 1970s and now boasts more than 23 manufacturing facilities and 22 engineering centers in the country.
Monser said that job training and employee development were a big focus for the company, which works with universities in China to support their engineering and technology curriculum.
"We believe that it's critical to nurture talent to support an innovation-driven economy," he said.
The group also partners with universities in China in boosting teaching capabilities through various cooperation projects, such as summer internship camps, training, lab and technology competitions.
Emerson is also working with the Guangdong's education authority to carry out a cooperation program with higher education and technical schools to train more engineering talent here.
On broader cooperation between Emerson and China, Monser highlighted the significance of collaboration through digital ecosystems and industry alliances.
"We see that digital ecosystems provide enterprises with new and better ways to pursue collaborative innovation," said the entrepreneur, who also serves as an advisor on economic development to the Guangdong provincial government.
"Besides sourcing suitable parts at the best price, enterprises can exchange ideas through digital platforms," he added. "Participants in China or overseas can contribute to the ecosystem and benefit others."
In March, Emerson launched the expanded Plantweb digital ecosystem in China.
It aims to help Chinese users and enterprises in the processing industry, address new challenges in environmental protection, safety, energy-saving and reliability.
Earlier this year, the company partnered with the China Heat Pump Industry Alliance, a subordinate of the China Energy Conservation Association.
They agreed to build the "China Air Source Heat Pump Industry Training Base" at the company's Suzhou training center in eastern China.
"Through this initiative, Emerson is collaborating with the local government to promote the development of China's heat pump industry and create a green, clean living environment," he said.
Monser stressed that the business environment in China is a positive one.
"We are pleased to see the Chinese government has made great progress in protecting IPR (intellectual property rights protection) in the country," he said.
He added that an innovation-friendly environment and a commitment to IPR were vital for companies such as Emerson in China.
Monser also voiced support for fair and open trade, calling it the foundation of international commerce and an effective tool against protectionism that can harm consumers and businesses.
"Emerson believes that governments, enterprises and organizations should promote dialogue between the US, China and other countries on trade and manufacturing policy issues," he said.
"They must address these issues in ways that allow manufacturing sectors to grow, prosper and provide good jobs for each country's citizens," Monser added.
China's latest guideline to focus on protecting property rights of entrepreneurs and create a new mechanism to facilitate interaction between the government and businesses could help build a new type of government-business relations and sustain the country's economy's development, analysts said.
The guideline, the first one that focuses on the entrepreneurial spirit, was released on Monday by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council to spur market vitality, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The guideline stressed that the government will protect entrepreneurs' property rights according to law, ensure fair competition and strengthen intellectual property rights to encourage innovation, Xinhua reported.
It will also work on rules to protect the IPR of innovative achievements, such as new business models and cultural creativity.
China faces pressure from an economic downturn, which discourages some private companies from further investing and innovating, or even turn to illegal operations, which undermines technological progress and upgrading, said Hu Xingdou, a professor at Beijing Institute of Technology and an expert on Chinese issues.
"Legally protecting the property rights of entrepreneurs is very important. Truly preserving their properties, creating a legal environment and enhancing a sense of security of their wealth could help entrepreneurs feel safe and stable," Chang Xiuze, a researcher at Tsinghua University's National Center for Economic Research, was quoted by The Beijing News as saying.
The guideline further calls for the building of a more tolerant environment for entrepreneurs and an atmosphere that encourages them to innovate.
"The guideline aims to implement the call of Chinese President Xi Jinping to establish a new type of government-business relations based on sincerity and honesty," said Liu Yuanchun, vice president of the Renmin University of China, The Beijing News reported.
The government looks to the entrepreneurial spirit, which includes hard work, excellence, craftsmanship and innovation, and service to society to stimulate mass innovation and create a positive business climate, the guideline said.
"Entrepreneurship is the spirit that gives credit to society, which is consistent with the goal of China's economic structural reform," said Zhu Lijia, a professor of public management at the Chinese Academy of Governance.
"It is the main force in a market economy that promotes technological and institutional creativity," said Hu.
Xinhua quoted Zhang Ruimin, the chairman of appliance maker Haier, as saying that "the guideline provides all-round support for entrepreneurs to focus on quality and sustain innovation-driven development."
Experts added that promoting entrepreneurship is consistent with the agenda of the 19th National Congress of the CPC, which opens on October 18.
"The 19th National Congress is a time to solve problems," Hu said.
After the 19th National Congress, China's reform will be strengthened, and Chinese companies will further go global. And entrepreneurship will play a significant role, Zhu said.
In the field of photovoltaics－the study of converting sunlight into electricity, Pierre J. Verlinden's name shines like the sun.
Born in 1957, the Belgian-Australian engineer has published about 200 scientific papers, generated more than a dozen patents and held senior R&D positions in labs and PV companies across Europe, the United States and Australia.
In 2012, to help China build a clean energy future, Verlinden brought more than 35 years of expertise to his fifth continent, becoming the chief scientist at Trina Solar－one of the world's largest solar product manufacturers, located in Changzhou, Jiangsu province.
Since his arrival, Verlinden has helped the company break 15 world records in the solar energy industry, ranging from solar cell conversion efficiency to power output for solar panels.
In his office, Verlinden has five different types of full-size solar panels leaning against the wall. Above the panels, he has hung a photo of NASA's solar airplane, which he helped design, and his William R. Cherry Award－one of the most prestigious in photovoltaics.
His most prized creations, however, are kept in his bookcase. They are an advanced type of solar cell called Interdigitated Back Contact cells, or IBCs, which set a world record in May with an energy conversion rate of 24.13 percent, the most efficient silicon solar cell ever produced in China.
Unlike conventional solar cells, which have lines of silver electrical conductors running across the panel's surface to carry electricity to the batteries.
"IBCs essentially have these conductors integrated in the back of the panel, meaning more surface area to absorb sunlight and thus higher efficiency," he said.
The lack of surface conductors also means the panels look slick and minimalistic. IBCs are still at the experimental phase, but they have already earned the moniker of the "iPhone of solar panels", for their "elegance and efficiency", he said.
The ups and downs
IBC is just one of the leading innovations coming out of China's PV industry. For decades, China has been eyeing alternative energies, like solar and wind, to meet its economic needs, as well as to cut its coal dependence and pollution.
By 2040, China's electricity production by coal-fired power plants will drop from today's 73 percent to 43 percent, while wind will rise from 3 percent to 12 percent, and solar from 1 percent to 6 percent, according to a report by the International Energy Agency.
"We hope the proportion of solar energy can be even higher," Verlinden said. "China has changed from being a follower into a PV industry leader in the past 10 years, leading the world in PV innovation, solar energy production and market size."
In July, Wang Bohua, secretary-general of China's photovoltaic industry association, told an industry gathering that the solar industry is expected to install 60 gigawatts of generating capacity this year－a 12 GW increase compared with last year.
China already had a total of 101.8 GW installed solar capacity by June, after adding 24.4 GW in the first six months of 2017, Wang said. For comparison, a typical nuclear power plant has a capacity of 1 GW, Verlinden said.
Today, the Yangtze Delta region, which consists of Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, produces about 60 percent of the world's silicon solar panels, Verlinden said.
"There is no doubt that the center of gravity for the PV industry is in China. If you were a PV scientist in the 1970s, you would go to Silicon Valley, but now, you would come to China," he said.
Starting with a few small rural projects in the 1990s, China bounded onto the global PV scene just before the 2008 global financial crisis as local manufacturers boomed and eclipsed companies from traditional PV powerhouses, like the US and Germany, according to a report by ENF Solar, a PV information company.
However, China's surge was hit by oversupply issue in 2012 after too many new manufacturers flooded the industry in 2011, leading the number of producers to soar to more than 900. This resulted in a serious price crash as companies fought a cutthroat price war to keep market share, the report said.
At the same time, the global recession chilled demand from European markets－the primary destination for Chinese PV products, resulting in even smaller profits for Chinese companies. As a result, more than 400 Chinese PV companies closed their doors within a year, leading analysts to dub 2012 as China's "Great PV Winter".
"The PV industry is a game of managing cost," Verlinden said. "Since the technology has been around for decades, the bar of entry is low and anyone with sufficient money can set up a factory line and become the number one producer in no time.
"Yet, being number one in the industry typically does not last long, sometimes only two to three years, hence sustainability is much more important."
Lead with innovation
Although China's PV manufacturing has grown at a breakneck pace since 2007, Chinese products are still uncompetitive compared with other PV powerhouses like the US, Germany and Japan, according to a report by Stanford University.
As a result, China has increased efforts to attract foreign capital and experts to help the country innovate, and allow big banks to give massive loans to support the PV industry, Dan Reicher, one of the report's co-authors said in a seminar in March.
Verlinden was one of the first foreign experts brought in under the recruitment program created by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. The recruitment program began in August 2011, and is aiming to attract about 1,000 foreign experts in the following decade.
After 2012, China's solar industry rebounded due to surging domestic demand and from Japan, increased government support and quotas for solar energy, and more nontraditional energy investors, such as real estate developers, entering the industry, the report said.
Coupled with rising innovation and the global competitiveness of Chinese PV products, Verlinden said the rebound momentum has been the biggest development in China's PV industry in the past five years.
In recent years, however, as companies flocked to install massive, utility-scale, solar farms in the Gobi Desert and barren hills of China's vast North and Northwest, this created enormous inefficiency and waste because the infrastructure could not keep up, Verlinden said.
While these solar farms can produce large amounts of energy, "it has far surpassed the consumption capacity of the surrounding villages", and might not reach the most energy-hungry areas, such as the coastal cities, he said.
This excess energy will be wasted if not stored properly in batteries or transmitted efficiently to the national grid, Verlinden said.
Hence it is essential for China to integrate solar energy transmission into the national grid, and develop new and more efficient storing methods in the following years.
At the same time, China should also advocate for more residential use of solar panels. "In the future, households might be able to reduce their energy bills to zero, and even sell their excess energy to their neighbors or the national grid and make a profit," he said.
Artificial intelligence has never been integrated so closely into robotics, as domestic competitors on the market are gearing up to be at the forefront in the race towards a smarter and more automated journey.
Wang Peng, vice-general manager at the marketing division of Shenzhen-based Qihan Technology Co, said as AI tackles learning, perception, problem-solving, logical reasoning and many other related issues, the new technology will absolutely make robots smarter.
"AI technologies can enable robots to mimic some level of human intelligence, such as the ability of perception and thinking. And the robot will be the best carrier for AI technologies."
"The AI-enabled robots are able to assist in humans' daily work, enabling people to spend their energies on more creative jobs, such as art and education."
With multiple patents in several fields, including robotics and AI, Qihan Technology focuses on the developing the commercialization of AI-enabled service robots. Founded in 2006, the company now aims to use next-generation robotics and AI technologies to improve quality of life and business productivity for consumers.
Wang said the company is working on expanding its portfolio of "robotics-as-a-service" solutions. Thanks to the open application program interface platform, the Sanbot robot, each priced around 79,800 yuan ($12,034) and powered by Qihan Technology, can be customized for different scenarios in many fields, including retail, hospitality, education and healthcare.
During the World Robot Conference held in Beijing last month, Qihan unveiled new intelligent, cloud-enabled robots called Sanbot King Kong. The 1.5-meter high robot features bionic arms, advanced navigation and is able to carry 75-kilograms. Equipped with a four-wheel drive system, the robot can move at up to five meters per second, exceeding the average human walking speed.
Since 2013, China has become the world's biggest market for robot applications. In the first half of this year, China produced 59,000 units of industrial robots, up 52 percent from last year, according to official data.
Qian Dongqi, chairman of the Suzhou-based Ecovacs Robotics Co said as a new era of AI is coming, there will be infinite possibilities to develop the robots.
"The AI technologies will enable more abilities for the robots, and the robots can provide the best application scenarios for the AI. And I believe a qualified robot must be equipped with AI."
Wang, from Qihan Technology, agreed, saying the company will work with more partners to build a better environment for developers and then enable more robot applications on the market.
Zhang Xiaolan, an 18-year-old girl from a village in Henan Province has invented a system which automatically switches a vehicle's lights between high and low beams, which she's now been able to patent, reports youth.cn.
Coming from an underdeveloped rural area of Henan, Zhang Xiaolan's family doesn't even own a car.
"My dad has poor eyesight due to an industrial accident, so it's unsafe for him to walk at night," Zhang Xiaolan explained, "He gets blurred vision when a car's lights are on high beam."
Out of her concern about her father's safety, Zhang decided to improve the way car headlights work, beginning her project during her second year in high school.
"Convex lenses, light screens and photoreceptive circuits are used to judge the brightness of a car's headlights," said Zhang Xiaolan. "Two cars equipped with this device are able to switch automatically from high beam to low beam when they meet head-on."
The automatic auto high-low beam switcher Zhang Xiaolan invented gained a patent from the State Intellectual Property Bureau in August, 2016.
A manufacturer from Guangdong Province has already requested Zhang Xiaolan allow her product to be used in their vehicles.
Zhang Xiaolan is not resting on her one invention. She has enrolled in Jilin University.
"Given there are more opportunities at university, I'd like to make more inventions in the future," said Zhang.
After taking over German robotics firm Kuka, Chinese home appliance giant Midea Group is turning the European company into a global service provider for smart manufacturing.
At the 2017 China (Guangdong)-Europe Investment and Innovation Cooperation Conference held in Foshan this month, Gu Yanmin, vice-president of Midea, said more advanced mobile robots were being developed so that Kuka's industrial robots could be applied in more complicated production scenarios.
"More Chinese technologies have been introduced to the European market. The two-way technology exchange is replacing the previous one-way technology imports from Europe to China," Gu said.
Midea has nine research and development centers in China, and the number of such centers overseas has topped 11. The latest is located in Graz, Austria, and aims to provide technology for home appliance development to the European market.
Jonathan Schoo, China director at Germany Trade and Invest and a conference attendee, said more Chinese companies have invested in the high-tech field in Germany, while German companies have reinforced their investment in China.
"Joint R&D projects in the high-tech field benefit both sides, and we welcome such cooperation," he said, citing a recent partnership between Guangdong Biolight Meditech Company with its German counterpart in establishing an R&D center in northern Germany.
"From Germany's traditional dominant fields such as automobiles, engineering, machinery and transportation, to emerging areas including environmental protection and new energy, cooperation between the two countries is increasing," he said.
Chinese companies have been pouring resources into research and innovation over the years and led the world in certain fields, which is the primary cause of the technical exchange reverse, said Mats Harborn, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.
"European companies used to invest in China for its cheap labor force, but now they come to acquire new technologies," he said.
Official data showed that in Guangdong province, China's manufacturing hub, R&D investment accounted for 2.58 percent of the total output value in 2016, which was close to the level of developed countries. The southern province has nurtured world-class factories in some emerging industries such as drones, intelligent robots and OLED.
Thomas Schmitz, president of Andritz (China) Ltd, said his company has built a close relationship with local scientific research institutions and invested 3 percent of its revenue in R&D.
Andritz has over 200 employees in China engaged in research and new product design. They completed 155 research projects and obtained 34 patents over the past three years. The company co-developed a new system for garbage disposal and recycling with a Guangdong company.
"Guangdong is no longer a place for low-end trade or a world factory for cheap digital products," he said.
Exchange of scientific research staff members has also become more frequent. China has signed many cooperative agreements with universities and research institutions in Germany, France, Britain and other European countries.
Chinese companies have the advantage of market model innovation, while their European partners lead in industrial manufacturing technologies, according to Liu Chang from the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China. "Those advantages are also the direction for cooperation by the two sides," said Liu.
China is an important innovation base for the Emerson Electric Company, according to Edward L. Monser, president of the Fortune 500 corporation.
Emerson, established in 1890, is a leading U.S. multinational that manufactures products and provides engineering services for a wide range of markets.
In an interview with Xinhua, Monser, who has served as president of the company since 2010, said about one-third of more than 1,800 patents awarded to Emerson employees globally in 2016 were generated in China.
"This is clear evidence of the capabilities and quality of China's R&D community, and our commitment to developing this indigenous capability," he told Xinhua during a visit to southern China's Guangdong Province.
Emerson, which started business operations in China as early as the late 1970s, now boasts more than 23 manufacturing facilities and 22 engineering centers in China.
Monser said job training and employee development were a big focus for the company, which works with universities in China to support their engineering and technology curriculum.
"We believe that it's critical to nurture talent in China to support an innovation-driven economy," Monser said.
The company also partners with universities in China in boosting innovative teaching capabilities through various cooperation projects, such as summer internship camps, teachers training, lab, and technology competitions, he added.
According to Monser, Emerson is also working with the Guangdong's education authority to carry out a cooperation program with higher education and technical schools to train more engineering talent in China.
On broader cooperation between Emerson and China, Monser highlighted the significance of collaboration through digital ecosystems and industry alliances.
"We see that digital ecosystems provide enterprises new and better ways to pursue collaborative innovation," said the entrepreneur, who also serves as an advisor of economic development to the Guangdong provincial government.
"Besides sourcing suitable parts at the best price, enterprises can exchange ideas through digital platforms. Participants in China or overseas can contribute to the ecosystem and benefit others," Monser said.
In March, Emerson launched the expanded Plantweb digital ecosystem in China. It aims to help Chinese users and enterprises in the processing industry address new challenges in environmental protection, safety, energy-saving and reliability.
Earlier this year, Emerson partnered with the China Heat Pump Industry Alliance, a subordinate of the China Energy Conservation Association, to build the "China Air Source Heat Pump Industry Training Base" at the company's Suzhou training center in eastern China.
"Through this initiative Emerson is collaborating with local government to promote the development of China's heat pump industry and create a green, clean living environment," he said.
OPEN AND FAIR TRADE
Monser thinks the business environment in China is a positive one.
"We are pleased to see the Chinese government has made great progress in protecting IPR in the country," he said.
He added that an innovation-friendly environment and a commitment to Intellectual Property Rights protection and enforcement were vital for companies like Emerson looking to invest in China.
Monser also voiced support for fair and open trade, calling it the foundation of international commerce and an effective tool against protectionism that can harm both consumers and businesses.
"Emerson believes that governments, enterprises and organizations should promote dialogue between the U.S., China and other countries on trade and manufacturing policy issues, and address these issues in ways that allow manufacturing sectors to grow, prosper and provide good jobs for each country's citizens," he said.
In the southwest of Liping county in Guizhou province, young women living in the Zhaoxing Dong village endeavor to inherit and promote the unique indigo dyeing skills of their forebears.
Lu Yongmei, born in the village in 1985, is just one daughter of more than 1,000 households of the Dong ethnic group. In 2015, she founded a cooperative to gather inheritors of the thousands of years old technique and attract the attention of more young people to keep indigo dyeing alive.
Indigo dye is produced by soaking locally grown leaves to extract a substance that is then fermented to become a herb dye for cloth. The dyes seep into cloth and leave different shades of indigo behind.
"I have the natural passion for indigo dyeing," Lu said. "My grandparents ran a dye house and I remember when people were busy working among the big dye vats in my childhood."
Lu used to be a kindergarten teacher until she visited a neighboring village and saw some 60 of 70 children there left behind because their parents had to work in bigger cities to earn a living.
"I thought the children would be taken good care of if their parents work near home," Lu said.
With the passion for inheriting indigo dye and the wish to lure back more villagers for their children, Lu opened her cooperative and since then has hired several local women.
Her cooperative produces hats, clothes and scarves featuring Dong elements and has received five patents on dye mixture and nine patents on designs.
Women are trained to not only make better handicrafts but also for online business and marketing.
"Young people are the main force to take over the ancient technique," Lu said. "They will be better motivated if they know more about the market supply and demand."
To expand the market, Lu has opened online shops. The turnover last year reached up to 2.9 million yuan ($440,000) and this year is expected to see doubled business volume.
Xiaomi Corp is expanding its overseas footprint to complete its transformation from a Chinese smartphone maker into a technology giant.
Sitting on a recent $1 billion loan, and armed with more international patents, Xiaomi, which was founded in 2000, is itching for global marketing scraps with Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co.
On Aug 24, the Beijing-based company announced its formal entry into Thailand in collaboration with distribution partner VST ECS (Thailand) Co. At the event, Xiaomi announced that its flagship smartphone, the Mi 6, as well as the Redmi Note 4, are now available in Thailand.
The move came shortly after Xiaomi said in July that its wholly owned subsidiary Xiaomi HK had signed a three-year $1 billion syndicated loan agreement with 18 banks.
A big part of the money will be used to accelerate global expansion. So far, Xiaomi has a presence in more than 40 countries and regions, with impressive growth in Indonesia, Russia, Ukraine, India and other markets.
Lei Jun, founder and CEO of Xiaomi, says competing for global market share represents the third wave of opportunities that will shape the Chinese smartphone industry.
The first wave of opportunities came on the back of urban Chinese smartphone adoption. The second wave came thanks to new smartphone users in China's third-and fourth-tier cities.
"Seizing this opportunity marks the beginning of Xiaomi's journey as a technology company on the global stage," Lei says.
According to the company, after three years of investments to explore overseas markets, it has racked up successive wins this year.
"Our performance in India has been especially encouraging. Revenue in the first half of this year is up 328 percent year-on-year and we are now the second-ranked brand in the overall Indian smartphone market," Lei said in a company memo in July.
The performance is in line with forecasts. Data from research consultancy Strategy Analytics showed that in the second quarter of this year, Xiaomi had acquired a 15.6 percent share of India's smartphone market. The figure in 2016 was 3.3 percent.
Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, says Xiaomi is dominating the online sales channel in India with sub-$150 (125 euros; ￡111) phones, similar to the market segment it won in China when it was at its peak.
Such performance marks a turnaround, considering the tough time Xiaomi had a year ago. Back then, its shipments plummeted over successive quarters amid mounting competition in China from fellow Chinese players such as Huawei Technologies Co and Oppo Electronics Corp.
Its online-sales model was also widely questioned as consumers in small cities were still more willing to buy smartphones at brick-and-mortar stores.
In response, Xiaomi stepped up investment in research and development, and embraced the so-called New Retail model, successfully integrating online and offline retail partners.
In the second quarter of this year, it shipped 23.16 million smartphones globally, up 70 percent sequentially, marking a record high for its quarterly smartphone shipments.
Wang Xiang, senior vice-president in charge of Xiaomi's global expansion, says there are plans to open 2,000 brick-and-mortar stores within three years, with half of them overseas.
Also, Xiaomi is channeling more resources into innovation. In February, the company launched the Surge S1, a proprietary chipset, helping it to join the ranks of Apple, Samsung and Huawei which have mastered complex in-house chipmaking capabilities.
"Innovation combined with patent accumulation is the cornerstone of Xiaomi's overseas expansion strategy," Lei says.
The company has 4,806 patents, of which 2,404 are international. According to Lei, Xiaomi will hire thousands of R&D professionals for its smartphone business within the next 12 months, as part of its broader push to reach the goal of shipping 100 million smartphones in 2018.
The company did not disclose how many handsets it shipped last year.
To expand its technology portfolio, Xiaomi signed a multiyear patent agreement with Nokia in July. The agreement includes a cross-license for each other's cellular-standard patents. Xiaomi has also acquired patents from Nokia as part of the transaction.
The move came after it bought around 1,500 patents from Microsoft Corp last year.
"The intellectual property partnership with Nokia, once the world's biggest phone maker, can help it tackle potential legal disputes overseas," says Xiang Ligang, a telecom expert and CEO of telecom industry website cctime.com.
With many new models of electric cars making debut at Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) 2017, the new trend of automotive industry - new energy and intelligent driving - has been highlighted again.
"The cars of the future will be automated, connected and emission-free," Matthias Wissmann, president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) has said.
It is obvious that the ecology of the global automotive industry is undergoing restructuring, and many countries including China have adapted to the new trend featuring energy-saving, connected and automated driving.
Trend of electric mobility
At the IAA, worldwide carmakers unveiled new models of electric cars, making "electric" the key word for the grand event. Beyond the exhibition hall, many countries are mulling fossil fuel car ban.
China, after France and Britain among others, is gearing up to ban manufacturing and sales of diesel and gas cars in the world's largest car market, by announcing that it had started research on a timetable to phase out manufacturing and sales of fossil-fuel powered cars.
"In the 21 century, new energy vehicles surpassing traditional fuel cars is an inevitable future trend," said Yang Yuwei, technology department manager of Beijing Electric Vehicle Co.
"For one thing, it is doubtable whether fossil fuel could last till the end of this century; for another, nowadays customers expect their cars to be intelligent, internet accessible and entertaining, and it is easier to realize these functions in NEVs than in traditional ones."
China now leads the world in new energy vehicles development. The Chinese leading electric bus builder and the world's largest manufacturer of rechargeable batteries BYD has mastered the core technical chain of battery, electric motor and electric controlling system in NEVs field, Du Guozhong, head of the company's media relations department, told Xinhua Thursday.
Chao Xue, Manager of contract administration and project management of BYD, told Xinhua recently that "range is no longer the bottleneck, as BYD buses in most of the cases, have more than enough range to cover a full day service."
BYD is in leading position on efficiency, cost, service life that is the new direction of the industry, and its new energy vehicles have been used in more than 200 cities around the world.
In the megatrend of automotive industry, intelligent and connected car which can communicate with its surroundings and with other road users, would bring about great impact on the traditional car industry.
In the future, people will communicate with cars by speaking out ideas, making gestures, or giving a look, the autonomous driving engineer Bernhard Vaighinger told Xinhua at Frankfurt Motor Show.
Seizing the momentum, China has started to draft the innovation development strategy for intelligent cars, outlining the strategic direction of China's auto industry in a near future.
According to a report released at a forum held by Tsinghua University, China has surpassed Japan, the United States and Germany in patents of intelligent and connected cars, accounting 37 percent of the total patents worldwide.
Chinese artificial intelligence giant Baidu launched "Apollo" in April, an open, complete and reliable software platform for the automotive and autonomous driving industry.
It has conducted successful road tests for its fully autonomous cars on the highways and roads of Beijing in late 2015 and finished the open trial operation of its autonomous car fleet in late 2016.
BYD has also forged an ecology chain of Internet and autos, and has mainly realized integration of mobile and automotive systems, Du said, adding that "BYD autos will not only be a vehicle in the future, but also an interactive device, a virtual assistant even a money maker."
Challenge to traditional auto industry
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the IAA, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said German and international car makers now face many challenges from the governmental adjustment on diesel motors, including China's move that might eventually ban combustion engines in the largest car market and further change the whole industry.
Against such background, car manufacturers have taken refuge in grand promises of an electric and hybrid future.
Although electric cars are the future of the industry, as Merkel predicted, combustion engines would still be needed as a bridging technology as demand was booming in many parts of the world.
For electric cars, "there are still many technical difficulties to overcome, such as batteries, engines, intelligence, lightweight operating and internet connectivity. Besides, charging piles and other infrastructure need to be improved to accelerate the adoption of new energy vehicles," Yang said.
While raising doubts over China's intellectual property laws and practices, the United States should not ignore the progress Beijing has made in those areas. For example, guaranteeing full protection to intellectual property rights online is a difficult task, yet the government has taken measures to address the problem and make remarkable progress in this regard.
According to a China Internet Network Information Center report, by the end of last year China had about 731 million internet users and the total value of internet copyrights exceeded 560 billion yuan ($86.8 billion). But online piracy, too, has grown with the internet industry, harming IPR protection online.
Piracy is the most serious online copyright violation, because of the low costs and low risks involved, and the high profits it can fetch. This year's China Network Intellectual Property Development Report indicates the country's core online copyright industry increased 31.3 percentage points last year compared with 2015, with the online game industry being worth 180 billion yuan, online literature 10 billion yuan, and online videos 5.21 billion yuan. But for online piracy, these figures could have been bigger.
Data from iResearch Consulting Group, a market research and consulting company, show that in 2015 and 2016 piracy caused losses of 7.97 billion yuan and 7.98 billion to the online literature sector, with the mobile paid reading being 4.36 billion yuan and 5.02 billion.
There is little doubt that China, despite some drawbacks in its IPR laws and practices, has made tremendous efforts to protect IPRs online.
Since 2005, government departments such as the National Copyright Administration and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology have been leading a campaign, called "Sword Net", to combat online piracy in literature, music, videos and games. Thanks to the campaign, many websites involved in IP piracy have been shut down. And because of the increasing awareness of IP protection, establishing a foolproof system for protecting online copyrights has become an important task for the government, for which it has implemented more comprehensive laws.
Besides, to combat piracy and protect new media's copyrights, 10 mainstream media outlets and websites formed an association at the National Conference on Copyright Protection in Digital Environment in April. The association is expected to play an active role in managing copyrights, making rules and negotiating prices, and thus help its members protect their legitimate rights.
The National Copyright Administration directly supervises more than 3,000 websites, including Baidu, Youku and 18 other highly influential video websites, to ensure they closely monitor the contents published on their websites.
Moreover, thanks to strengthened IPR protection, more online video copyright owners are getting their share of payment. And this year's Global Music Report issued by International Federation of the Phonographic Industry says the digital music industry markedly increased in scale last year to hit 15 billion yuan.
Strengthened online copyright protection has also facilitated technological and cultural innovations and creations, a new driver of economic growth. As such, better IPR protection will boost the mobile internet, Internet of Things and other related sectors, including artificial intelligence, and help China to become a stronger internet economy.
Leading Chinese biopharmaceutical company Innovent Biologics is now on the move, after announcing a landmark deal on the potential cancer therapy front that has global implications.
In early September, the company said it would pay $457 million to the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Under the terms of the deal, the company is acquiring the worldwide rights for a small molecule inhibitor of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase, also known as IDO.
By inhibiting IDO, pharma companies are aiming to restore the responses of the immune system - enabling cancer cells to be more readily identified and subsequently destroyed.
The institute is to get a total of $457 million in a combination of upfront and milestone payments, which Innovent said is the biggest amount ever paid to an academic institution under a Chinese industry deal.
The institute is also eligible for royalties.
The magnitude of the deal has ensured that the agreement has captured widespread attention from the industry.
Innovent plans to pair the IDO inhibitor with its PD-1 candidate, IBI308, both used in cancer immunotherapy, according to BioCentury, an industrial publication headquartered in the United States.
The IDO inhibitor is potentially complementary to the innovative antibody PD-1.
Their combination has promising curative effects, Innovent Chairman Yu Dechao told the Chinese media.
"The partnership will not only yield a more effective treatment - which will benefit patients in China and other parts of the world - but also advance Chinese biopharmaceuticals' expansion into international markets and help to promote the China-innovation brand in the industry worldwide," Yu said.
Wang Zhaoyin, a researcher at the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Biology and Chemistry, said research had found "over-expression" of IDO in multiple types of tumor cells, including those in the prostate, pancreas, breast and stomach, which was one of the reasons for the difficulties in detecting early-stage cancer.
The center is an affiliate of the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry.
As tumor cells produce excessive IDO, they prevent the activation of a proliferation of immune cells.
As a result, the IDO over-expression enables tumor cells to escape the monitoring of the immune system, industry insiders said.
Wang and his colleague Zhu Yindong - as well as their research teams - developed the inhibitor, which curbs the over-expression and helps the immune cells to become reactive.
The researchers filed Chinese and foreign patent applications for the invention in around 2015, China Intellectual Property News reported.
For other Chinese pharmas, the collaboration model in this case is worth noting as a reference to learn from, Huang Renmin, a partner of Lecome Intellectual Property Agent, told the Beijing-headquartered newspaper.
She said that considering the enormous costs - as well as the prolonged timescale and high failure risks in research and development in the industry - Innovent Biologics' combined payment method enabled both parties to share the risks and benefits.
The attorney has focused on patent filings and IP protection in the biopharmaceuticals sector.
She noted that although milestone payments were more often found in the engineering sector, its use in drug R&D was beneficial to both investors and researchers.
Investors have to face considerable unmanageable risks for a prolonged period, which can take years, from medical research in a lab to rolling the finished product onto the market.
That is due to huge investments and concerns over multiple and stringent administrative approvals. The milestone payment helps to reduce the risks, Huang said.
For researchers, the payment method enables them to secure sufficient R&D funds at the early stage to sustain the project and reduce risks.
Otherwise they couldn't profit until their research proves to be a success, or might give up due to a shortage of funds, she added.
The Suzhou-based drugmaker has made the headlines before on the cancer therapy front.
Along with US group Eli Lilly and Company, a global pharma giant headquartered in Indiana, it agreed to milestone payments in a $1 billion deal to co-develop three bispecific antibodies for cancer treatment in 2015.
A secret team in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has the task of pretending to be online consumers who test-buy purchases from the billion-plus products on its platforms.
They spot check about 100,000 products and invest around 100 million yuan (about 15.15 million U.S. dollars) a year on average. Around one in four online shops are checked annually.
"Spot checks are not random. They are guided by big data from our platforms," said team leader Qin Seng. Using product ratings, consumer disputes and other information, the team builds a model to identify suspected counterfeits and shops that sell counterfeits.
The whole process is videoed to retain evidence. The sample purchases are sent to rights holders or authoritative quality inspection agencies. If identified as fake, the products are removed from the platform. The vendors can face the closure of their online shops. If identified as genuine products, they are stored as Alibaba' s assets.
Alibaba's Storehouse of Counterfeit Evidence is a 300-square-meter warehouse in Alibaba Group's Xixi Park, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. Counterfeits can be stored there for more than three years as legal evidence.
The spot checks are symptomatic of China's battle against counterfeits in the Internet era.
Chai Haitao, deputy director of the Office of National Leading Group of the Fight against IPR Infringement and Counterfeiting, said that with the rapid development of China's Internet economy, infringements and counterfeits are constantly renewed.
"We need to strengthen cross-sector, cross-regional, and cross-border cooperation to combat counterfeits. We also need to mobilize enterprises, industry organizations and the public," Chai said.
Alibaba's Anti-Counterfeiting Special Task Force, formed last year, actively works with local law enforcement agencies, said Qin Seng.
"After we clean up online shops selling counterfeits, the counterfeiters usually change their identities and places of dispatch, using more covert means to continue selling online," Qin said.
The team uses big data to identify counterfeits and the vendors, affiliated dealers and factories suspected of producing or selling counterfeit items. They pass evidence to the public security, administration of commerce and industry, quality inspection, food and drug supervision and other law enforcement agencies. At the same time, they investigate the evidence in the field.
The team faces many risks in their offline probes.
"Most counterfeiting dens are hidden and well-organized. For example, we encountered a village producing counterfeits. The villagers installed cameras everywhere and when they saw outsiders entering, they became vigilant and even threatened us," Qin said.
Alibaba's cooperation with local authorities to locate counterfeit sources has proved effective. They have partnerships with the public security bureaus of 13 provinces.
In 2016, Alibaba submitted 1,184 leads to law enforcement agencies; helped public security bureaus arrest 880 suspects; assisted in the closure of 1,419 counterfeit manufacturing locations; and helped seize merchandise worth more than 3 billion yuan (about 455 million U.S. dollars).
In August, with evidence from Alibaba, police in Loudi, Hunan Province, broke up a ring producing and selling counterfeit weight-loss drugs, with a sales network in more than 20 provinces. Total trade by the ring exceeded 100 million yuan (about 15.15 million U.S. dollars).
In the eyes of Sun Jungong, vice president of Alibaba, spot checks and data-driven proactive monitoring protect a good shopping environment on the platform itself, while cooperation with law enforcement agencies shows effective collaborative governance.
"We hope to take advantage of Alibaba's big data and strong data-mining capabilities. By expanding offline cooperation, we aim to tackle this issue at its source," Sun said.
Professor Wang Xin, of Peking University Law School, said the rapid development of China's e-commerce platforms and the emergence of new online shopping models have provided more sales channels for fake goods.
Wang said China has made great efforts in recent years to stamp out intellectual property right (IPR) infringements, by improving laws and setting up specialist IPR courts.
However, the penalties for counterfeit producers and sellers are not enough of a deterrent, Wang conceded. Many counterfeit makers receive suspended sentences or fines.
He suggested recidivists should be banned from entering the market again forever.
Alibaba' s analysis has also found some online consumers buy counterfeits knowingly.
Sun Jungong said raising awareness among consumers is essential to fight counterfeiting.
"Everyone can do their bit to stop counterfeit goods. If society reaches a consensus, as with drink-driving, we are more likely to tackle this problem," Sun said.
Microsoft will launch an intellectual property protection program for its Azure customers in China on Oct 1, the technology giant announced in Shanghai on Tuesday.
In February, Microsoft became the first technology company to offer uncapped indemnification coverage to its Microsoft Azure cloud customers. It now offers customers protection against patent trolling with its collection of 10,000 legal patents, covering 42 countries and regions worldwide.
Jason Zander, corporate vice-president of Microsoft, said the purpose of bringing Azure IP protection program in China is to make sure that its Azure cloud partners, users and developers can accelerate their innovation on cloud computing.
Wind turbine technologies developer Envision Energy based in Jiangsu province is one of the domestic companies to set up an Internet-of-Things platform on Azure cloud. The company's senior manager Pan Yihong said the IP protection program will help them to focus on technology innovation and avoid unnecessary waste.
Xia Yiping, chief technology officer of bike-sharing company Mobike, said the technology and legal protection provided by Microsoft can largely reduce risks related to IP since Mobike has started businesses in seven overseas markets.
According to global online market intelligence platform IPlytics, the number of IP lawsuits related to cloud products has surged by 700 percent since 2012 in the United States. A similar trend can also be noticed in China, as the number of cloud products IP lawsuits jumped by 158 percent between 2011 and 2016.
Microsoft Azure entered the Chinese market in March 2014, with its services operated by Beijing-based carrier-neutral internet data center service provider 21Vianet.
The Chinese government has begun a campaign to protect the intellectual property rights (IPR) of foreign companies.
The campaign will focus on malicious trademark registration and imitation of foreign brands, the Ministry of Commerce said Monday, citing a joint action plan by 12 government departments.
From September to December, the campaign will also target infringement of online IPRs, patent rights and plant variety rights, as well as industrial espionage, according to the plan.
China has promised to improve IPR protection for foreign companies with campaigns against violations and stepping up judicial and administrative protection, according to a guideline on ensuring foreign investment growth released last month by the State Council.
"China has attached great importance to IPR protection and seen visible results," deputy minister of commerce Wang Shouwen told a press conference last month.
China's IPR spending to overseas owners rose to 24 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 from 1.94 billion dollars in 2001, an annualized increase of about 18 percent. In the first half of this year, the amount rose 23 percent year on year to 14.3 billion dollars.
Wang Junfeng and seven fellow Chinese researchers at Harvard Medical School gave up life in the United States to move to a small island on the outskirts of Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province.
"Science Island" is home to more than 10 research institutes and 1,000 top researchers - and an ideal place to focus on their research, they said.
In the 1990s and early 21st Century, many Chinese college students flocked to developed countries to pursue studies and professions with the help of more advanced research equipment.
In the past two decades, as its economy blossomed, China has attached greater importance to science and technology, making it an increasingly attractive base for researchers.
Wang said he came to the island because advanced experimental equipment on steady high magnetic fields was to be built there. It would make China the fifth country in the world to have such equipment.
Kuang Guangli, leader of the project, said the team has already made an impact in international academic circles and that the members have made greater academic achievements here than they did in Harvard.
Experience in China over almost a century has shown that it is necessary to mobilize efforts and resources to concentrate on major tasks. Now the experience is being applied to scientific and technological innovation.
Innovation is at the heart of China's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), which sets the aims to become an "innovation nation" by 2020, an international leader in innovation by 2030, and a world powerhouse in scientific and technological innovation by 2050.
At the forefront of fundamental research and strategic key technologies in fields such as space, deep sea, super computers and quantum communication, China has shown determination and speed, capturing world attention.
Over the past year, Chinese have been inspired by landmark achievements in science and technology.
Chinese scientists completed all the experiments designed for the world's first quantum satellite a year ahead of schedule, laying the foundation for a hack-proof global quantum communication network.
China's supercomputer, Sunway TaihuLight, was crowned the world's fastest computer at both the 2016 and 2017 International Supercomputing Conferences held in Frankfurt, Germany.
In early July, China made breakthroughs in the search for alternative clean energy sources by completing a 60-day trial of mining gas hydrates, commonly known as combustible ice, in the South China Sea.
"Combustible ice is considered a strategic alternative to oil and natural gas," China Geological Survey Bureau's deputy director Li Jinfa said. "The whole world is looking towards it."
In mid-June, China launched its first X-ray space telescope to observe black holes, pulsars and gamma-ray bursts.
"I am really impressed with how China is developing its scientific space program," said Arvind Parmar, head of the Scientific Support Office in the Science Directorate of European Space Agency (ESA). "The recent launches of the Dark Matter Particle Explorer and the Quantum Experiments at Space Scale missions highlight China's capabilities and commitment to science as does the range of missions under study for future launch opportunities."
China took a major step toward becoming a global aviation powerhouse as its homegrown large passenger plane, the C919, took to the sky on May 5. The flight makes China the fourth jumbo jet producer after the United States, Western Europe and Russia.
Last year, China launched its first space lab, Tiangong-2, and sent the Shenzhou-11 manned spaceship to dock with it. Two Chinese astronauts stayed in Tiangong-2 for a month, setting a new Chinese record for space residency.
In April this year, China launched its first cargo spacecraft, Tianzhou-1, to dock with Tiangong-2, to test space refueling technology, laying the foundation for building the country's space station.
This string of achievements shows the innovation-driven development strategy is paying dividends.
A report jointly issued by the National Center for Science and Technology Evaluation and Clarivate Analytics said China's expenditure on research and development accounted for 1.42 percent of GDP in 2006 and the ratio increased to 2.1 percent in 2016.
In 2016, China had over 1.1 million patents for inventions, ranking the third after the United States and Japan.
The latest Global Innovation Index showed China rose three places to 22nd on the list of the world's most innovative nations in 2017, the only middle-income country to join the top 25 innovative economies.
ORIGIN OF INNOVATION
In the 13th Five-Year Plan, the evolution of the universe was given pride of place on the scientific research list. It was followed by material structure, the origins of life, and neurology.
"Fundamental questions, like this, have the power to influence solutions to some of the most prominent problems faced by society and the world at large," said Han Song, a Chinese sci-fi writer.
With economic pressures forecast to continue, China is committed to fostering new development momentum through innovation.
China has been striving to upgrade its industrial structure and shift its economy to a growth model that draws strength from innovation as its competitive advantages in low labor and raw material costs are eroded.
Zhang Xinmin, a researcher with the Institute of High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), said China is starting to value basic science.
Zhang, who studies primordial gravitational waves in Ngari, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, said research is the origin of innovation. Without it, innovation on a large scale is unachievable.
Studying the evolution of the universe seems unrelated to more pressing issues, such as lifting tens of millions of people out of poverty by 2020.
However, Hugo Award-winning author Liu Cixin said many advances rely on science and technology.
Wu Ji, director of the CAS National Space Science Center, said that since China's first satellite was launched into space nearly 50 years ago, a number of communications, remote sensing and navigation satellites have followed.
"If China wants to be a strong global nation, it should not only care about immediate interests, but also contribute to humankind. Only that can win China the real international respect," Wu said.
China will produce another five or six scientific satellites by 2020, which will aid research into black holes, dark matter, quantum physics and the space environment.
"If you want to innovate, you must have knowledge of the sciences. Space science is inseparable from China's innovation-driven development," said Wu.
A Chinese probe is expected to land on Mars in 2021.
"Exploring the red planet and deep space will mean that China can establish itself as a scientific and technological leader. The knock-on effect is that inventions and independent intellectual property rights will surge, and, as a result, China's core competence will increase, pushing development in other industries," said Jia Yang, deputy chief designer of China's Mars rover.
"Although China still lags behind scientifically-advanced countries in some areas, we have made great strides in basic science and space science. As long as we are diligent, in the near future we will achieve great success," said Chang Jin, vice director of the CAS Purple Mountain Observatory.
China Electronics Technology Group Corp, a State-owned technology giant, will step up efforts to optimize corporate structure and encourage innovation amid the central government's deepening of State-owned enterprise reform.
"Our goal is to lead the development of China's electronics industry and build the cornerstone of national security," said Xiong Qunli, chairman of CETC. "We will ramp up resources to cultivate innovation and accelerate structural reform."
As of August, the company has successfully integrated 19 research institutes to set up seven units, simplifying hierarchy, boosting operational efficiency and saving costs.
CETC has already been working to overhaul its structure, which previously consisted of 47 electronic information research institutes. Such a fragmented structure led to a slate of problems such as scattered investments, redundant construction and disordered internal competition.
"We have shifted our focus to five areas - military electronics, civilian products, international management, scientific and technological innovation, and asset management and capital operation," Xiong said.
In 2016, CETC recorded 188 billion yuan ($ 28.7 billion) in revenue, marking an almost 20-fold increase compared to the number in 2002, when it was founded. Its profit also surged to 18.3 billion yuan, highlighting the company's strong momentum.
The reform is part of the wider SOE reforms administered by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the country's top regulator of SOEs. It is designed to increase the competitiveness of SOEs as China works to replace old growth drivers with new ones, with emphasis on innovation, technology and efficiency.
According to Xiong, the company also has been closely aligning businesses with national strategies. It has stepped up overseas investments to better serve countries and regions related to the Belt and Road Initiative. CETC is also ramping up resources to cultivate innovation.
It has set up an intellectual property center, intended to motivate employees to come up with innovative ideas and experimenting with cutting-edge technologies. As part of its financial incentives, the company said at least half of the revenue generated from new patents will be rewarded to core employees who invent the patent.
As a result, the number of patent applications at CETC surged 80 percent after the reform.
"SOEs are the backbone of national scientific and technological innovation. CETC is engaged in information technology, a sector where global R&D spending is pouring in to get a dominant position. Innovation is exploding. CETC has done a very good job," said Xiang Ligang, an independent expert of the information technology.
The State Council, China's Cabinet, issued an action plan earlier this year, ordering the country's major SOEs supervised by the central government, excluding financial and cultural enterprises, to complete corporate reforms by the end of 2017.
Tim Cook, the chief executive officer of Apple Inc, launched three new products－iPhone8, iPhone8 Plus and iPhoneX－on Tuesday but, unlike in the past, the Chinese market's response at best was lukewarm.
Today Apple ranks fifth in the Chinese smartphone market. Worse, in the second quarter of this year, only 8 million iPhones were sold on the Chinese mainland, dragging its market share from 9.2 percent in the first quarter down to 7.1 percent. And among the top five best-selling smartphones, iPhone is the only one to see its market share drop.
According to an online survey, about 37 percent of the iPhone users and 49 percent users of other brands said they would not buy any of the three new products after watching their launch. Established brands such as iPhones have lost their shine because "innovative" new products no longer catch the fancy of many youths.
South Korea-based Samsung faces an even bigger challenge. The launch of its new product on the same day attracted so little attention from Chinese consumers that there were hardly any reports about the event on Chinese websites.
Among other things, perhaps Apple's attitude toward Chinese users and companies is responsible for its decline in the Chinese market. It has always had a big appetite for profit, even trying to make money from the apps loaded on the iPhones. For instance, in April, Apple asked Tencent, the owner of WeChat, to pay 30 percent of all the bonus money as a kind of "tax". That Apple has fallen behind in the fierce competition for iPhones' outer designs, performances and prices has also contributed to its decline.
From iPhone4 in 2010 to iPhone8 this year, Apple has stuck to the same design pattern. In particular, iPhone8 looks almost the same as iPhone7, prompting many to say that iPhone8 users should keep their "new buy" upside down on the table so that those around can see the glass back and realize it is the new model.
The decline of big global brands has seen a corresponding rise in the fortunes of Chinese smartphone companies, which have upgraded their models several times in the past years.
MI, a domestic smartphone company, was founded in April 2010, but its share in the Chinese market in the second quarter was 11.8 percent, higher than that of iPhones.
Besides, both MI and Huawei have entered the US market and are competing with Apple in its homeland and Europe. Inspired by the strategy of "Made in China 2025", the Chinese cellphone companies are catching up fast by investing huge amounts of money in research and development. For instance, thanks to its robust R&D investment, Huawei topped the innovation list last year with 4,906 patents.
In other words, the changing cellphone market reflects the increasing potential of Chinese mobile phone producers.
Zhou Gang turned on the shower and aimed the stream of water at an electrical outlet connected to a water heater in a simulated bathroom. The heater kept working, and he didn't get a shock.
Near the bathroom, a woman connected a light bulb with a plug to a socket that had been submerged in a cylinder of water. No short circuit resulted. The bulb stayed on. And she wasn't shocked, even when she reached into the water to disconnect the bulb.
The demonstrations took place during a recent visit to a showroom at Chengdu ArGangle Technology, in Chengdu, Sichuan province.
Zhou, 32, is the chairman of ArGangle, which focuses on the research and development of insulated electrical technology.
A native of Chengdu, Zhou suffered from an electric shock as a child. Because of his interest in electricity, he suspended his studies at the Nanchang Institute of Technology in Jiangxi province after one year and returned to Sichuan to set up his company 10 years ago.
The company has now developed an electrical concept known as an "insulated electricity connection", which can connect to an outlet in water without causing an electric shock or shorting out.
The secret? There is an insulating material in each socket. Zhou said they will be sold for 85 yuan ($13) apiece when they appear on the market at the end of this year.
Zhou patented the insulated connection in China, South Korea, Japan, Australia and the United States. He obtained additional patent protection from 95 national signatories to the patent cooperation treaty.
Wang Zhongcheng, deputy Party chief of Pidu district in Chengdu, said the district government has signed an agreement with ArGangle to jointly build an insulated electricity connection base.
A plant for manufacturing outlets using the insulated connection has been built on 5 hectares in Pidu.
"When the plant starts production at the end of this year, it is expected to produce up to 20 million socket outlets a year," Wang said.
An auto parts technician from Shanghai who claimed that the locking system Mobike uses on its shared bicycles infringed on his patent has lost a lawsuit against the company.
Shanghai No 3 Intermediate People's Court on Thursday ruled in favor of Mobike, saying its technical process for unlocking bikes is not the same as the intellectual property held by the plaintiff, identified only as Hu.
"Their technical characteristics and the technical paths of unlocking the bikes are different," judge Shang Jiangang said in announcing the verdict.
She Yifeng, the attorney for Mobike, had argued that the company's unlocking process－which involves a Mobike smartphone app, cloud server and lock controller on each vehicle connected by a wireless signal－is more complicated than Hu's patent.
Hu said he submitted an application to patent his invention for an operation method to unlock bicycles to the State Intellectual Property Office in June 2013, and was awarded the patent in May 2016.
He told a court on Aug 16 that the unlocking procedure he invented involved users' smartphones and the vehicles.
"When a user scans a QR code with a smartphone to unlock a bicycle, the system will compare the image to the one stored in its database to determine if they are identical. If yes, it will signal the controller to unlock the bicycle," he told the court.
He argued that Mobike's lock controlling system has the same technical characteristics as his patent. In April he requested the court to order the company to stop manufacturing shared bikes with such a system, destroy all locks on existing Mobike bicycles and pay 500,000 yuan ($76,300) in compensation.
Mobike's attorney told the court that the first step of the bike-sharing company's unlocking process is when a user scans a QR code on the bike with a smartphone and the system sends an unlocking request to the cloud server.
"The request includes the user data and the information of this bike. Upon receiving the request, the cloud server will check if the user is qualified. The process will stop for any user with a substandard credit record or who does not have enough money in their prepaid account," She said.
If the user is qualified to ride the bike, the cloud server will send a signal to the lock controller on the bike, which will then check if the bike is in good condition to be used, She added. "Bikes that are reported by previous users to be out of order will not be unlocked."
Mobike, which began operating in Shanghai in April last year, has distributed more than 7 million bikes in 160 cities on the Chinese mainland and in Singapore, Japan, the United Kingdom and Italy.
China will roll out a series of measures to boost innovation, according to a circular issued by the General Office of the State Council.
A total of 13 reform measures will be carried out in eight comprehensive innovation pilot areas, including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Shanghai and the Pearl River Delta, and then further promoted nationwide.
According to the circular, the government will enhance the support for innovation by small and medium-sized enterprises by offering one-stop investment and financing information.
One-stop service for patent examination, rights protection and verification will also be offered to enterprises, said the circular.
In the meantime, the government will streamline the procedures for foreigners to apply work permits in China, and encourage foreign students to find career opportunities, start their own businesses and apply for work and residence permits.
The circular also stressed the need to accelerate the transformation of military production into civilian use.
German industrial group Siemens AG announced Thursday that it has entered into a partnership with Tsinghua University, one of Siemens' center of knowledge interchange universities, to jointly set up a robotics research center in Beijing.
"China's digital transformation is already having a profound impact on its economy. With Made in China 2025 and the Belt and Road Initiatives, China intends to upgrade its national industry and boost its global competence through digitalization-focused innovations," said Roland Busch, chief technology officer and member of the managing board of Siemens AG.
Siemens is investing heavily in the future of China and partnering with the country and many customers on its way to digitalization, he said.
The company said Siemens China will lead the firm's global research in autonomous robotics.
As part of the company's innovation strategy to master technology fields that are critical for future success, a global research community comprising experienced experts from around the world will focus on the research and development of new mechatronics systems, human-robot collaboration and the application of artificial intelligence in robotic controllers.
Siemens has also teamed up with a number of local governments and 87 local universities and technology institutes in China to conduct scientific research and develop talent.
"We're constructing an open, inclusive and trust-based innovation eco-system in China aimed at value co-creation in the digital age," said Lothar Herrmann, CEO Siemens Greater China. "Siemens is bringing the next generation of innovations to life for our customers and society, in China and the world."
China has become one of Siemens' largest R&D locations worldwide. In its fiscal year 2016 ended on September 30, 2016, Siemens had over 4,500 R&D researchers and engineers, 20 R&D hubs and more than 11,000 active patents and patent applications in China.
As the world's top patent filer, China needs to develop more high-value patents that feature cutting-edge technology, market competitiveness and legal stability, industry insiders said at a seminar held last week as part of the China Patent Annual Conference 2017.
Li Cheng, deputy general manager of Intellectual Property Publishing House, a patent intelligence provider, said patent creation is the source of the entire patent industry.
However, "compared with those strong patent powerhouses around the world, China lacks basic, original and high-value patents, especially in some core sectors," he said.
Liu Huabing, head of the patent information department at the publishing house, said a high-value patent is the integration of high-quality technical solutions, a well-composed patent application, high-standard examinations and good market potential.
"The quality of patents in China needs to improve so that companies can find more value from technology," he said.
"A more urgent need is to commercialize many unused patents. But before commercialization, we have to analyze their value."
With two years' effort, Intellectual Property Publishing House has developed a system to recognize, analyze and develop high-value patents and patent packages. Its demo version was unveiled at the seminar.
Using big data technology, the system has identified about 46,500 patents in China as high-value patents. More than 630,000 patents could become high-value ones if they were further developed, and another 1.5 million patents or more "have some potential value", according to Liu.
The system's initial version is planned to launch by the end of this year, Liu said.
Shi Liangyan, IP director at China's leading wind power developer Goldwind Science and Technology, said a high-value patent must be "related to the necessary functions of a product".
"As technology advances quickly, the best solution yesterday may no longer be the best today, and we will no longer renew the patent," she said.
"In that case, the patent cannot be called a high-value one despite its high quality, because of its short life span."
Shi said the development of high-value patents in a company requires proper culture, systems and talent.
"We should have an environment that encourages innovation and tolerates failures," she explained. "We should also have incentive systems and build up professional teams of researchers and developers, as well as lawyers and market personnel."
Xiao Dongmei, dean of the law school at Xiangtan University, said it is challenging to find high-value patents among numerous patents, and called for greater data accessibility, including on patent examination, to make it easier for companies and researchers engaged in patent evaluation.
Ancient China came up with four inventions which had a massive impact on the world - papermaking, gunpowder, printing and the compass.
Fast forward to the 21st Century and four modern-day breakthroughs have revolutionized daily life for millions of people around the country.
First, the high speed rail network. Connecting most major cities, the high-speed railway system has been praised as fast, comfortable and more punctual than air travel.
Second, mobile payment. This has transformed China into a predominately cashless society, where even credit and debit cards are seldom used. The penetration rate of cellphone payments now stands at 65 percent, with everything from high end department stores right down to street food vendors allowing customers to scan a QR code to pay for goods and services.
Third, the shared bicycle system. This has had a massive impact on the way Chinese people travel and single-handedly sparked a bicycle revival in China. Scan to ride, then lock and leave. No docking stations are needed at all! This phenomenally popular model has even been exported to countries such as Singapore and the UK.
And finally, online shopping. In China, not just clothes and books can be bought at the touch of a button...quite literally everything can be found and bought online. Takeout food, laundry and manicure services, flowers, goods storage. The list is, quite literally, endless.
Of these four areas which have revolutionized life in China, entrepreneur Bruce Nikoo says he has been most impressed by the explosive popularity of mobile payments.
"It is not just money; China is creating lots of foundations and programs, they encourage Chinese enterprises, specifically information and communication technology to invest research and development, the key driver behind the new growth trajectory of China is going to be science, technology and innovation," he said.
However, Nikoo did point out that China has been growing so rapidly in the last four decades that some worry further development might be difficult.
In 2016, the State Council issued a national scientific and technological innovation plan to improve the country's technology and innovation capabilities, and to bring comprehensive innovation capabilities up into the world's top 15 by 2020.
In 2015, 213 billion US dollars were spent on scientific research and experiments. Invention patent ownership reached 630 per million people. In addition, the contribution rate of technology to economic growth increased from 21 percent in 2010 to 55 percent in 2015.
Furthermore, the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in China is also thriving. According to Bruce Nikoo, the next wave is going to be AI, and the strategy of every company is going to be an AI first strategy.
Pudong-based enterprises have made a breakthrough and acquired protection from Shanghai Customs for their intellectual property assets after a rigorous strategy to do business overseas.
The three-month campaign ensured enterprises can now safeguard their intellectual property rights over traditional export products with comparative advantages, such as: Home appliances, consumer electronics, engineering machinery and several other featured items.
Customs sent officers to several key enterprises for intellectual property law enforcement coordination to work with intellectual property law enforcement staff to launch a crackdown on offenses against intellectual property.
The Shanggong Shenbei (Group) Co, on Luoshan Road, is the parent of Shanghai Shanggong Butterfly Sewing Machine Co and owns brands "Shanggong" and "Butterfly" which are often counterfeited by industry peers.
Shanghai Customs carried out surveillance protection on products with high risks of being counterfeited and seized 100 fake "Butterfly" sewing machines exported by a trade firm in Ningbo City. As a consequence, an offender was discovered and eventually found guilty by the No.3 Intermediate People's Court of Shanghai last September.
First IPR Center launched
Shanghai's first intellectual property protection center was established in July, in Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park, to shorten the patent application process and enhance protection. The China (Pudong) Intellectual Property Rights Protection Center helps to halve the application process by 15 months. Previously, applications had to be lodged with the State Intellectual Property Office in Beijing, a process which could take up to two-and-a-half-years.
The center hires an expert panel to evaluate and help improve the patents before submitting them to the national office.
Those submitted through the Pudong center will also enjoy a faster "green channel" in Beijing.
At present, the center offers fast access on high-end manufacturing and bio-pharmaceutical industries for Pudong-based companies from both home and abroad. The service will expand later.
The two pillar industries of Pudong generated more than 140 billion yuan ($21.42 billion) in production value in 2016, and more than 6,500 approved patents. Most came from leading companies, such as: Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), MicroPort Scientific Corporation and Semiconductor Manufacturing International (Shanghai) Corp.
High demand for patent protection
Pudong is home to burgeoning high-end equipment manufacturing and bio-pharmaceutical industries, where demand for intellectual property rights service is high.
In the last year, Pudong enterprises filed more than 9,500 patent applications in high-end equipment manufacturing industry with 2,300 coming from the bio-pharmaceutical industry.
A complaint channel and a range of mechanisms will be established by the center to protect intellectual property rights, including: Fast response mechanism of complaints, a multiplex mechanism of disputes solution, and an online rights protection mechanism of competitive industries.
In addition, the center will initiate coordinated and cooperative actions to protect intellectual property rights in all industries. They will investigate and penalize illegal practices on patent, trademark and copyright.
They will also carry out special law enforcement operations, and promote fast response to infringement of IPR in key fields, areas and markets.
The center will also work with the Shanghai intellectual property court (the No.3 Intermediate People's Court of Shanghai) to enhance the protection.
Pudong has adopted a series of measures to reform the intellectual property rights management system since 2014 and the Pudong Intellectual Property Bureau was founded on January 1, 2015 to combine patent, trademark and copyright services into one.
Pudong has stepped up the protection of intellectual property rights since it opened China's first independent intellectual property bureau to handle disputes over trademarks, patents and copyrights.
Unlike other places in China where intellectual property rights disputes are handled by different departments with poor efficiency, the Pudong Intellectual Property Bureau is the merger of three departments for separate protection of trademarks, patents and copyrights.
Shanghai Upper Biotech Pharma Co Ltd, for instance, bought a global IP composite insurance from Cathay Insurance last November. The deal was brokered by the bureau which promotes intellectual property insurance to potential buyers.
The bureau also set up an intellectual property rights service platform in Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone to encourage innovation and establish long-term cooperation with the Walt Disney Company to solve intellectual property rights complaints. Last year it confiscated 727 pirated Disney products.
Dispute settlement system
Pudong also devised an intellectual property rights dispute settlement system involving government mediation, judicial mediation and third-party mediation. Last year, the bureau resolved 57 dispute cases through third-party mediation.
In the first 11 months of 2016, Pudong generated more than 26,000 patent applications, up 33.2 percent from the same period of last year. Moreover, an intellectual property tribunal was set up in Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone in April 2015.
The intellectual property tribunal is administrated by Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court to meet the increasing demand for intellectual property protection in the zone.
An intellectual property rights judicial protection liaison office of the Supreme People's Court of China (SPC) was unveiled in the zone at the same time. With the liaison office, emerging or complex issues concerning intellectual property rights cases of the zone are more efficiently communicated to the SPC.
China has become a nanotechnology powerhouse, according to a report released at the 7th International Conference on Nanoscience and Technology in Beijing recently.
China's applied nanoscience research and the industrialization of nanotechnology have been developing steadily, with the number of nano-related patent applications ranking among the top in the world, said the report.
The report was co-produced by Springer Nature, the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, and the National Science Library, which is part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences or CAS.
According to Bai Chunli, president of CAS, China faces new opportunities for nanoscience research and development as it builds the NCNST and globally influential national science centers.
"We will strengthen the strategic landscape and top-down design for developing nanoscience, which will contribute greatly to the country's economy and society," said Bai.
Nanoscience is the study of the interaction, composition, properties and manufacturing methods of materials at the nanometer scale.
The science encourages integration of many disciplines and has a direct impact on daily work and life because it leads to the discovery of advanced technology.
In 1997, around 13,000 nanoscience-related papers were published worldwide. By 2016, the number had risen to more than 154,000, the report said.
The number of papers related to nanoscience from China grew from 820 in 1997 to over 52,000 in 2016.
Since 2007, the average compound annual growth rate of China's most cited nanoscience papers was 22 percent－three times the global rate, the report stated.
In terms of the number of nano-related patent applications, China has reached 209,344 over the past 20 years, accounting for 45 percent of the world's total.
In 2003, CAS and the Ministry of Education co-established the NCNST. Key to the NCNST's success has been the involvement of three of China's top research institutions－Tsinghua University, Peking University and CAS, said Liu Minghua, director of the NCNST.
Liu said that thanks to robust funding, a growing number of Chinese scientists have been attracted to research of nanomaterials. Additionally, more foreign-trained Chinese researchers have returned to China under favorable policies.
Energy nanotechnology and catalytic nanomaterials are the top two fields in which China has made remarkable achievements.
Faced with mounting public pressure to tackle deteriorating environmental problems, China is putting great effort into the research and development of new energy, as well as energy efficiency and environmental protection technology.
This has made energy-related nanotechnology a promising area, leading Chinese researchers to research batteries and energy storage and conversion, Liu said.
Catalytic nanomaterials research is considered China's most promising area of nanoscience. Nanostructure-based catalysts can speed up chemical reactions and could be useful in chemical industries and oil refining, experts said.
Bai said both challenges and opportunities await China.
More breakthroughs in basic nanoscience research need to be made, and the gap between basic research and application should be closed.
CAS will foster more young scientists who can innovate, accelerate the building of value chains, and foster broad and efficient international collaboration, Bai said.
"Through our joint efforts, we expect to apply nanotechnology to various sectors that will benefit the people and help China to be a global leader in science and technology," Bai said.
Chinese are willing to pay for online content, showing their readiness to protect copyright online, experts said.
"The market for paid online content just started in China and shows remarkable growth. ... Without copyright protection, paying for content would no longer exist, particularly when large scale pirating occurs," said Lyu Benfu, a professor specialized in online economy at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.
Netizens are increasingly willing to pay for valuable content.
"Five years ago, it was almost free to listen to music online. Nearly all music websites were free. I had no idea that what I downloaded was pirated copies, which harmed my favorite singers' intellectual property," said Zhang Hui, a magazine editor in Shanghai.
As a magazine editor, Zhang has sometimes been upset to find her articles being stolen online. But previously, it rarely occurred to her that she was encouraging copyright infringement by never paying to read or listen to music online.
"I do now," she said.
Zhang is not the only one to raise copyright protection awareness in China.
A recent study by iResearch, a Beijing-based consulting firm, showed that nearly half of Chinese netizens are willing to pay or have paid for online content, compared with 30 percent in 2014.
"Valuable content created by scholars, scientists and artists was published online for free in the past. But in recent years, more and more people have started to believe they should pay for access to that content.
"So, many websites have created platforms to collect payment," said Xiang Songzuo, deputy director of the International Monetary Institute at Renmin University of China in Beijing.
"It will be an inevitable trend. Knowledge, especially high-quality knowledge, should command a good price. ... Authors will pay more attention to their content when it costs money to access. It is mutually beneficial. Consumers willingly pay for high-quality content. Authors will be encouraged to create better content," he said.
Some new technology prevents digital content infringement online.
"Suizhi uses a new technology involving code and digital copyright technologies to prevent online infringement. The company has obtained seven patents. Digital content including video, audio and text files can be sold at a certain price. Payment is for one copy. The new technology helps turn knowledge into money," said Liu Tongpeng, founder of Suizhi.com, an e-commerce content website.
Suizhi allows authors to upload their works and sell their knowledge at a certain price.
China has compiled a new index to reflect the contribution of new growth drivers to the country's economic growth, said its statistical head on Thursday.
"After five years of exploration and application, China has established a statistical system that can reflect the development of the country's new growth drivers and industries," said Ning Jizhe, head of the National Bureau of Statistics.
He made the announcement at the ninth meeting of the heads of national statistical offices of the BRICS countries in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
The New Growth Driver Index shows the role of economic vitality, digital economy, restructuring, knowledge capacity and innovation as new growth drivers.
Each of the five is again measured by way of a sub-index.
The new index has 2014 as its starting point. In 2015, it reached 129, up 29 percent year-on-year, said Ning.
The rise of the index in 2015, the latest year for which data is available, shows that China's new growth drivers are expanding at a fast pace.
China's economic vitality is growing, said a development report on China's new economic momentum, released for the first time by the NBS at the BRICS meeting.
The Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development, a think tank affiliated to the Ministry of Science and Technology, released a similar index in January to reflect the role new growth drivers, such as innovation and emerging industries, have played in expanding the Chinese economy.
That index had continued to grow in the 2012-15 period.
China has made strenuous efforts to restructure its economy, with focus on maximizing the potential of the economy through encouragement of innovation and support for the development of some key emerging areas such as new materials, artificial intelligence, internet and the digital economy.
NBS data show that from January to July, China's patent applications rose by 8 percent year-on-year to 1.83 million.
During that period, China's online retail sales increased by 33.7 percent, 6.2 percentage points higher than the same period of last year.
In the Global Innovation Index rankings compiled by the World Intellectual Property Organization, China stood at the 22nd place this year, up from 34 in 2012 and is the highest among mid-income economies.
The two-day statistical office head meeting of BRICS－Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa－opened in Hangzhou on Thursday, shortly after the three-day BRICS Summit ended in Xiamen in East China's Fujian province.
NBS' Ning urged statistical authorities of the five countries to improve cooperation and standards of statistical work related to new growth drivers.
Payment for the use of China's intellectual property by overseas economies skyrocketed nearly 500 percent in the first seven months, as the country's service export improves, data from the Ministry of Commerce indicated on Thursday.
China's service trade deficit has narrowed significantly, according to Gao Feng, the ministry's spokesman. In July, the figure decreased 30 percent month-on-month and 1.8 percent year-on-year to 141.5 billion yuan ($21.8 billion).
The structure of service trade has been optimized, with exports of the emerging sectors' services racking up the biggest increase, Gao said.
In the first seven months, exports of emerging sectors' services totaled 405.6 billion yuan, up 8.3 percent year-on-year. This was 3.9 percentage points higher than the overall growth rate, accounting for over half of total service export.
Specifically, exports of culture and entertainment services surged 20.4 percent year-on-year, and those of maintenance services by 14.4 percent year-on-year.
Liu Chao, deputy director-general of legal affairs at the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said: "China has made reasonable changes in response to foreign companies' opinions especially in areas such as IPR protection, foreign investment categories and the labor environment, as these elements connect directly with the country's foreign direct investment flows."
"In addition, all the free trade agreements, such as China-South Korea FTA or China-Australia FTA China signed with partner countries, have stipulated clear policies and measures in tackling crimes regarding the protection of intellectual property rights," said Liu.
Guo Xiaojun, deputy director of the CCPIT Patent and Trademark Law Office, said the rising payments for the use of China's intellectual property by overseas economies indicated that the patent market is "quite lively" and "on a trajectory toward maturity."
"In the past, China urged companies to apply for high-quality patents. Now the country is encouraging them to use patented technologies and copyrights in a lawful way, which helps them better realize their business value."
Earlier this year, China pledged a further opening up of services and industries related to healthcare, finance, insurance, telecommunications, technical service, energy-saving and environmental protection.
The government has also increased its supervision of daily necessities, electronics, cosmetics, garments and pharmaceutical products being exported to overseas markets, and cracked down on illegal activities such as forged export certificates and official seals.
Between January and July, China's total imports and exports of services reached 2.65 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 10.6 percent, according to the ministry.
Service imports showed a similar uptrend. The country's imports of telecommunication, computer and information services surged by 74.2 percent to 71.8 billion yuan. The figure for intellectual property costs rose by 25.8 percent to 112.6 billion yuan.
Nation open to further free-trade deals
China takes a positive and open attitude toward reaching free-trade deals among BRICS countries, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.
So far, China has reached 15 free trade agreements with 23 countries and regions, according to Gao Feng, the ministry's spokesman.
Gao said China is making strenuous efforts to promote related negotiations and conducting joint feasibility studies, in order to further boost regional trade and investment.
"Economic and trade cooperation has always been an important pillar of BRICS relations. We are committed to strengthening economic integration in the area," he told a news conference.
Gao's comments underscored China's resolve to deepen comprehensive cooperation with other BRICS countries: Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa.
The nations are home to over two-fifths of the world's population, with their combined gross domestic product totaling more than $16 trillion.
During the recently concluded BRICS summit in Xiamen, China announced it would offer 500 million yuan ($76.4 million) for a BRICS-related economic and technology cooperation plan, and another $4 million for projects at the New Development Bank.
Meanwhile, the five nations agreed to further enhance cooperation in such fields as insurance and reinsurance, taxation reform, and customs.
A Chinese self-balancing vehicle maker that recently won a patent case launched by U.S. competitors told the Global Times on Wednesday that despite the victory, the company had sustained massive losses in business.
Hangzhou Chic Intelligent Technology Co said in a statement that the case cost the company "a huge amount of capital and personnel and seriously lowered the company's ability to invest in research and development and innovation."
The company was accused by U.S. company Razor USA LLC, which also makes self-balancing vehicles, and two other parties of copyright infringement over the technology in the vehicles, which are also known as hoverboards. The companies asked the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) to ban imports of hoverboards from China.
But the USITC on July 28 ruled in favor of the Chinese company, saying the commission did not find a violation of Section 337, under which the commission determines if there was unfair competition for the imports, and subsequently closed the investigation.
Though that's good news for the Chinese company, it's hardly a cause for celebration.
"Innovation is the core competitiveness of Chic, but in the past year, we had to postpone research and development of more products because of a capital shortage. This caused many potential losses for the company," Chic said in the statement sent to the Global Times on Wednesday evening.
Furthermore, the company still faces a separate case on copyright from another U.S. company, a decision on which is due in late October, according to the statement.
Chic's case in the U.S. has become a common situation for many Chinese companies that are seeking to tap into the market but which face legal and other issues, according to media reports.
The company did not disclose specific amount of cost for the lawsuit, but some domestic news outlets had said the lawsuit cost Chic upward of $1 million in legal fees and that the 337 Investigation had become a common pain for Chinese companies.
Chic on Wednesday also offered a suggestion for Chinese companies that face such cases. The company said that as many Chinese companies are expanding overseas, they need to make sure to register properly their copyrights and patents and if they face any unfair treatment, stand up and fight.
The number of China's patent operations stood at more than 170,000 in 2016, a year-on-year increase of nearly 20 percent, according to the latest data from the Patent Information Annual Conference of China 2017 held in Beijing from Sept. 5 to 6.
Patent operations include patent transfer, license and pledge.
Intellectual property (IP) is playing an increasingly important role in China's exchange with other countries in fields like economy, trade, science and technology, and culture, Shen Changyu, head of the State Intellectual Property Office, said at the opening ceremony.
"China will continue to boost international IP cooperation and facilitate the building of an inclusive, balanced and efficient international IP standard," Shen said.
From establishing its IP system in 1980s, China has become the country that has filed the most patent applications, said Yoshiyuki Takagi, assistant director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization.
China will step up reform to support innovation by removing barriers to entrepreneurship and innovation.
The decision was made at a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.
The meeting decided that the government will roll out a host of reform measures that have been tested in eight areas, including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Shanghai and the Pearl River Delta, since June 2016.
Among them: Eligible foreign students with academic backgrounds equal to or above the master's degree level would be able to apply for a work permit or a work-related residence permit. The one-stop application and issuance of work permits for foreign experts will also be made available nationwide.
The meeting also decided to test a program in the aforementioned eight areas that allows foreigners to apply for permanent residence if their income, tax payments and duration of work in China meet a certain standard.
Chinese leaders have stressed the importance of the innovation-driven development strategy on multiple occasions.
President Xi Jinping said systematic, comprehensive and coordinated reform should be tested with innovation-driven development as the target, innovation in science and technology at the core and the removal of systematic and institutional barriers as the main focus of the efforts.
Li called for major progress in systematic and institutional innovation, with focus on breaking the fragmentation in the allocation of innovation resources.
"We must give full play to the role of innovation in spurring entrepreneurship and employment, and speed up the transformation of innovation into real productivity," he said.
The meeting on Wednesday decided to enhance the support to the innovation of SMEs and micro enterprises with more targeted measures. One-stop investment and financing information service for small and medium-sized enterprises would be made available nationwide. That would include a pledge for patent rights associated with loans, insurance and risk compensation.
The protection of intellectual property rights will be taken to further heights, and measures will be promoted nationwide to better safeguard the legitimate rights of innovators and their legitimate earnings.
Such measures include one-stop service for patent examination, rights protection and verification. They also include innovation-oriented evaluation and incentive plans within State-owned enterprises, and flexible remuneration in colleges and research institutes to attract high-caliber and urgently needed talent.
"We need to create a good environment for innovation, which can also provide lasting support to the buoyant momentum of the economy. Innovation-driven development relies on adjustment in industry and product structure and the transformation of the development model," Li said.
Meeting participants also called for local offices of the State Administration of Taxation and local taxation bureaus to further integrate their resources and provide one-stop services.
Fu Rao, a patent engineer at Chinese home appliance maker Midea Group, has no time for cooking yet knows everything there is to know about kitchen ventilators and microwave ovens.
Standing in front of a wall of patent certificates, Fu said his job is to clear patent barriers from other companies to make sure Midea's kitchen products can reach the shelves of any market.
"Protection of intellectual property rights enables us to break through the patent wall built by our competitors and expand our own businesses," he said.
Starting as a rural production unit of just 23 members half a century ago, Midea has grown into a global home appliance giant with an annual revenue nearing 160 billion yuan (24 billion U.S. dollars).
Last year, after taking over German robotics firm Kuka and several arms of Japan's Toshiba, Midea announced plans to enter patent-intensive smart industries, including intelligent supply chains, automation, and heating ventilation air-conditioning.
Midea applied for more than 13,500 patents in China in 2016 alone, including 5,500 invention patents.
Sun Mingyan from the law department said the company had also stepped up international patent application.
"We will probably encounter major setbacks in global market if we can't protect our technological assets effectively or manage our intellectual property properly," Sun said.
He said Midea had invested 20 billion yuan in technology research and development from 2012 to 2016. The investment, patented technologies, 17 R&D centers across the world as well as over 10,000 technicians have become Midea's most important assets.
For instance, the core technologies of inverter microwave ovens had long been monopolized by Japanese companies, Fu said, but Midea made a major breakthrough in converter technology in 2016 after ten years of continuous investment.
"Concerning converter technologies, Midea has applied for 57 patents, including eight international ones. Midea is becoming a world leader in this field," Fu said.
Hao Chuanxin, director of a patent and trademark agency for multi-national Chinese companies, said quite a few high-tech start-ups in China had paid a lot of attention to building intellectual property from the very beginning.
Midea has a patent team of over 90 members, including 70 patent engineers. Each new product will go through at least four patent examinations before being put on the market.
"As Chinese companies gain progress in IPR protection, efforts to contain their expansion and development in overseas markets using patent and intellectual property barriers have proved futile," Hao said.
As an emerging business model in recent years, bike sharing is becoming a symbol of China's fast-developing sharing economy, representing its cutting-edge innovation and entrepreneurship, but industry experts have warned of potential intellectual property risks now that domestic operators are seeking to expand globally.
"Bike sharing, as well as many other new industries and business models, is a combination of IPs itself, and it cannot grow well without IP," Wang Bing, director of the IP law research center at Tsinghua University, told China Intellectual Property News.
Ofo, founded in Beijing in 2015, is one of China's earliest bike-sharing operators. It has expanded its business to seven foreign countries, including Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States, Thailand and Japan.
The company operates more than 8 million bicycles, clocking in more than 25 million rides a day, making it one of the world's largest bike-sharing networks.
It has applied for about 500 trademarks in China and abroad.
Ofo's competitor Mobike has applied for more than 140 patents and registered 180 trademarks in China and overseas. Its service covers more than 100 cities internationally.
Each Mobike vehicle is equipped with a Beidou-GPS-Glonass positioning chip. Big data, cloud computing and internet of things technologies have allowed for riding trends forecasting and smart parking management in the background managing system.
"The sharing economy features integration of capital and IP," Wang said, adding that IP is an attractive element for investors.
Ofo's direct investor is Didi Chuxing, which is funded by Tencent, Foxconn and Ant Financial. Tencent and Foxconn are also direct investors in Mobike. Ant Financial has also invested in another bike-sharing operator Youon.
Mobike CEO Wang Xiaofeng said there will be greater potential if the major players join hands.
Despite increasing their popularity, Chinese bike-sharing companies that have expanded into the overseas markets "generally have few international patent applications", said Cao Xinming, deputy director of the center for IP rights studies at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law. He called for IP deployment prior to market expansion.
"Competition is increasingly intense in both the Chinese and overseas markets, and the overseas markets have higher challenges in IP," he said.
There are already competitors in many overseas markets, including Citi Bike in the US, Velib in France and Docomo Bikeshare in Japan.
According to a report by ResearchInChina, an independent provider of Chinese business intelligence, there will be 61.7 million bike-share users in China this year, double the number last year. The report expects that number to hit 198 million by 2021.
The report said the industry's revenue will reach 8.86 billion yuan ($1.34 billion) this year and estimated it will reach about 29 billion yuan by 2021.
Amid such a huge market and increasing competition, companies should enhance their IP capacities, conduct research and analyze the IP map of their targeted markets, Cao said.
More than 500 delegates attended a forum on Tuesday in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, focusing on intellectual property commercialization and innovation in finance. Attendees included government officials, scholars and executives from companies, financial institutions and IP agencies.
Commercialization involves all the processes required to turn IPs - such as patents and copyrights - into products available for consumers, including licensing, transfers and industrialization.
"It is the only way to fully unleash the value of IP rights and it is the purpose of all IP work," said He Hua, deputy commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office.
He said that SIPO has made a series of attempts, including the establishment of IP commercialization and trading centers, as well as nurturing IP-intensive industries, to seek new IP operation models to realize higher value in the industry.
Besides the main public IP service platform based in Beijing, two pilot IP commercialization centers have been founded in Xi'an and Zhuhai, as part of the national IP operation network. The Xi'an, Shaanxi province, institution specializes in the integration of patents and technology from the civilian and military sectors. The one in Zhuhai focuses on innovative IP financing methods.
SIPO has also invested in 20 IP operation organizations nationwide and has supported four provinces in their efforts to launch patent-pledge loan risk funds, He said.
The value of patent-pledge loans in China totaled more than 2 billion yuan ($303.9 million) over the past five years, with an average annual increase of 33 percent.
Chen Hongbing, head of the World Intellectual Property Organization's China office, said China has made "remarkable achievements in IP after 30 years of development, and is becoming a strong IP powerhouse".
Chen said the Pearl River Delta - where Zhuhai is located - already has a strong foundation, with its advantageous geographical position in the center of the Hong Kong-Macao-Guangdong region. "Zhuhai's IP operation emphasizes innovative finance and international trade, aiming at the excavation of IP value."
Universities and research institutions are major generators of patents, but less than 10 percent of their patents have become products on the market, said Song Hefa, a researcher at the Institute of Policy and Management at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
He said some effective IP commercialization models include patent pools, patent auctions, and crowdfunding.
"China should strengthen IP operation analysis to identify the patents that are worth commercialization on the one hand, and find profitable operation models on the other hand," he said. "But ultimately, it depends on people - comprehensive IP operation personnel."
Nationwide campaign launches, aiming to tackle fraudulent goods, to support companies selling goods overseas
Customs authorities across China will start a three-month special campaign, code-named Longteng, on Friday to protect the intellectual property rights of exporting Chinese companies.
Enforcement will focus on small home appliances, electronics, engineering equipment, daily commodities and local specialties that are exported to Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and countries and regions related to the Belt and Road Initiative.
Yang Zongren, head of the policy and regulation department at the General Administration of Customs, said the operation will help to nurture those Chinese companies with IP advantages in their respective exported goods.
"Customs offices nationwide will concentrate their forces to strike the import and export companies that infringe IP rights, and will facilitate an environment of order and fair play for those companies seeking global development," he said at a recent meeting in Qingdao, Shandong province, briefing the campaign to about 150 local companies.
The General Administration of Customs listed 156 key companies in the campaign, which own well-known trademarks or core patents in their industries, or have self-developed products accounting for at least 10 percent of their total export volume.
The companies include high-tech giants, such as Huawei Technologies and ZTE, and those in traditional businesses, such as traditional Chinese medicine-maker Beijing Tongrentang Group and vinegar-maker Jiangsu Hengshun Group.
Among them, 28 are based in Shandong, accounting for 18 percent of the total number.
Customs offices will analyze those companies' import and export data to find elements of risk and to create solutions, Yang said.
Authorities in the Yangtze River and Pearl River deltas and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area will establish regional cooperation and quick response mechanisms.
Yang said that by carrying out the campaign they want to encourage the companies to resort to customs protection actively.
Chinese companies have so far registered 18,000 intellectual properties at the General Administration of Customs, accounting for 55 percent of total registrations.
Since 2013, China's customs authorities have seized nearly 110,000 batches of goods involving IP infringement in the foreign trade segment, including 6,721 batches in the first six months of this year. The total illegal value involved amounted to more than 1.5 billion yuan ($226 million).
More than 2,100 rights owners from 62 countries and regions have been protected, Yang said.
The Chinese and United States customs offices conducted a monthlong joint operation in April last year, focusing on consumer electronics, auto parts, food, drugs and sportswear via post delivery. It aimed to enhance the enforcement partnership between the two countries in an attempt at new cooperation models.
In November and December last year, the General Administration of Customs launched a campaign targeting exported self-balancing scooters. During the campaign, customs offices nationwide seized more than 12,000 IP rights-violating scooters in 28 batches, with a total value of nearly 13 million yuan.
Three intellectual property rights (IPR) courts have concluded the proceedings over 33,000 cases in the past three years, according to a report submitted to the top legislature Tuesday.
These cases include more than 8,000 concerning highly technical issues such as patents, new species of plants, layout designs of integrated circuits and computer software, according to the report from the Supreme People's Court.
Chief Justice Zhou Qiang presented the report to the ongoing bimonthly session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee. Top legislator Zhang Dejiang attended the session.
The three courts were established in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in late 2014 following a resolution from the NPC Standing Committee.
They have handled landmark cases including granting punitive damages to trademark infringements and covering applicants' counsel fees in the compensation.
The courts also employed 61 technology investigators to assist judges in 1,144 cases, said the report.
The report called for an appellate mechanism for IPR cases at the national level and more IPR courts.
China has become a nanotechnology powerhouse, according to a report released at the 7th International Conference on Nanoscience and Technology (ChinaNANO 2017) in Beijing on Tuesday.
China's applied nanoscience research and the industrialization of nanotechnology have been developing steadily, with the number of nano-related patent applications ranking among the top in the world, said the report.
The report was co-produced by Springer Nature, National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST), and the National Science Library of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
According to Bai Chunli, president of CAS, China faces new opportunities for nanoscience research and development as it builds the NCNST and globally influential national science centers.
"We will strengthen the strategic landscape and top-down design for developing nanoscience, which will contribute greatly to the country's economy and society," said Bai.
Nanoscience is the study of the interaction, composition, properties and manufacturing methods of materials at the nanometer scale.
The science encourages integration of many disciplines and has a direct impact on daily work and life because it leads to the discovery of advanced technology.
In 1997, around 13,000 nanoscience-related papers were published worldwide. By 2016, the number had risen to more than 154,000, the report said.
Over the same period, the number of papers related to nanoscience from China grew from 820 in 1997 to over 52,000 in 2016.
Since 2007, the average compound annual growth rate of China's most cited nanoscience papers was 22 percent -- three times the global rate, the report stated.
In terms of the number of nano-related patent applications, China has reached 209,344 over the past 20 years, accounting for 45 percent of the world's total.
In 2003, CAS and the Ministry of Education co-established the NCNST. Key to the NCNST's success has been the involvement of three of China's top research institutions -- Tsinghua University, Peking University and CAS, said Liu Minghua, director of the NCNST.
Liu said that thanks to robust funding, a growing number of Chinese scientists have been attracted to research of nanomaterials. Additionally, more foreign-trained Chinese researchers have returned to China under favorable policies.
Energy nanotechnology and catalytic nanomaterials are the top two fields in which China has made remarkable achievements.
Faced with mounting public pressure to tackle deteriorating environmental problems, China is putting great effort into the research and development of new energy, as well as efficient energy and environmental protection technology.
This has made energy nanotechnology a promising area, leading Chinese researchers to research batteries and energy storage and conversion, Liu said.
Catalytic nanomaterials research is considered China's most promising area of nanoscience. Nanostructure-based catalysts can speed up chemical reactions and could be useful in chemical industries and oil refining, experts said.
Bai said both challenges and opportunities await China. More breakthroughs in basic nanoscience research need to be made, and the gap between basic research and application should be closed.
CAS will foster more young scientists who can innovate, accelerate the building of value chains, and foster broad and efficient international collaboration, Bai said.
"Through our joint efforts, we expect to apply nanotechnology to various sectors that will benefit the people and help China to be a global leader in science and technology," Bai said.
Beijing aims to strengthen the software sector as a key pillar of the city's industry, according to local officials, as it leads the capital's system of advanced industries.
Last year, the software and information service sector's operating revenue reached 728.76 billion yuan ($109.23 billion), a year-on-year rise of 10.2 percent. The operating revenue of each company on average was 260 million yuan in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 13.6 percent.
During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20), Beijing made the sector a strategic engine for the digitization and informatization of its economic and social development. The city will focus on quality improvements and increasing efficiency in the industry, in striving to become an internationally influential software innovation city.
Beijing abounds in software products and technological innovation. Software copyright registrations in the city reached 82,490 in 2016, up 27.8 percent year-on-year and accounting for 20.2 percent of the national total.
Patent applications in Beijing's software and information services sector amounted to 17,499 in 2016, up 30 percent compared to the previous year. By 2016, the sector's valid invention patents had reached 17,784.
The city is home to many leading and up-and-coming companies in the sector. Ten Beijing companies were included in the 2016 Deloitte Technology Fast 50 China report, nine of which were from the software and information services industry.
There are eight national-level enterprise technology centers in the sector in Beijing and 159 city-level centers. Companies' internal expenditure for scientific research totaled 68.65 billion yuan last year, a year-on-year increase of 29.2 percent.
Nationwide equity investment in Beijing's software sector amounted to 80.23 billion yuan last year, up 56 percent compared to 2015. About 54 percent of that investment went to regions outside Beijing.
Beijing's software sector also promotes collaborative innovation in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and assists in wider national innovation efforts, local officials in Beijing said.
Software and information service enterprises in Beijing have expedited their expansion in nearby Tianjin and Hebei province, since the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei collaborative development became a national strategy in 2014.
From 2014 to 2016, 470 such companies from Beijing set up 1,120 branch organizations in Tianjin and Hebei. The organizations are mainly based in the Binhai New Area in Tianjin and cities in Hebei such as Shijiazhuang and Qinhuangdao.
Collaboration related to software among Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei has expanded in recent years and achievements can especially be seen in cloud computing, big data and the Beidou Navigation Satellite System, insiders said.
Beijing and Hebei are cooperating in building a cloud-computing center in Zhangbei county in Hebei. The center plans to have 1.5 million servers in its data center and house at least 200 enterprises by the end of 2020.
The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei big data comprehensive experimental zone began construction on Dec 22, 2016.
China's Ministry of Commerce has worked with other departments to draft a document on protecting the intellectual property rights (IPRs) of foreign companies in China, an official said Friday.
The document will intensify the crackdown on malicious trademark registration, online IPR infringement and stealing business secrets, deputy minister of commerce Wang Shouwen said at a press conference.
"China has attached great importance to IPR protection and seen visible results," Wang said.
IPR spending to overseas owners rose to 24 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 from 1.94 billion dollars in 2001, an annualized increase of about 18 percent. In the first half of this year, the amount rose 23 percent year on year to 14.3 billion dollars.
"China's IPR protection has brought huge benefits to foreign IPR holders," Wang said.
The country will improve IPR protection for foreign companies by launching campaigns against violations and stepping up judicial and administrative protection, according to a guideline on ensuring foreign investment growth released last week by the State Council.
China's many industries and fields use a well-developed ecosystem to embrace the new technology
Medical, automotive, machinery, consumer electronics, aviation, toys, home decor, even art - it appears there is no industry, sector or field of human endeavor in China that has not been touched by revolutionary 3-D printing technology.
Three-dimensional printing technology has helped create things like clothing, houses, sculpture, tumor models, machine parts and even drones.
Take, for instance, a patient who underwent brain surgery in Beijing recently.
The operation was unconventional, and almost like science fiction. Yet, it was real as well as successful.
In the end, the patient's brain was covered with ReDura, a 3-D-printed membrane, by experts at Peking University Third Hospital.
ReDura is a product of Medprin Regenerative Medical Technologies Co, a Guangzhou-based 3-D bioprinting company.
Yuan Yuyu, chairman of Medprin, says: "Brain surgery incisions used to be covered with membrane made up of animal-sourced materials, which exposes patients to risks of disease transmission.
"It also takes a long time for these animal tissues to be fully integrated into patients' own tissues, which prolongs suffering," he said.
ReDura, which is created using 3-D printers, is made up of biodegradable material.
Suffice it to say that it's magical, amazing and wonderful enough to be a worthy replacement for previous versions of the membrane.
No wonder ReDura has received the approval of the China Food and Drug Administration and gained acceptance in the European Union.
But ReDura is just the tip of the 3-D printing iceberg.
Chinese companies have made rapid advances in 3-D printing technology, whose formal name is additive layer manufacturing.
Progress spans both fundamental research and manufacturing techniques. Different from traditional manufacturing, which is based on the removal of material by cutting and drilling, 3-D printing creates objects by consistently laying down materials, such as wax, metal or polyurethane, based on virtual blueprints from computer-aided designs.
One impressive example in the aviation sector is the C919, China's first large passenger jetliner, which has 3D-printed components that help reduce its weight and shorten the delivery schedule. The plane made its debut flight earlier this year.
Wang Peng, secretary-general of the Additive Manufacturing Alliance of China, says that after years of development, 3-D printing is entering a new phase in China, from an innovative concept to something quite helpful in upgrading manufacturing plants, hospitals and even classrooms.
"3-D printing is booming. We have cultivated a relatively good industrial system, with manufacturing techniques close to, or on a par with, leading foreign countries. The sector is leaping from laboratory research into industrial applications," Wang says.
Last year, the output value of China's 3-D printing industry hit nearly 8 billion yuan ($1.2 billion; 1 billion euros; ￡931 million), up by 87.5 percent year-on-year and highlighting the strong momentum, according to date from the Additive Manufacturing Alliance of China.
Beijing, Shanghai and Shaanxi, Guangdong and Hubei provinces have formed a 3-D industry chain, in terms of geography, that covers product design, materials, key components, equipment and applications. Shaanxi province has applied for more than 1,000 patents related to 3-D printing.
"The technology represents the future direction of intelligent manufacturing, as it combines the advantages of large-scale production with personalized manufacturing. It is highly efficient and cost-effective," says Zuo Shiquan, a manufacturing expert at the Beijing-based China Center for Information Industry Development, a research institute affiliated with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
China's 3-D printing industry is expected to reach $7.68 billion in output value, or one-third of the global market, by 2020, according to a forecast by the China Industry Information Institute.
The ministry is drafting a 2017-20 plan to accelerate the development of 3-D printing. It established the National Innovation Center by forging extensive partnerships between universities and companies. The idea is to help address technological bottlenecks that impede commercial applications.
Not surprisingly, companies such as Shining 3D Tech Co, a Hangzhou-based 3-D printing specialist, are optimistic about the sector.
Shining has already provided 3-D printing and scanning services to over 10,000 customers worldwide. Its clients include global corporate icons such as Intel Corp, Robert Bosch and Adidas.
Huang Xianqing, senior vice-president of Shining 3D, said 3-D printing can meet consumers' growing demand for environmentally friendly and personalized products.
The company has successfully applied its techniques to manufacture exhaust pipes for Ford cars. Different from traditional exhaust pipes, whose simple design can lead to bad air flow and huge power loss, the company's 3-D-printed pipes weigh 67 percent less. They can also help save energy.
Earlier this year, Shining partnered with US tech company Hewlett-Packard Inc to offer better 3-D printing services. The two sides will deploy hardware and software in 50 locations across China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Nanjing.
It's not just high-tech or top-end segments that are embracing 3-D printing. In Beijing's suburban Huairou district, Chinese engineers in an economic and development park are scrambling to make 3-D printers that can produce household items.
The engineers are employed by about 300 companies in the zone, among which is Beijing Tiertime Technology Co, China's first exporter of 3-D printers.
Tiertime Tech sells tens of thousands of 3-D printers to more than 40 countries every year. Its 150-plus employees print products ranging from toys and cartoon figures to mobile phone shells and home decor.
Luo Jun, secretary of the World 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance, says China needs to step up research and development on the "ink" for 3D printers (that is, material with stable qualities).
China is steadily progressing in its overall ability to innovate, a report released last Friday by the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development showed.
The nation overtook Belgium to rank No 17 among 40 countries in the national innovation index report 2016-17, moving one place up from last year's ranking.
The top five countries on the index are the United States, Japan, Switzerland, South Korea and Denmark. China is the only developing country among the top 20.
Wu Yishan, vice-president at the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development, said the national innovation index is an important indicator reflecting the nation's comprehensive innovation capability.
The report said China's research and development expenditure hit $227.54 billion in 2015, remaining the world's second-highest spender and accounting for 15.6 percent of the global total. This proportion stood at only 1.7 percent in 2000.
The number of China's R&D personnel accounted for 31.1 percent of the world's total in this year's report, ranking No 1 for nine consecutive years since 2007.
Wu said the 40 countries in the index altogether contributed 95 percent of the world's total R&D expenditure.
The country's Science Citation Index papers amounted to 281,000, accounting for 14.4 percent of the global total. More than 263,000 invention patents have been granted, surpassing Japan for the first time and ranking No 1 globally, according to the report.
The report's analysis showed the 40 countries in the index fall into three groups. The top 15 countries on the comprehensive index belong to the first group, mainly European and North American developed economies, commonly known as innovative countries.
The second group, ranking from No 16 to 30, are other developed countries and a few emerging economies, where China is in a leading position.
Among the 10 emerging economies evaluated, only China's ranking moved up compared with last year's results. Russia dropped one place, while another eight countries maintained the same rankings.
Among the five sub-indices constituting the national innovation index, China's knowledge creation marched four places ahead and its corporate innovation ranking moved up one place. Its rankings for innovation resources, performance and environment were all one place lower than last year's results.
The innovation environment survey suggested China's innovation market environment has been affected amid the wider context of a downturn in economic growth, but the Chinese government is still in a leading position globally in terms of support given to innovation, said Xuan Zhaohui, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development.
Lincoln marque owner objects to similar-sounding Lynk & Co's launch in home market
Chinese conglomerate Geely Holding has hit a speed bump on its way into the United States, as Ford Motor has challenged the trademark application for its new car brand Lynk & Co.
Lynk & Co's first car, a compact SUV, is set to hit the Chinese market later this year and was scheduled to reach the United States around 2018.
Alain Visser, senior vice-president of the new brand, expected the U.S. market to generate some 20 percent of Lynk & Co's annual global sales, which he estimated will reach 500,000 vehicles around 2020.
As Geely applied for a trademark in this major target market, however, Ford argued that Lynk & Co sounds too similar to its premium arm Lincoln and may confuse its customers, according to the U.S.-based website Automotive News.
Ford was granted an extension earlier this month by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to formally oppose the trademark. It has to file its opposition by Nov 15.
"The Lincoln brand has a rich 100-year history and we intend to protect its reputation," Automotive News quoted a Ford representative as saying.
"Lynk & Co is infringing on the Lincoln trademark and we are taking legal actions to prevent them from using their infringing mark. Their name as it stands will confuse customers."
Song Zhaoheng, a spokesman at Geely Holding, told China Daily on Thursday that the automaker is confident in gaining the trademark in the U.S..
"I don't think the application will encounter big trouble. It is currently going smoothly," said Song, adding that the automaker is very likely to acquire the trademark, through either the normal legal process or consultations with Ford.
Lincoln China did not immediately answer a call for comment on the possibility of any consultation.
Gui Shengyue, executive director of Geely Auto, told Chinese reporters that Geely and Ford have good relations.
It was from Ford that Geely bought Volvo Cars, which is sharing technology with Geely Auto and Lynk & Co.
An Conghui, CEO of Geely Auto, a shareholder of Lynk & Co, said at a news conference in early August that Lynk & Co cars are to rival those from mainstream international brands, such as Volkswagen, GM, Ford and Toyota, while Volvo is to compete in the same segment as Lincoln.
As such, the products themselves are not to compete with each other directly.
Featuring Volvo technology, Lynk& Co models will be initially made in the group's Luqiao plant, which is the same plant Volvo will use to produce its XC40 for the local market.
Besides, Volvo－which now holds 30 percent of Lynk & Co's equity－will give a hand in the overseas markets in other aspects, including its sales and after-sales channels, according to An.
The Swedish marque is also helping to boost the design and quality of the new generation of Geely-branded cars, whose sales from January to July surged nearly 90 percent year-on-year to 621,731 vehicles.
Geely has scaled up its whole-year sales goal to 1.1 million vehicles.
In the first half of the year, the Hong Kong-listed carmaker posted operating revenue of 39.4 billion yuan ($5.9 billion), up 118 percent year-on-year.
A number of Israeli patents and national innovation technology projects will settle in Futian district of Shenzhen, Guangdong province, according to a memorandum of understanding signed on July 12 between the Futian district government and Yissum Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The two parties also agreed to build a Sino-Israeli Global Innovation Center in Futian to support Shenzhen's technology development.
Futian district promised to provide preferential policies such as allocating government guidance funds to the innovation center, while the Israeli side will introduce patented technologies and development programs to Futian district, including seed funds and incubators of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, parts of the technological patents of Tel Aviv University and Israeli national innovation technology programs.
At the signing ceremony, Gao Shengyuan, head of the Futian government, said that Israel has obvious strengths in innovative technology while Futian enjoys unique advantages in preferential policies, industrial space, incubation resources and a comprehensive environment for enterprises. The cooperation will help Futian become a center for turning international innovation into industrial products.
Itamar Borowitz, a representative from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said: "We come to Futian because of the expectation of a bright future.
"We are very happy to share our knowledge and innovation results with Futian district to help turn them into a reality," he added.
Chinese bike-sharing giant Mobike testified in a Shanghai court on Wednesday that its technical process for unlocking the shared bikes is different from the invention of an auto parts technician surnamed Hu, who sued the company for patent infringement.
"The unlocking process of Mobike－which involves the Mobike App on users' smartphones, a cloud server and a lock controller on each bike that are all connected via wireless signal－is more complicated than the patent Hu holds," She Yifeng, attorney for the defendant Mobike (Beijing) Information Technology Co, said at the Shanghai No 3 Intermediate People's Court.
Hu said he submitted a patent application for his invention of an operating method to unlock bicycles to the State Intellectual Property Office in June 2013 and was granted a patent in May 2016.
Hu said that his invention also involved users' smartphones and the vehicles.
"When a user scans a QR code with a smartphone to unlock a bicycle, a system will compare the image to the one stored in its system to determine if they are identical. If yes, it will signal the controller to unlock the bicycle," he said.
He said he believed the lock-control system in use by Mobike carries the same technical characteristics of his patent. He requested the court to order the company to stop manufacturing shared bikes with the system, destroy all locks on its bicycles and pay compensation of 500,000 yuan ($75,000).
Mobike's attorney, She, said the first step of the unlocking process is when a user scans a QR code on a bike with a smartphone and an unlock request is sent to the cloud server.
"The request includes the user's data and the information about this specific bike. After receiving the request, the cloud server will first check if the user is qualified. The process will stop for any user with a substandard credit record or who doesn't have enough money in the prepaid account," She said.
The cloud server, having found the user qualified to ride the bike, will send a signal to the lock controller on the bike, which will then check if the bike is in good enough condition to be used, said She, from Shanghai Fangda Law Firm.
"Bikes that are reported by users to have broken down will not be unlocked," he said.
A verdict is pending.
Yin Xu, a 22-year-old man from Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, invented an "epilepsy alarm" for his grandmother before leaving home for an internship.
Yin majors in clinical medicine at Kangda College of Nanjing Medical University. According to thepaper.cn, for as long as he could remember, his grandmother had suffered from epilepsy, and her seizures have happened on average once a month, often around midnight.
Epilepsy seizures can occur with convulsions, loss of consciousness, urine and feces incontinence, even cardiac arrests or deaths.
Therefore, prompt detection of epilepsy seizure is of crucial importance.
Yin spent an entire night sleepless when his grandma's epilepsy hit during this past Spring Festival. He became worried that a seizure could come when he's not with his grandma. After not finding a monitoring device for the disease on the Internet, Yin decided to make one himself.
Yin started by tackling the symptom of "gritting teeth," developing a brace with elastic silicon materials, which reduce the damage to teeth and the risk of tongue biting.
"If an epilepsy seizure occurs, gritting teeth will form a closed circuit, and the device will raise an alarm reminding families to act in time," said Yin.
From April to June, Yin, along with his team, made full use of his spare time to complete the "epilepsy alarm." With a cost of less than 500 yuan, the device works quite well. In order to avoid mistaking occasional gritting as seizures, the team set the alarm to sound after detecting eight seconds of gritting.
Further improvements have been made to develop a mobile app connecting the device via Bluetooth. The app can record and store medical information for patients, such as seizure time and duration, so as to provide doctors with a medical history. Meanwhile, family members can read treatment guidance on the app.
The device has already been granted a national patent, yet it has yet to be sent to Yin's grandmother.
"It should have a nicer look, and the circuit can be more optimized," said Yin as he hopes to receive some advice from experts.
Some manufacturers have expressed the intention to put the "epilepsy alarm" into pilot production, and Yin hopes that more epileptics like his grandmother can use the device.
Chinese experts appealed for more efforts in intellectual property rights (IPR) protection for online images at a workshop in Beijing.
Experts in IPR protection and visual content suggested improvement in legal protection, establishing industry norms and more public awareness.
The workshop, hosted by the Copyright Society of China, was the first one to discuss copyright infringement of online images in China.
Online pictures are often "stolen" on popular services such as WeChat and Weibo, and those who post the images usually do not know they are violating IPR protection rules, said the experts.
"Public awareness of IPR protection is most important for copyright protection for online images," said Wang Ziqiang, an official from the Copyright Society of China.
Infringement is not just committed by individual users but also online organizations, including news providers and big companies.
According to Yang Dejia, a judge from the Beijing Haidian District People's Court, the district-level court tried more than 2,800 cases related to online image copyright infringement in the first seven months of 2017.
It is necessary to update the current IPR law and regulations to meet the new demands of today's digital world, said Lin Qiang, an official from the Images Copyright Society of China.
Chai Jijun, founder of Visual China Group, suggested a communication and cooperation plan with large Chinese Internet companies to protect online image copyright.
As the first to achieve quantum key distribution from a satellite to the ground, China is confident in making more scientific and technological breakthroughs.
The achievement, based on experiments conducted with the world's first quantum satellite -- Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS), lays a foundation for building a hack-proof global quantum communication network.
QUESS, nicknamed "Micius" after a fifth century B.C. Chinese philosopher and scientist, was launched on Aug. 16, 2016.
Published in Nature magazine, the achievement was described by reviewers as "impressive" and "constitutes a milestone in the field."
Traditional public key cryptography has the risk of being hacked, while quantum key technology, used in quantum communication, rules out the possibility of wiretapping and secures the communication.
Over the past two years, in addition to QUESS, China has also launched a series of space science satellites, including the Dark Matter Particle Explorer, the recoverable satellite SJ-10, and the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope.
Since the start of this year, Chinese have been inspired by landmark achievements in science and technology which contribute to an easier life.
A new railway line, linking Baoji in northwest China's Shaanxi Province with Lanzhou, capital of neighboring Gansu Province, began operation in early July.
The route was a result of China's continuous efforts to improve the construction of high-speed railways, enabling the western provinces to be connected to the national high-speed rail network.
It is also part of China's efforts to boost connectivity along the Belt and Road, where transportation demand is high.
Also in early July, China made breakthroughs in the search for alternative clean energy sources by completing a 60-day trial of mining gas hydrates, commonly known as combustible ice, in the South China Sea.
Starting on May 10, a mining operation in waters near the Pearl River estuary has beaten previous expectations and set world records in both the length and total amount of extraction, according to China Geological Survey Bureau.
China has set innovation as the core of its 13th five-year plan (2016-2020), with the aim to become an "innovation nation" by 2020, an international leader in innovation by 2030, and a world powerhouse in scientific and technological innovation by 2050.
Such efforts will help the country improve the convenience of transport, raise living standards, resolve energy resource shortages, and boost economic development.
Inspired by their country, the Chinese public have also stepped up efforts in scientific and technological innovation.
In 2016, China had over 1.1 million patents for inventions, ranking third after the United States and Japan.
Alibaba unveiled a quick-response platform on Thursday for handling reports of counterfeit goods, aiming to boost the protection of intellectual property rights.
Complaints about knockoffs from copyright and patent holders that are filed through the e-commerce company's new online express channel will be handled within 24 hours, instead of three or four days, as was normal before.
"We've streamlined our work system and improved efficiency," said Zheng Junfang, chief platform governance officer. "What we want is to provide better services for protecting IP rights more quickly for the rights holders."
During a one-month pilot program that began in June, 96 percent of complaints about fake products received a response within a day. Of those, 83 percent of the links to fake products were deleted, according to Alibaba.
Rights holders can register accounts on the platform free and submit reports of fake products found on the company's online shopping sites, including Tmall and Taobao, Zheng said. She added that her team will quickly give feedback after a big-data analysis.
"All the services are available not only in Chinese and English, but also in French, Russian and Spanish," she said.
Zhang Lin, manager of the China branch of the German Association of the Automotive Industry, applauded the company's attitude to protect intellectual property.
"Alibaba's quick-response platform helps us find information about fake product sellers or producers in a timely manner, and provides clues to police officers, which can protect our brand and reduce our economic losses," he said.
But Xie Huijia, an associate professor specializing in IPR protection at South China University of Technology, said it is not enough only to accelerate the handling of fake product claims: "More important is how accurate the fight is."
"To delete links of online shops selling fake products, the company has to compare the goods provided by sellers and the brand owners, but I don't think it's easy to verify whether the IP rights were infringed or not," he said. "Even courts often need several months to identify infringement."
Alibaba has taken action against counterfeits over the past two years. In June it said that it has used big-data technology to help it detect more than 61,000 individuals or groups suspected of operating shops that sell fake goods on Taobao.
It has also detected 1,640 factories that produce counterfeit goods and supply them to online dealers.
Legal professionals from China and countries participating in the initiative are establishing a mechanism to counter a growing problem that could become an obstacle to development, as Zhang Yan reports.
In recent years, China's rapid economic development and growing international role have seen a large number of Chinese enterprises expanding overseas or planning to invest in countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.
However, the Ministry of Justice said the process of "going global" has seen a sharp rise in the number of cross-border legal disputes and cases of arbitration involving Chinese businesses.
Meanwhile, many Chinese investments in countries that have embraced the initiative have failed as a result of differences in legal procedures and national cultures.
Faced with the growing number of cross-border lawsuits, Chinese lawyers and their counterparts in 65 countries participating in the initiative have compiled guides of foreign laws, with the aim of providing legal support for businesses and reducing the risks they face when investing overseas, according to Wang Junfeng, chairman of the All China Lawyers Association.
"Legal services are important for safeguarding Belt and Road projects, and a proper legal system is crucial for forging ahead with projects such as transnational investment and building strategic maritime channels," he said.
In 2013, President Xi Jinping proposed the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, known together as the Belt and Road Initiative.
As an active exploration of a new model of international cooperation and global governance, the initiative embodies development, cooperation and mutual benefit.
According to Xiong Xuanguo, vice-minister of justice, since 2013, the trade volume between China and participating countries has increased greatly, but legal services have "lagged far behind the practical needs required for social and economic development".
Statistics from the Ministry of Commerce show that last year, the total import and export volume between China and the 65 participating countries reached 6.3 billion yuan ($940 million), while Chinese investment in those countries was $14.5 billion.
Chinese businesses also established 56 economic and trade cooperation zones in more than 20 participating countries, with a total investment value of more than $18.5 billion. That generated $1.1 billion in tax revenues and created about 180,000 new jobs in participating countries.
He Yong, secretary-general of the lawyer's association, said cooperation between Chinese lawyers and their foreign counterparts will "offer professional legal support, including dealing with lawsuits and offering legal advice to their clients, and boost trade and promote international economic and cultural exchanges".
According to the Ministry of Justice, a typical example occurred in March last year, although it declined to name the parties involved.
The ministry said a State-owned company which makes safety and monitoring equipment in Beijing signed an investment agreement related to research and development with a technology company in Israel.
The Israeli company claimed to have bought the rights to a mature technology and had also obtained a patent license granted by local authorities.
The Chinese side hired the Beijing Globe-Law Law Firm to conduct a survey of the Israeli company to ensure its authenticity, the application of the technology and its ownership rights in the Chinese market.
"We sought assistance from our counterparts at leading Israeli law firms who specialize in intellectual property protection and are familiar with Israeli law and legal procedures. They were able to collect information or connect with relevant local authorities to offer valuable information," said Wang Zhengzhi, a senior partner at Beijing Globe-Law.
The Israeli lawyers discovered that the company had not obtained patents issued by Israel's intellectual property protection authorities, and its technology was not as mature as claimed.
Last month, concerned that it might face risks if it invested in the technology, the Chinese company consulted lawyers. As a result, it decided to revise the agreement and invest in several stages, based on the project's technological research and development.
"Professional legal support will play an essential role in helping businesses to take the initiative in negotiations and make the correct business decisions and then maximize their commercial interests," Wang Zhengzhi said.
According to Jiang Junlu, deputy director of the lawyers' association's international commission, last month, lawyers from top-tier law firms in China and participating countries compiled two books containing practical guidance on laws related to foreign investment.
Jiang said the advice included in the books covers laws related to investment, trade, labor, environmental conservation, intellectual property and dispute resolution.
The first volume, which focuses on investment laws in 43 countries, including Myanmar, the Philippines and Russia, has already been published. The second, related to the remaining 22 countries, will be published at the end of the year.
"This guidance will enable Chinese politicians, businesspeople and experts to fully understand the legal systems and environments involved in the initiative and provide legal support for Chinese businesses to ensure they have safe, smooth investments abroad," Jiang said.
Khamsay Soulinthone, chairman of the Laos Bar Association, said: "The idea of the Belt and Road Initiative put forward by China is very creative and considered revolutionary. Although lawyers in different countries face different challenges, they all work for global equality and justice. It's the right time to set up a regional lawyers' cooperation organization."
Although cooperation between China and countries participating in the initiative has made great progress, the lawyers' association still faces practical challenges in expanding legal cooperation.
Shen Lin, a senior official at the department of directing lawyers and notarization at the Ministry of Justice, said most participants are underdeveloped economies with unsound legal environments, and they are in urgent need of financial and technical support from China.
"In the past few years, failures in foreign investments involving Chinese businesses have risen, and it's essential to boost cooperation with legal professionals in participating countries to improve professional legal services to help Chinese investors," she said.
According to He, of the lawyers' association, to improve cooperation the association has established a database containing the details of 86 Chinese lawyers and 121 foreign lawyers from top-tier firms, who will "use the platform to analyze the laws and share information and experience to better serve Belt and Road projects".
His comments were echoed by legal professionals in participating countries.
Prashant Kumar, chairman of the Bar Association of India, said: "The Belt and Road Initiative is considered a historic moment and opportunity. It has built a communication bridge for lawyers from China and relevant countries to handle legal disputes and set an example to resolve problems between nations in the future.
"Although we have differences in laws, culture and environment, I believe our lawyers will join with their Chinese counterparts to unite consensus and create values together."
According to Jiang, the lawyers' association will set up representative offices in participating countries and regions to build joint operating relationships and business alliances with foreign counterparts.
In addition, the association will establish an annual forum with its foreign peers to discuss concerns and exchange views on international legal services during the promotion of projects related to the initiative, including infrastructure construction, international trade and shipping finance.
"The publication of this guidance is timely for businesspeople in all relevant countries, and it's crucial for Chinese investment in foreign countries," said Maria Slazak of the National Council of Legal Advisers in Poland.
"The Belt and Road Initiative is an opportunity for cooperation, including sharing information and the mutual exchange of needed products, which will help Chinese lawyers to go global," she said.
The U.S. government's threat to investigate China's trade practices is by no means wise, as such a move based on trade protectionism would hurt its own businesses and international image, experts said on Monday.
The administration of President Donald Trump has been mulling to ask the Trade Representative's Office to open an investigation into China's trade practices under the obsolete 1974 Trade Act's Section 301, which enables unilateral U.S. imposition of tariffs on trade partners.
TRADE NOT A ZERO-SUM GAME
Trump and his team attributed the economic slowdown and job losses to trade deficits, which are expected to be reduced by imposing tariffs and other non-tariff trade barriers when necessary, as the administration has promised.
Under the "America First" policy, the United States will also rethink alliances, shifting its focus from multilateral trade pacts to bilateral cooperation to ensure the protection of "American interests."
Many economists and foreign policy experts saw the trade protectionism and anti-globalization tendency in the current U.S. government and rejected the idea that trade is a zero-sum game.
Liu Zhenmin, U.N. under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs, said economic globalization is an irreversible trend, with the establishment of international division of labor and the growing volume of international trade.
"Countries that question economic globalization can hardly escape this process," Liu told Xinhua in a recent interview.
As for China-U.S. trade relations, Stephen A. Orlins, president of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, said that bilateral trade deficits are not really meaningful.
Orlins, who has been doing business with China for more than three decades, said that the United States used to have trade deficits with Japan, South Korea and countries in Southeast Asia.
"What happened over these years is that a lot of the semi-finished goods would go to China (for China to export), so what's happened is the trade deficit we used to have with those other countries has been transferred to China," said Orlins.
"Now that is not China's fault and we should not blame China for that," he added.
Many experts voiced concerns on the U.S. government's plan to adopt Section 301, a trade tool used before World Trade Organization (WTO) came into existence, which allows Washington to unilaterally impose tariffs on another country.
In general, trade disputes among WTO members should be resolved through the WTO mechanism rather than a state's domestic law.
"Even if China has problems with intellectual property rights, the use of Section 301 to punish China will make people think that the United States puts its domestic rules above international law, which will further tarnish the country's international image under President Trump," said Zhiqun Zhu, professor of Political Science and International Relations Bucknell University in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. [ Zhu added that if the U.S. slaps unilateral sanctions, China will certainly react in tit-for-tat retaliation. In the end, consumers and businesses in both countries will suffer.
"In an age of globalization and interdependence, it is hard to believe that some people still think economic sanctions will solve trade problems," said Zhu, emphasizing that it would be a lose-lose option.
FIRM HAND ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
Chinese companies involved in international trade pointed out that the Chinese government has paid high attention to protecting intellectual property and has implemented regulations as strict as those of the United States.
In 2015, China started a three-year campaign to protect the image of "Made-in-China" products internationally.
By April of this year, more than 43,000 batches of goods suspected of intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement had been seized during the campaign, involving more than 81 million individual items, according to China's General Administration of Customs.
The country has also taken an active part in IPR-related affairs under multilateral frameworks, including the World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Customs Organization.
"Honestly I don't think China would single out the U.S. companies to violate their intellectual property rights. It's simply too costly," said an automotive industry source who declined to be named because the White House has not made a public announcement yet.
The White House initially planned to announce last week the launch of the investigation, but postponed the schedule. The announcement might come out on Wednesday, according to U.S. media.
He added that the Chinese government has attached great importance to this issue, because Chinese companies should learn to respect rules and the spirit of contract in order to do businesses in global markets.
"To be fair, the country has made great improvement in the past three decades," he said.
Innovation appears to be paying off for BOE Technology Group as it rolls out high-tech AMOLED screens
Editor's Note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. In a birthday tribute, China Daily takes a far-reaching look at the region's industries and how they have helped generate growth.
Smartphones are translating into smart profits for BOE Technology Group Co Ltd.
The company is a leading supplier in semiconductor display products, and has its headquarters in Beijing and a manufacturing base in Ordos, North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region.
In the first half of this year, BOE expects profits to reach at least 4.2 billion yuan ($624 million), an increase of 900 percent compared with the same period in 2016.
"For two consecutive years, we have ranked No 1 globally in terms of patent application numbers in the field of semiconductor displays," Wang Dongsheng, chairman at BOE, said in a major speech last year.
"Displays are the hardware interfaces of IoT (internet of things) systems and thin-film sensors are their core data-collection devices," he added. "We will dedicate ourselves to technological innovation and the exploration of applications in these areas."
With cutting-edge technology at the heart of BOE's business, the majority of the group's production lines have operated at full capacity.
Crucial to this for the internet of things, company has been the manufacturing of smartphone display panels and, in particular, the 5.5-generation LTPSLCD/AMOLED products.
This is a low temperature polysilicon liquid crystal display and active matrix organic light emitting diode unit.
The LTPSLCD/AMOLED plants churn out flexible screens for high-end smartphones, tablets and wearables. Extremely pliable with sharp colors, the display units are transforming the mobile sector.
For BOE, the decision to invest 22 billion yuan on a line which can produce 8 million smartphone screens a month has paid off.
Launched in 2013, the production facility in Ordos was the first of its kind in China. It was also only the second such facility in the world to manufacture up-to-date small and medium-sized LTPS and AMOLED products, according to the company.
Ordos Yuansheng Optoelectronics Co Ltd, a subsidiary of BOE, runs the operation in Inner Mongolia, and its clients include major global and domestic smartphone makers.
According to market data, BOE's global market share of TFTLCD panels for mobile phone, tablet and notebook ranked No 1 in the first half of this year, and that of its panels for monitors and TVs were No 2.
In 2016, BOE's yearly new-patent applications amounted to 7,570, 80% of which are invention patents. In the first half of 2017, BOE's new-patent applications exceeded 4,000. In total, BOE has over 55,000 usable patents, ranking among the top of the industry.
BOE production lines and manufacturing factories run with a highly-automated smart operation system. At present, BOE has 11 production lines (two under construction), including the world's biggest production line in Hefei, capital of East China's Anhui province, and two 6th generation flexible AMOLED production lines in Chengdu and Mianyang in Southwest China's Sichuan province.
This is part of the company's commitment to innovation, and the nation's industrial strategy to move from "Made in China" to "Created in China".
China's economy has been optimized in both growth and structure guided by the five development concepts of innovation, coordination, greening, opening up and inclusiveness, according to economists.
"During the past five years, China has achieved tremendous results in economic and social development by adhering to these new concepts," said Xing Zhihong, spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics.
The country has made progress in reforms and adapted to the "new normal" of lower yet sustainable and balanced growth rates.
FROM IMITATOR TO INNOVATOR
With innovation at the core of the new development strategy, China, once seen as an imitator churning out mountains of cheap, low-quality goods, has become a source of creative products and ideas.
From its quantum satellite to shared bicycles and mobile wallets, Chinese technology has drawn global attention.
"Innovation has played a bigger role in leading and boosting economic and social development," said Li Yunlong, a professor at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.
China moved up the list of the world's top 25 innovative economies, rising three notches from 25 to 22, according to a key innovation index released in June by the World Intellectual Property Organization, Cornell University and INSEAD.
The country was top in a number of sub-rankings, including domestic market scale, human resources, patents by origin, high-tech exports, and industrial design by origin.
Policy makers are steering the economy onto an innovation-driven growth path, encouraging an entrepreneurial wave, initiating reforms in research and development (R&D), and rolling out the "Internet Plus" and "Made in China 2025" plans.
About 1.57 trillion yuan (over 230 billion U.S. dollars) was spent on R&D in 2016 after a double-digit average annual increase over the past five years, making it second in R&D spending after the United States. Thanks to its big spending, China now ranks second in scientific papers worldwide and is third after the United States and Japan in joining the "million patent club."
China aims to become an "innovative nation" by 2020, an international leader in innovation by 2030, and a world powerhouse of scientific and technological innovation by 2050.
After decades of rapid expansion brought smog and contaminated soil, China is swiftly and steadily shifting from GDP obsession to a balanced growth philosophy that puts more emphasis on the environment.
More energy has been channeled into cleaning up the economy, which had long been powered by polluting heavy industries. Stricter rules were imposed on both factories and officials, and violations received tougher penalties.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection on Monday announced a new round of inspections on local environmental protection efforts covering eight provincial-level areas, the latest in its nationwide campaign to curb pollution.
During last year's inspections, almost 6,500 officials were held accountable for negligence or malpractice.
Ecological development has become a major task in the country's overall plan and has been reiterated in key official documents and high-level meetings in recent years.
Measures have been rolled out to control pollution and set the direction for a green path. The harshest-ever environmental protection law was passed, and a "river chief" system was introduced to purify the water. The government decided to draw "red lines" in certain regions to strengthen protection.
The effort has paid off. The average annual density of fine air particulate matter, or PM 2.5, often used as a gauge for air pollution, dropped by 33 percent in 2016 in the Beijing-Hebei-Tianjin region compared with 2013. Water and soil conditions also improved.
OPENING WIDER TO THE WORLD
China has accelerated the opening of its financial markets to spur economic growth, raise financial sector competitiveness and actively participate in the global market.
Overseas investors gained direct access to the Chinese mainland's 10 trillion U.S. dollar bond market with the launch of the Bond Connect in Hong Kong in July.
This move came after stock connect programs between mainland and Hong Kong bourses were established.
"The Bond Connect is conducive to the internationalization of the mainland's financial market and is a driving force for its financial opening up," said Dong Yuping at the Institute of Finance and Banking at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
In addition, the introduction of foreign banks to the domestic market and attempts by China's financial institutions to go global were also positive steps in developing the financial sector and building a free and open capital market.
"Opening up helps to build a strong and competitive financial sector in China," said Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, at the Lujiazui Financial Forum 2017 in June.
By introducing the five major development concepts and highlighting supply-side structural reform, China has chosen a correct path in improving its growth quality, according to Guo Shengxiang, dean of the Academy of APEC Creative Finance, an Australian think tank.
Red Bull Vitamin Drink's main shareholder is locking horns with its partner in the Chinese market over a trademark dispute, due to the pending renewal of a trademark licensing agreement that expired last year.
The joint venture was established by two Thai companies: TC Pharmaceutical Industries, the creator and owner of Red Bull energy drink and its trademark, and Reignwood Group, which has a smaller share in the company.
Together, they introduced the popular Red Bull beverage to China on a 20-year licensing agreement, with Chanchai Ruayrungruang, founder of Reignwood, serving as board chairman.
"Whatever the final result might be, the Red Bull trouble sounds the alarm - companies need to develop their own brands and increase trademark awareness," Ning Lizhi, director of the Center for Intellectual Property Rights and Competition Law at Wuhan Unviersity in Hubei province, told China Intellectual Property News based in Beijing.
After two decades of sales in China, Red Bull has grown into a market leader in the energy drink segment with a mature and widespread distribution network across the country.
But after the trademark contract expired in 2016, the companies have yet to reach an agreement on an extension of the authorization contract.
This is partially due to speculation around TC Pharma's potential involvement of another trademark licensee in the joint venture, its subsidiary Red Bull GmbH in Austria, according to Chinese media reports. If true, this could reduce Reignwood's control of the joint venture.
The Austrian company - which sold more than 6 billion cans of Red Bull worldwide in 2016, an increase of 1.8 percent year-on-year - has also entered the Chinese market separately to the joint ventures' activities.
Market insiders have noted similarities to the situation Jiaduobao faced, in which the noted Chinese herbal drink lost its pole position in the market due to a failure to renew its trademark license agreement after it came to an end.
In early July, Red Bull Vitamin Drink announced it will invest heavily in a summer promotional campaign nationwide, arousing speculation that the negotiations for the authorization seemed to have made progress.
But that speculation soon evaporated when one of its parents, TC Pharma, filed a trademark-related complaint against ORG Packaging, the Chinese supplier for Red Bull Vitamin Drink, later that month, further increasing tensions. TC Pharma alleges that ORG infringed its rights via unauthorized usage of the Red Bull trademark on packaging distributed since the licensing agreement came to an end.
ORG will continue to fulfill its contract and provide packaging before the court makes its final ruling, according to the company.
ORG had ridden on its close partnership with the joint venture for 17 years, increasing its annual net profits from 405 million yuan ($60.25 million) in 2012 to 1.15 billion yuan in 2016.
The two sides signed a renewal contract in 2012 to extend their cooperation for another 10 years.
Every staff member of Shandong Gold Group, also known as SD Gold, wears a sheer gold badge, revealing a close connection between the major Chinese gold producer and the precious metal.
Yet for the company headquartered in Jinan, Shandong province in East China, its intellectual property portfolio competes with the glistening gold as its most valuable asset, said Cui Lun, deputy general manager of SD Gold.
"The most valuable assets at our company are our seabed mining technologies and a proprietary gold rock drill that has set a record of reaching more than 4,000 meters deep in China," Cui said.
In cooperation with experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the China Metallurgical Geology Bureau, the company began developing the gold-prospecting drill in 2010.
Included in the Geological Society of China's 2011 top 10 technological progress achievements in the industry nationwide, the drill has gained a rich intellectual property portfolio.
The drill is "of strategic significance to China's gold exploration, mineral research, and collection and analysis of geophysical prospecting data", said Chen Yumin, board chairman of SD Gold.
Wang Zhaokun, chief geologist of SD Gold, said the achievement has also boosted the company's confidence in discovering more gold reserves.
"We have to go deeper for more resources, as few shallow mines are left uncovered," Wang said.
The state-of-the-art mining facility has helped the company to discover a gold deposit estimated at more than 550 metric tons in the coastal province, reportedly the largest of its kind in China.
Forecasts estimate it will take 40 years to fully mine the deposit at the Xiling gold mine area in the Laizhou-Zhaoyuan region, with an estimated daily supply of 10 to 15 tons, according to Cui. The potential value is predicted to surpass 150 billion yuan ($22.33 billion), Chinese media reported.
As part of the mine is submarine, it requires complicated technological solutions, according to the company.
Shandong is rich in high-quality gold resources, yet many of them are tucked away deep underground or lying on the seabed, Cui said.
When carrying out deep mining, engineers and workers need to deal with a variety of challenges, such as geothermal changes and ground pressure, he noted.
Submarine mines are even more complicated, as they tend to involve more problems, including water leakage and earth slides resulting from the fault zones, Wang added.
Since 2008, SD Gold has developed a series of technological innovations to increase safety and efficiency in its marine mining activities, which have been granted 11 patents, Board Chairman Chen said.
To date, the company has been granted 272 patents, including 50 invention patents, and led or took part in the formulation of 11 national or industrial standards.
Cui said: "Our patent filings revolve around mineral exploration and development, as well as (gold) production."
During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20), the company will focus its research on exploring and developing deep resources, automation and the comprehensive treatment of exhausted mines, Chen said.
As a large mineral group, the State-owned enterprise will increase cooperation with research centers and higher learning institutes in developing eco-friendly mining technologies, he said.
SD Gold's Guilaizhuang mining area has been designated a national model industrial tourism site, the only one of its kind in China's gold mining industry, and has been named a national mine park.
Deputy General Manager Cui said: "Our goal is to turn all of our mines green by the end of the 13th Five-Year Plan period."
Data from the China Gold Association show that the country generated more than 450 tons in 2016, ranking No 1 worldwide for 10 consecutive years.
SD Gold contributed nearly 30 tons of that total, according to the company.
A team of Chinese scientists recently invented a micromotion sensor that allows people to control devices and type text by blinking their eyes, according to a paper published in an international science journal.
The sensor is fixed to special eyeglasses and applied through two real-time human-machine interfacesa smart home control system and a wireless hands-free typing system.
It makes direct contact with the wearer's skin around the eyes and responds to changes in pressure when the wearer blinks intentionally to trigger a computer response.
"It is like a third hand," said Hu Chenguo, of Chongqing University's Department of Applied Physics, who led the research.
She said the sensor can help people control devices when both hands are occupied, or help people with disabilities to communicate and perform daily tasks.
Human-machine interfaces, or HMIs, involve communication between a person and an external device. But the skin-sensing interfaces based on bio signals have been developing slowly, owing to the low signal-to-noise ratio and poor stability, Hu said.
In the new study, Hu and colleagues designed a sensor based on what's called a triboelectric nanogenerator－or TENG－to detect the motion of the skin around the corners of eyes, which she said "has never been considered as a good trigger signal source".
"When the TENG sensor is attached to the inside of the glasses' frame, the minuscule muscle movement of a closing eye momentarily pushes the sensor's layers together, generating an electrical signal that can be reliably measured," the study said. It was published last week in the US journal Science Advances.
"It is supersensitive, stable, easy and cheap," said Pu Xianjie, the lead author of the report. "We are now applying for a patent in China and overseas. In the near future, we expect to see it on the market."
The sensor can initiate tasks such as turning a light on or off. When the glasses are connected to a computer screen, the wearer can blink as a cursor passes over different keys, typing out words.
"This TENG-based micromotion sensor is distinct and unique in its fundamental mechanism, which provides a novel design concept for intelligent sensor techniques and shows great potential for application in HMIs," Hu said.
"For our next step, we would like to ... explore the great potential of TENG sensors in intelligent robots."
An electrical engineer in Wuxi has invented a special cooling jacket to help his colleagues survive the summer heat.
Maintaining high-voltage power lines is so dangerous that workers have to wear full-body insulation suit to stop themselves being electrocuted.
But the 10 kg suits can get unbearably hot: The temperature inside the suit is 10 degrees higher than the air temperatures in summer, and workers are often at risk of heatstroke.
"When taking off the suit after working for an hour, you can literally pour the sweat out," said Qin Xiao, senior technician at Wuxi Power Supply Company and inventor of the cooling jacket.
Qin's invention neutralizes this. Weighing less than 500 grams, the jacket has a thin pipe wrapped around it, connected to an air conditioning compressor and two lithium batteries.
The compressor pumps cool water around the pipe, able to keep the water 10 degrees colder than the outside air temperature for two hours.
Qin's jacket has been a big hit with his fellow technicians, and has even been granted a national patent.
"Cooling down outdoor workers in such heat not only makes them feel comfortable, but also guarantees the safety of their lives and equipment," said Qin.
China will prioritize the examination of patents in certain fields to improve patent licensing efficiency, the State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) said Monday.
According to a set of regulations scheduled to go into effect Tuesday, the applications and reexamination of patents on energy saving, environmental protection, new-generation information technology, high-end equipment manufacturing, new energy, intelligent manufacturing and some other industries enjoy such treatment.
Patents that involve the Internet, big data, cloud computing and in sectors with fast evolution in product or technology will also have such priorities.
"The regulations help form a more comprehensive system for prioritizing patent examinations," said Song Jianhua, director of the treaty and law department of SIPO.
Chinese tech firm Cheetah Mobile has said it plans to continue to develop artificial intelligence.
Last week, Beijing Orion Star Technology, owned by Cheetah, won the first place in an online competition organized by Microsoft to recognize a million celebrities in the real world.
Founded in September last year, Beijing Orion Star won the first place in the competition category with external data support. Competitors included teams from Singapore, the United States and other countries.
"We use algorithms to discern interfering data and designed special computing models to improve efficiency," the company said in a statement.
Its facial recognition technology has been used to screen images on the company's live-streaming portal, Live.me. The technology is used to classify users in by gender, age and race.
Over 200,000 hours of live-streamed content is generated on the platform a day, and facial recognition is used to pick up unhealthy content from the videos, the company said.
Beijing Orion Star is also wading into voice recognition. It has used its technology on smart loudspeaker boxes developed by phone maker Xiaomi.
"The opportunities of deep learning is not simply about technology itself, but more about application in real life. Artificial intelligence will be used in wide application areas in the industrial world, and this is the focus of our technology research," said Fu Sheng, company CEO.
According to an industry report, starting from 2012, Chinese facial recognition patents have caught up with those in the United States. Many Chinese tech firms have been honing their edge in the industry.
By May, patents applications in facial recognition had reached 6,432 in China. In 2016 alone, there were 1,755 applications.
Cheetah Mobile says 600 million people use its apps worldwide and 80 percent of the users are from overseas.
Xiaomi announced Friday that its wholly owned subsidiary Xiaomi HK Ltd has signed a three-year $1 billion syndicated loan agreement with 18 banks.
Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley served as joint global coordinator for this loan, with Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited, Deutsche Bank AG, and Wing Lung Bank Ltd as mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners.
Xiaomi founder Lei Jun said that "new retail," which is the integration of online and offline retail, and globalization are two of the company's top five strategic areas for development.
"The syndicated loan will further boost its efforts to develop these areas," he added.
Xiaomi CFO Chew Shouzi said: "The global syndicate of top-tier banks is a strong endorsement of Xiaomi by the international capital markets."
Xiaomi claimed that it shipped 23.16 million smartphones in the second quarter of 2017, an increase of 70 percent from the previous quarter.
Xiaomi recently also fine-tuned its "triathlon" business model from "hardware + software + internet services" to "hardware + new retail + internet services," emphasizing the importance of new retail to the company's strategy.
To date, Xiaomi has opened 149 Mi Home stores across China and will open 1,000 such stores in the next three years, Lei said on the launch ceremony of Mi 5X on Wednesday in Beijing.
Xiaomi is now present in over 40 countries and regions, according to Lei.
"Innovation combined with patent accumulation is the cornerstone of Xiaomi's overseas expansion strategy," Lei said. The company currently has 4,806 granted patent assets, of which 2,404 are international patents.
Earlier this year, Xiaomi signed a multi-year patent agreement with Nokia, which included Xiaomi's acquisition of patent assets from Nokia.
Xiaomi had previously secured a three-year $1 billion syndicated loan in 2014.
There's a growing stockpile of patent filings with the State Intellectual Property Office, but the backlog should be resolved by a new prioritized processing regulation, which is scheduled to come into effect on Tuesday.
As a response to the central government's calling for an improved business environment, streamlined procedures for administrative approval, and the booming market, the Administrative Measures for Priority Examination of Patent Applications is set to reduce filers' burdens and improve the efficiency of related administrative services, said Hu Wenhui, SIPO spokesman, at a news conference last week.
Compared with the version SIPO issued five years ago, which applied only to invention patent filings, the new regulation will expand its coverage to applications for the other two types of patents, utility models and industrial designs, said Song Jianhua, director-general of SIPO's law and treaty department.
The updated version is also applicable to requests for patent re-examination and invalidation, Song added.
Other amendments include streamlined procedures and adding more fields eligible for the regulation, such as the internet, big data and cloud computing, she said.
Zheng Huifen, director-general of the patent affairs administration department at SIPO, said the office has long highly valued the improvement in processing patent filings.
SIPO has employed a third-party organization to assess the quality of its work since 2008.
Its efforts to increase its service efficiency and improve quality include founding an in-house quality evaluation panel, holding regular meetings on quality analysis, offering training in technologies, foreign languages and legal regulations, and collecting feedback from filers, Zheng added.
China has ranked No 1 in invention patent filings worldwide for six consecutive years.
The filing number reached 565,000 in the country in the first half of this year, an increase of 6.1 percent year-on-year, according to the latest SIPO data.
Some 209,000 invention patents were granted during the same period, including roughly 160,000 to Chinese filers, which has enabled the country's total invention patent inventory to surpass 1.22 million.
The average ownership of invention patents in China has increased to 8.9 per 10,000 people. In Bejing, the number is 85.9, making the capital top of the country.
Overseas expansion spurring rapid annual growth in PCT filings; data shows surging interest in Belt and Road Initiative regions
An increasing number of innovation-driven Chinese companies testing the waters abroad are spurring "rapid growth" in international patent applications filed via the Patent Cooperation Treaty in China, according to the State Intellectual Property Office.
The latest SIPO data show PCT filings grew 16 percent year-on-year to 21,600 in China in the first half of this year.
Of those filings, 20,000 were from domestic applicants, increasing 15.3 percent from the same period of last year. The numbers reflect growing momentum in Chinese companies armed with proprietary intellectual property going abroad, SIPO spokesman Hu Wenhui said at a news conference in Beijing last week.
PCT filings from abroad increased 26 percent year-on-year to 1,600 during the period.
Guangdong is the largest PCT filer among 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions on the Chinese mainland, with 11,900 applications filed in the first six months.
Beijing, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Shandong and Zhejiang have all reported more than 500 PCT filings.
The top six have contributed nearly 90 percent of the country's PCT filings by Chinese applicants.
Countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative are becoming popular destinations among Chinese filers.
The initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims for increased international cooperation by revitalizing the ancient trade routes. It's also known as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
The first six months of this year saw more than 2,100 PCT filings from China destined for 17 countries and regions involved in the initiative, representing 17.8 percent growth year-on-year.
With more than 1,000 filings, India ranked top among the destinations, followed by Russia and Singapore.
In comparison, China received more than 2,000 patent applications from filers from Belt and Road countries and regions during the period, up 23.2 percent year-on-year.
"The burgeoning growth in patent filings shows the Belt and Road countries and regions' faith in China's market and our intellectual property protection environment, and also reflects accelerated pace of Chinese companies going overseas," Gan Shaoning, deputy commissioner at SIPO, said at an earlier forum.
Behind the growth is booming foreign trade and investment.
China reported 13.14 trillion yuan ($1.95 trillion) in foreign trade from January to June, a 19.6 percent rise year-on-year, creating a half-year growth record high since the second half of 2011, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs earlier this month.
Exports grew 15 percent year-on-year to 7.21 trillion yuan during the period.
For prudent traders looking to overseas expansion, IP filings are generally considered ahead of business operations in the targeted markets, industry insiders said.
In the investment sphere, Chinese entrepreneurs have completed more than 650 deals each worth at least $100 million in overseas mergers and acquisitions over the past decade, according to a report released by McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm, in April.
A PwC report released in January shows that investors from the Chinese mainland poured a combined $221 billion in overseas acquisitions in 2016, a more than twofold increase from a year earlier.
Patented technologies, well-established brands and mature marketing channels are among the primary factors for the overseas deals, industrial observers said.
Shanghai's first intellectual property protection center was officially set up Tuesday in the city's Pudong New District, according to local authorities.
The center will launch a "green pathway" to enable a faster examination of patents and decrease the authorization time to less than 15 months from original 30 months, said Lyu Quoqiang, head of the Shanghai intellectual property administration.
Pudong is home to burgeoning high-end equipment manufacturing and bio-pharmaceutical industries, where demand for intellectual property rights service is high.
In 2016, Pudong enterprises filed more than 9,500 patent applications in high-end equipment manufacturing industry and 2,300 in bio-pharmaceutical industry.
A complaint channel will also be launched to investigate suspected violations of patents, trademarks and copyrights.
The center will work with Shanghai intellectual property court to enhance intellectual property rights protection.
Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare Co Ltd, a company specializing in developing and manufacturing advanced medical products, said it is focusing on its plans to invest 2.2 billion yuan ($323 million) in three phases to build the world's largest medical imaging equipment manufacturing plant in southwestern Guizhou province by 2020.
The facility will be built in Guian New Area in Guizhou, under a strategic framework agreement signed by UIH and the Guizhou provincial government in January 2016.
"Guian New Area, as a national level new area, enjoys government policy support as it builds a high-tech zone," said Zhao Ling, chief operating officer of the UIH's Guizhou branch.
"Besides, manufacturing costs in Guizhou are relatively low. That's why we chose Guizhou over coastal provinces."
The first phase of the project, an intelligent manufacturing line in Guian, began operations at the end of last year. According to Zhao, the value of its output to date has exceeded 50 million yuan. The facility mainly serves as a medical big data center and produces high-end medical equipment.
"We are about to start the construction of phase II by the end of 2017, and phase III by 2019," Zhao said.
Apart from the manufacturing line in Guizhou, UIH has a industrial center in Changzhou, Jiangsu province. Overseas, in May this year, it also opened production facilities in California.
According to a report by Firestone Inventing, a consulting company specializing in the medical industry, 402 Chinese companies produce medical imaging equipment, accounting for only 10 percent of China's market share.
However, the market potential is huge. The report said the market size of medical imaging in China is estimated to grow to 600 billion to 800 billion yuan by 2020.
Wang Rongpin, director of the radiology department at Guizhou Provincial People's Hospital, said that UIH had progressed remarkably, expanding to be one of the world's leading high-end medical equipment makers in a short period.
"We have digital X-ray radiography equipment made by UIH in our department, which has the same high-definition image quality as imported products," Wang said.
"However, the price is lower and the design fits Chinese users better. We are satisfied with the operating system."
According to UIH's Zhao Ling, before 2014, locally made equipment had a lower market share compared with international brands such as General Electric Co and Siemens AG.
After several years of research and development, however, UIH was awarded patents for its core technology. The company said its advanced medical equipment gained widespread recognition in 2014.
UIH mainly sells products to the Chinese market, and its products are also exported to Europe, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asian countries.
A Guangdong-based company has been fined 45,000 yuan ($6,665) by the local intellectual property administration for using an invalid patent sign and displaying a forged patent certificate in an exhibition hall in Songjiang District.
It is one of the stiffest such penalties issued in recent years, the administration said.
The administration received a report and found the patent sign on the packaging of products the electric company SunShane displayed in an exhibition hall on Baosheng Road was not valid.
After further investigation, they found the patent had expired and the products where the patent sign was used were not the ones for which the patent had been authorized. The patent certificate the company displayed had been forged, the administration said.
SunShane was ordered to stop using the patent sign and destroy the forged certificate.
The patent sign on unsold goods must be removed or blocked out.
A higher proportion of patents were used in 2016 compared with a year earlier, but small companies and universities still need to improve their ability to commercialize patents, according to a recent annual report by the State Intellectual Property Office.
The 2016 China Patent Data Report was based on a survey covering companies, universities, research institutions and individual inventors in 23 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. About 58,000 questionnaires were sent and more than 70 percent of them were returned correctly.
The report showed that last year, 61.8 percent of valid patents were used - either commercialized, licensed or transferred - 3.9 percentage points higher than the figure in 2015.
The report has found that the patent use rate varies among right owners - it goes up and then down as the number of their patents increase. For those who have one or two invention patents, 55.3 percent were used on average. The figure rises to a peak of 64.7 percent for those owning 10 to 29 inventions. And for those with more than 100 inventions, the figure falls to 41 percent.
The same trend is seen in the patent industrialization rate, indicating how many of the patents were actually used in products and put to market. About 40 percent of patents were industrialized for those owning only one or two patents and those with more than 100. Among those who have between 10 and 29 patents, the proportion is over 50 percent.
Li Shunde, a researcher of law and IP rights at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the efficient use and industrialization of patents to realize their value is a "rigid demand" for China's innovation-driven development strategy.
"Now we still have the shortage of high-value patents and insufficient patent use," Li said. "These problems are keeping the patents from supporting innovation and entrepreneurship.
"Protection is just the means, and utilization is the real purpose," he said. "Combined, they will increase the value of innovation."
Universities have the lowest patent use and industrialization rates, while companies have the highest rates. However, the report noted that small companies and startups have difficulties in commercializing patents because many of them do not have effective financing channels to support production.
The report also found increasing demand for administrative protection.
When asked the most preferred means of protection, 61.3 percent of patent owners said they want the patent administrations to actively launch enforcement operations, which is a 0.9 percentage point increase over the previous year, while 51.3 percent said they will report to the patent administrations, 5.6 percentage points higher. Only 23.6 percent of right owners said they prefer filing a lawsuit at a court, 0.7 percentage point lower than 2015.
"In judicial procedures, many right owners have problems like difficulty in collecting evidence, prolonged procedures, high costs and low compensation. Therefore, administrative protection is more favored for its convenience and efficiency," Li said.
In 2016, law enforcement agencies across China investigated in 48,619 cases involving patent disputes, increasing 36.5 percent year-on-year.
Capable of running at 400km/hr, innovative train poses challenge to Western rivals
○ The debut of next-generation Fuxing bullet trains symbolizes that the shadow cast by the fatal 2011 Wenzhou crash has been dispelled.
○ The new trains, which were totally domestically developed, also mark a milestone in the country's high speed rail exports and its companies' competiveness with the West.
○ However political challenges still pose road blocks to Chinese technology being exported abroad.
Passengers on the brand-new high-speed Fuxing train - whose name literally means renaissance - which has started running between Beijing and Shanghai took to social media to rave about their experience.
The Fuxings are the latest "China Standard" bullet trains, completely designed and manufactured in China, capable of running at 400 kilometers per hour.
But their speed is capped at a mere 300 kilometers, as is the speed of the older trains on the line, which has disappointed many.
These restrictions were implemented after the 2011 Wenzhou bullet train crash killed 40 and injured around 200, following a nationwide chorus of safety concerns.
Several political advisers have proposed increasing the speeds in recent years, but in vain. However some believe that the caps may be lifted for the Fuxings.
"I'm sure the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail line speed limit will be raised to 350 kilometers soon," Sun Zhang, a railway expert and professor at Shanghai's Tongji University, told the Global Times. "The Fuxing series will gradually replace the Hexie (harmony) bullet trains when they retire after an around 30-year life span."
However, the major significance of the Fuxings lies not in their speed, but in their standardization, Sun noted.
Ji Jialun, professor at the School of Traffic and Transportation, Beijing Jiaotong University, echoed Sun's opinion, saying the totally-homegrown Fuxing will mark a milestone in the export of Chinese high-speed rail (HSR) technology
"It's a landmark of the change from mix-blood to pureblood, and it will be no longer controversial for China to export our technology," Ji commented to the Global Times.
Blow to development
China first got HSR on April 18, 2007 when the country started running Hexie trains - based on Japanese, German and French technology - on upgraded rail lines at up to 250 kilometers per hour.
Based on technologies purchased and absorbed from foreign countries, China rapidly expanded its HSR network and was soon competing for projects abroad.
However, the fatal Wenzhou crash put a sudden brake on progress. The incident, caused by a signal failure after a lightning strike, ignited a backlash against HSR. Investment and expansion across the country was virtually suspended.
"Construction of many railways was affected. Some projects were interrupted due to a lack of funds, some were postponed. The government also stopped approving new projects. The situation lasted about two years," recalled Li Bo, an employee of a survey and design institute affiliated with the China Railway Construction Corporation in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province.
"Our workloads dropped sharply. There was only one survey and design project for a coal-fired railway in the whole year," Li told the Global Times.
China's efforts to build railways abroad were also affected.
"I don't rule out the idea that some Western rivals magnified the incident, fanned the flames and smeared Chinese technologies," Mei Xinyu, an associate researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times.
National pride again
The change in China's top leadership in 2012 turned the tide. The new leaders supported HSR at home and promoted it overseas.
In July 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping inspected Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of China's biggest train-maker the CRRC Corporation Limited (CRRC), and remarked that high speed trains are a "name card" for China. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has even been nicknamed "the salesman of Chinese HSR" for his continual promotion efforts at international events and on visits abroad.
Under the slogan of "bringing in advanced technology and creating China's brand," researchers and developers have created the Fuxing, also known as the China standard electricity multiple unit (EMU).
Among all the 254 key standards used in the train, 84 percent are Chinese. Its core technologies, including its power supply, operation management and security monitoring, are all homegrown.
"The standardization will greatly facilitate the production and maintenance of high-speed trains in China," Sun said.
This marks a shift from the Hexie series, which used a variety of different standards in different trains under the Hexie name as the technologies used in their construction were borrowed from different countries.
Besides their attractive appearance, the stability, noise control, energy efficiency and traction power of the Fuxing series are all superior to their predecessors, according to the People's Railway Daily.
The introduction of the Fuxings has also smoothed the road for China to export its HSR technologies and greatly enhanced Chinese discourse power, Ji noted.
"In our previous HSR projects overseas, such as the railway we built in Turkey, we had to use European standards and had little discourse power," Ji said. An HSR line linking Turkey's capital Ankara and its most populous city of Istanbul, built jointly by a Chinese-Turkish consortium, was completed in 2014.
In the past, patent and safety issues had always been negotiation problems when Chinese groups vied for HSR projects with other major players in the sector.
However the patent issue will no longer be a sticking point as the Fuxing series is more or less totally homegrown.
"We have invited top U.S. law firms to make an intellectual property assessment of our standard EMU trains, which concluded that our technology will have no intellectual property disputes when it is exported to other countries," Sun explained.
Mei believes that the Fuxing trains also show that China has completely walked out of the shadow cast by the Wenzhou crash. "The safe operation of the HSR network in recent years has proved Chinese technologies to the world and restored people's confidence," he said.
Sun believes that the Wenzhou tragedy offered China an opportunity to readjust its HSR development plan, making key overhauls and corrections.
The railway construction drive has totally revived, Li Bo sharing that the workload at his firm last year was quadruple what it was in 2010.
Within 10 years, China, a newcomer to this sector, has become home to the longest and busiest HSR system in the world; by the end of last year, there were 22,000 kilometers of HSR lines in China, over 60 percent of the world's total.
The country plans to double the length of HSR lines in service by 2030 and link nearly all its cities that are home to over half a million people.
This rise in confidence domestically is being mirrored by a rise overseas, as China steps up its efforts to share its HSR achievements.
In 2015, China North Railway and China South Railway, the country's top two high-speed rail firms, merged to form CRRC, so as to be better capable to compete with heavy hitters like Germany's Siemens, France's Alstom, or Canada's Bombardier.
According to World Bank estimates, Chinese HSR construction costs, on average, were just two thirds of Europe's and less than half of the U.S.'s. But despite advantages in pricing and efficiency, Chinese companies have not had much luck in contracting foreign HSR projects.
"There is no case of China exporting high-speed rail that can be described as very successful. The situation is very undesirable," Dou Xin, CRRC Qingdao Sifang spokeswoman, was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post in April.
"The biggest obstacle for countries that have signed deals with China is the lack of financial strength. High-speed railways and bullet trains are unimaginably expensive," said Dou.
Sun believes the political turbulence of some recipient countries and political suspicion has also hindered HSR exports.
"Some may think that Beijing is trying to expand and penetrate by building HSR overseas, some even speculate that the trains might be used to deliver arms, which is all groundless," he noted.
The U.S. private firm XpressWest unilaterally announced in September the termination of its cooperation with a Chinese consortium on an HSR project between Las Vegas and California.
"Our biggest challenge continues to be the Federal Government's requirement that high-speed trains must be manufactured in the U.S.," Tony Marnell, CEO of XpressWest, said in a statement.
Some Chinese observers have cast doubt on this explanation, pointing out that CRRC already has a factory in the U.S. that produces subway trains.
The Pan-Asia Railway Network proposed by ASEAN nations which would link China's Yunnan Province to Singapore via Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia in the middle, Vietnam and Cambodia in the east, and Myanmar in the west, came one step closer to becoming a reality last week when the Thai cabinet approved the Chinese-built Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima HSR project.
"Countries like Laos and Myanmar all welcome Chinese technologies, but Singapore didn't. It seems that they choose to stand with U.S. and Japan and prefer their technologies," Sun said.
China is using high-speed railways as "pieces" to play chess and attempts to "leverage the geopolitical landscape," Ma Liang, a research fellow at the Nanyang Centre for Public Administration at Nanyang Technological University, cautioned in an opinion piece published in the Singapore-based newspaper Lianhe Zaobao in July 2014.
Ji says this is misguided. "Via expanding HSRs to other countries and increasing connections, China is willing to share the fruits of its opening-up and reform to the world," Ji argued.
Conversely, some Chinese are skeptical of the country's HSR trade pattern, under which the country provides not only technology but also favorable loans.
But Mei stated that overseas HSR investment is only made after a careful consideration of the destination's political situation, growth, population and profitability.
"China is exporting HSR technologies, not giving them away," he said.
There is a strategic need for China to export HSR, Ji said. "The driving force HSR development has on the manufacturing industry is remarkable. HSR exports will also help lead other industries to the world market," he explained.
A total of 565,000 applications for invention patents were handled in China in the first half of 2017, statistics from the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) showed Thursday.
The number was a 6.1-percent rise on a yearly basis, as 209,000 invention patents were issued, according to the statistics.
As of the end of June, the Chinese mainland held more than 1.22 million invention patents, with 8.9 such patents per every 10,000 people on average.
Also, more than 20,000 applications for Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) were submitted by Chinese applicants via the SIPO over the first six months of the year, an increase of 15.3 percent on a yearly basis, said Hu Wenhui, spokesperson of the SIPO.
Moreover, up to 15,411 patent cases were solved in China in the same period, up 23.3 percent year-on-year, according to Hu.
Of the cases 8,837 involved patent disputes, while 8,666 related to patent infringement, he continued.
The Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine has over the past sixty years with sustained effort developed from a pure medical university into a Chinese Medicine University with Chinese medicine as the main body and enjoying harmonious development of multi-disciplines, making outstanding contributions to the Chinese Medicine education. In 2004, the University became a member of the 211 Project of Guangdong Province and has been ranked as a good example of medical morality by the Chinese Government.
The University currently has 18, 000 students on campus of which 2, 400 are from Africa and South-East Asia. Graduates from the University have helped their countries a lot on improving their health conditions. “We have been supporting African Countries because we continue to see the continent as a key partner in development,” Wang Shegliang, President of the University said, and further assured that the University will continue to support Africa so that its citizens will be healthier.
The antimalarial research team of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine (GUCM) initiated a strategy called FEMSE through Mass Drug Administration (MDA) with Artemisinin-based combination therapy to eliminate malaria. It was introduced in Comoros, which was a high malaria epidemic area in 2006, and succeeded in lowering the disease without death in a short period.
Artemisinin is a lactone derived from the Artemisia annua plant. This plant’s common plant name is sweet wormwood or Qing Hao in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It has been used for at least 2,000 years to treat fevers, including Malaria. It is currently used for this purpose in modern medicine.
This supplement is also purported to have anti-aging applications, to support the immune system and has restorative properties for febrile conditions.
Malaria is a global pandemic, especially in Africa. The United Nations World Health Organization’s World Malaria Report in 2013 shows about 207 million malaria cases and 627, 000 deaths occurred in 2012. An estimated 3.4 billion people continue to be at risk of malaria, as 80% of malaria cases occur in Africa.
The World Health Organization used Artemisinin during its Mass Drug Administration to control malaria in Sierra Leone in 2014, targeting three million people. WHO succeeded in laying out some successful results from African Countries.
The antimalarial drug, Artequick was invented through the antimalarial team of the Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, and it is a fourth generation of Artemisinin-based combination that owns proprietary intellectual property rights and has achieved patent protection in 38 countries and gone in 18 malaria epidemic countries.
In 2003, about 4, 000 people were diagnosed of malaria, with 20 severe cases that resulted to death due to late treatment.
Dr. Jianping Song of the Artemisinin-based combination therapy said there are about 2, 000 cases of malaria in China, most of which are coming from Africa.
“We have a very good cooperation with African Countries and have assisted and will continue to assist in areas like technical and healthcare supports,” he said, and added that African governments need to show interest so as to enable more support to eliminate malaria in the continent. “We care so much about human lives and we are sure that Artemisinin will make a significant contribution in the fight against malaria in Africa,” Dr. Song assured, and stated that "you cannot kill all the mosquitoes in an environment, which is why we are focussing on treating the parasite in the human body."
Imagine you're going to feed your newborn baby and, after a "bip", the consumption, frequency and temperature get automatically recorded and graphed, allowing you to monitor the infant's consumption status when you're working. Isn't that nice?
The job can now be done by Feedibaby - a smart bottle device invented by Juliana Ko and her team comprising three graduates of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. It can keep track of, recall and analyze a baby's feeding and growth information by measuring the weight difference of the bottle before and after feeding. The data, with a 15-day local storage, can be sent to an app on a smartphone via bluetooth and updated to clouds.
Ko, who is a cofounder and one of the inventors of Feedibaby, started designing the device two years ago. It consists of two parts, a dock and an adapter. The dock operates like a mini electronic scale, which can sense different kinds of physical data, such as weight and temperature. Different from other smart bottle devices available in the market, Feedibaby gets patent for the adapter, which can fit almost any type of feeding bottle into the dock. It means users don't have to buy a special type of bottle from the company making the smart device.
"Hong Kong parents are very demanding concerning the safety and reliability of a feeding bottle's material. They may be reluctant to buy feeding bottles from small startup companies. Besides, some infants prefer certain kinds of feeders. It's hard to force a new one on them. To compete with other makers of smart bottle devices, our invention is flexible in use with regard to almost all feeding bottles. Parents can still stick to their original bottles while using our product," Ko tells China Daily.
As most parents are usually busy at work, with little time to take care of their babies, and traditional Chinese grandparents tend to feed babies in excess, infants are prone to obesity and nutrient excess problems.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of overweight children under the age of five globally is estimated to exceed 42 million by 2015, with nearly half of them in Asia.
"I had talked to some mothers before working on this product. I found quite a lot of them are worried about their babies' status while they are at work. I myself intend to continue working after becoming a mother in future, and this gave me the inspiration to come up with the device and start the business," says Ko.
Feedibaby is equipped with scientific data from the WHO and big data, providing the most updated healthy benchmarks for parents to monitor their babies' health status.
According to Ko, their main funds for setting up the enterprise came from cash prize awards, and they launched a crowdfunding exercise in mid May. Customers can now get the product after placing their orders online.
"One of our users during the trial period said Feedibaby is portable and easy to operate. The only thing you need to do is pushing the button, and all the data are ready for you. It's also convenient to carry it when traveling."
Ko says her team, however, is facing challenges in promoting the brand. "Feedibaby is the world's first smart dock to keep track of diet consumption, while Hong Kong parents are usually more conservative about new products."
And, as maternity leave in Hong Kong and on the Chinese mainland is relatively short, she's upbeat about future sales. "A proper diet record of babies shared among all family members is not only essential for a baby's health, but a harmonic relationship within the family."
Ko is looking beyond Hong Kong to boost the product, may be even putting up a dog and pony show. She's seeking cooperation with baby brands in Europe and the United States, and sees the Chinese mainland as a huge potential market in view of the relaxation of China's one-child policy, and Chinese parents' unshakable love for their children. Talks with mainland distributors are on the cards.
As a female entrepreneur, Ko points out she devotes a lot of attention to certain details in business that may tend to be overlooked by her male counterparts.
"There're many opportunities that are easier for female entrepreneurs to obtain, such as in the field of feminine and baby products. So, it's important they stay passionate and patient and support each other. We can and we should strive for a better future together."
The Guangzhou Development District is investing heavily in seeking high-quality intellectual property service providers nationwide.
The GDD government in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, will provide hefty financial rewards for new IP agencies, their large contributions to the local economy, IP-collateralized loans, patent information analysis, and IP protection and training, according to an incentive policy released in May. It is designed to attract high-level professionals in the IP service sector.
The policy is a key move after the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City was designated as a national experimental zone for conducting comprehensive reforms on IP use and protection by the State Council, China's Cabinet, last July. The first of its kind in the country, the area is situated in the GDD.
If an IP service institute or agency is to contribute at least 500,000 yuan ($73,664) a year to the local economy and report a 10 percent rise in annual business revenue, it will be rewarded with up to 10 million yuan, Zhong Zi, an official at the GDD IP office, said at a promotional event in Beijing on Tuesday.
To boost transactions of patents, copyrights and trademarks, the authorities have decided to reward IP market operators with the equivalent of 1 percent of each deal and an IP assessment institution with 20 percent of each deal.
If companies in the GDD industrialize the core patented technologies locally after their purchase from higher learning institutes or research centers, the GDD government will subsidize 20 percent of their technological contracts.
To facilitate IP-collateralized loans, the government has pledged to pay the bills for related assessments, guarantees and insurance.
One of the earliest national economic and technological development zones, the GDD was founded in 1984 in eastern Guangzhou. It has long ranked among the top three of its 200 peers nationwide in terms of its comprehensive strength, said Liu Shi, head of the IP office.
Home to a wealth of high-tech businesses, including intelligent equipment and machines, robotics and biopharmaceuticals, the GDD contributes nearly 40 percent of the annual output value of Guangzhou's manufacturing sector and approximately 70 percent of the city's high-tech industry in yearly revenue, Liu said.
Construction on a new subway is expected to begin in the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City next year. After it is complete, it will take less than eight minutes to reach the city's airport via the non-stop line, he added.
China's cabinet on Wednesday adopted guidelines with detailed measures to boost mass entrepreneurship and achieve innovation-driven growth.
China will deepen reforms in innovation-driven development to expand the scope and raise the level of mass entrepreneurship and public innovation, according to a statement released after the State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.
Promotion of mass entrepreneurship and innovation will help boost employment, optimize the economic structure and facilitate a shift of growth engines.
The government will streamline management procedures such as business registration and registration cancellation and reduce market entry barriers for sectors like education.
Policy support will help protect patents, especially in strategic and emerging sectors.
China will expand financing channels for start-ups to encourage inclusive financial services, promote intellectual property rights financing and establish government venture capital funds.
The government will also promote industrial upgrading by encouraging colleges and research institutions to work with enterprises to build manufacturing innovation centers and developing strategies for the digital economy.
More preferential social security and taxation policies will be rolled out to attract and retain domestic and overseas entrepreneurial and innovative professionals, according to the statement.
The government will take measures to make it easier for foreign professionals to live and work in China and people who choose to set up businesses in towns and villages will also enjoy related preferential policies.
The meeting also decided to solicit public opinion on guidelines for express delivery services, which streamline procedures for expansion, reduce logistics cost and define the rights and responsibilities of couriers.
Several days ago, footage showing Baidu CEO Li Yanhong (Robin Li) live streaming himself in a Baidu self-driving car on Beijing's Fifth Ring Road went viral online. Beijing traffic police said they support technological innovation in driverless vehicles, but will investigate possible violations of existing traffic laws.
On July 11, Li responded to the incident in a speech on Artificial Intelligence at Shanxi University, saying that "self-driving cars will be safer than human drivers in the future."
According to Li, about 500 people in China die in traffic accidents every day, and such tragedies can be prevented with the adaption of self-driving cars. "When self-driving cars become common, lives will be saved. It's of great economic and social significance," he said.
Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla, holds the similar view. After a Tesla driver died in a fatal crash while using autopilot mode last year, Musk said that the mass adoption of self-driving vehicles will save 50,000 lives each year, adding that he would not criticize the safety of self-driving vehicles because of a single accident.
Baidu has been engaged in AI for several years and believes the technology will fundamentally change human society. When there was no Internet, the communication between people and things could not be achieved. AI will solve that. "The Internet has improved the efficiency of people-to-people communication; AI will turn the impossible into the possible," said Li.
Last year, Baidu applied for more AI-related patents than the entire country of Japan, Li revealed. At present, AI enterprises are mainly distributed in a few countries, including the US, China, and the UK. Chinese have performed well in AI research and development. "Forty-three percent of AI-related papers in the world are written by Chinese, and the number of their patent applications is growing rapidly."
Military grants airspace permission allowing parcels to be delivered by air in remote areas
Leading delivery company SF Holding Ltd says it has obtained a landmark license from the military authorities to use drones to deliver commercial packages and is conducting the country's first drone pilot demonstration zone.
The airspace application made by SF and the government of Nankang district in the city of Ganzhou was approved by the Eastern Theater Command, one of the five national military commands.
The flying range covers five counties in Nankang district and Ganzhou in Jiangxi province. The first pilot flight, in the first pilot demonstration zone, was conducted on June 29.
SF says it has launched several types of drone for delivery services, with a maximum load capacity of 25 kilograms and flying distance of 100 kilometers.
SF has invested in a smart distribution logistics and a drone delivery system and has taken out 151 patents. It has established a specialized drone R&D and business operations system.
Zhao Xiaomin, a logistics market consultant in Shanghai, says SF will expand its drone delivery services to third-and fourth-tier cities, and some undeveloped and remote regions, to build an air transportation network.
JD.com Inc, China's second-biggest e-commerce player, has been developing drone deliveries to meet rising retail demand in China's rural areas.
Last year, JD successfully used drones to deliver online purchases to rural shoppers in Jiangsu province, kicking off the e-commerce giant's use of unmanned aircraft for last-mile distribution.
In November, it finished its first drone delivery in Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province. On June 18 it began using drones to regularly deliver packages in Xi'an. The company says 40 delivery drone routes have been designed to deliver online purchases to shoppers in the area.
The company has also built a drone R&D center in the city - which is focusing on operating medium-sized and large drones with loads of 200 kg to two metric tons - in order to cut storage costs.
JD also says it will build 150 operation sites for a drone delivery in Sichuan. Liu Qiangdong, its CEO, says the operation sites are expected to open in three years and drone deliveries could help reduce freight costs by 70 percent.
JD says it strictly complies with the laws and regulations of the country, and each of the delivery tasks was carried out after obtaining authorization from the air traffic control department, to ensure the safety of each flight.
Pan Xuefei, a senior analyst at market research firm IDC, says the application of drones in delivery services is still at an early stage.
"We still need time before we see large-scale application," Pan says, adding that drones are mainly used to improve delivery efficiency in remote mountainous and sparsely populated areas.
Nearly 700 agreements on the commercialization of technologies were signed at the first China University Scientific and Technological Achievements Fair held late last month in Huizhou, Guangdong province, with total contracted value of about 4 billion yuan ($589.6 million).
Experts said that universities, with many top research personnel, have produced abundant scientific and technological innovations.
In 2016, Chinese universities invested a total of 3.8 billion yuan in research and filed more than 184,000 patent applications. Nearly 122,000 patents were granted to them that year.
However, the industrialization of the achievements has been "not so satisfactory", said industry insiders.
Lu Chuan, vice-president at the Chengdu Research Institute of the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, said industrializing innovative achievements from universities involve three parties - the achievement owners, transferrers and users.
In the past, the universities played the roles of all three parties, he said. "But the universities' advantages are their research capabilities, not market operation, so there were few successful cases."
Later, the universities realized they had to commercialize their achievements by cooperating with companies and borrowing their capital. Companies showed strong support for such cooperation. However, this model still has challenges, as companies pay more attention to commercial value while universities focus on technical value.
"Today, Chinese universities are looking for new innovation commercialization models that cater to their own characteristics," Lu said.
Tsinghua University founded Tsinghua Holdings in 2003, based on its integrated technology resources. With initial registered capital of 2.3 billion yuan, the company industrializes the university's research achievements in market approaches. It achieved sales revenue of 95.6 billion yuan last year.
"Tsinghua Holdings develops quickly because it relies on Tsinghua University's powerful scientific research capability and has a well-established industrial layout, operating 70 high-tech parks and 144 startup incubators around the country, which will support the industrialization of the university's technical fruits," said Wang Biao, an executive at the company.
Nanjing University of Science and Technology established the China-university Intellectual Property Operation Platform.
"Like an online supermarket, the platform has gathered information from more than 1 million patents owned by universities nationwide," said Wang Xiaoxu, chairman of the NUST Technology Transfer Center.
The platform evaluates patents, nurtures them to increase their value, and promotes them at business negotiations, Wang said.
Nearly 300 universities took part in the fair, including 13 from overseas, which displayed nearly 10,000 projects.
Huazhong University of Science and Technology brought to the fair a smart defense system against "black flights" by unmanned aerial vehicles that endanger civil aviation safety at airports.
Professor Ma Jie from the university's School of Automation said the system, even left unattended, can recognize drones in restricted areas and send jamming signals to force them to stay in the air, land or return.
An oil-water filter developed by Northwest University can treat 40 metric tons of polluted water in an hour. Its systems can be used in petrochemical industrial zones and during sea transportation of crude oil.
"We met many companies interested in the project in just two days," said the research team leader Gong Yongkuan. "We have reached our target thanks to the fair."
A connection between Chinese characters and the Latin alphabet is currently under construction with the hope that foreigners can learn Chinese characters structure easier.
The news came from a Chinese learning program utilizing Chinese character structures, an alphabetic teaching system and the Gao Character Alphabetic Code System released in Chongqing on June 29.
Lin Gang, Party secretary of the Art and Communication School of Beijing Technology and Business University, presented the teaching system of the program. The Chinese character "善" with 12 strokes can be transferred into an alphabetic form of "KHKO" or "OKHK" through the program.
Gao Xiaoming, founder of Chongqing Zizhao Education Technology Co Ltd, created the innovative learning system, allowing learners familiar with the Latin alphabet can learn to recognize and write Chinese characters quicklier and easilier.
"The program has successfully represented 8,105 Chinese characters with the Latin alphabet and developed a Chinese input method for international Chinese language education which is faster compared to normal pinyin," Gao Xiaoming introduced.
Gao added, "Once the system translates all Chinese characters, foreign learners can find a new way to rapidly recognize, read and write Chinese characters and type in characters on computer with the new input method."
Gao said the program research was inspired by the highly similar structures and meanings between Chinese characters and the Latin alphabet.
The research revealed that the form and structure of Chinese characters have both pictographic meaning and an alphabetic structure, overturning the inherent theory of Chinese character formations.
Zizhao owns all the independent intellectual property rights of the program, which has won two national invention patents and 35 copyrights.
Cao Baoping, a professor of Chinese language at Sichuan International Studies University, said that research on the alphabetic form of Chinese characters has unveiled the original wisdom of Chinese characters, and explores a transformative bridge between Chinese and western languages.
The program has developed various Chinese language teaching tools, including professional guide books, tenon and mortise structure models and colorful character systems.
Chongqing Zizhao Education Technology Co Ltd also signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Chongqing ARTOP Dynamics by AG Technology Co Ltd to further develop the program.
A new report on China’s bio-tech industry released Wednesday in Guangzhou shows that the industry hit 4 trillion RMB in 2016.
Data shows that the industry rose at a much higher rate than other tech industries during the same period. Artemisinin, gene detection, and super rice are at the top of the list.
The public financing of companies in the pharmaceutical, life science, and biotechnology industries reached 167.7 billion RMB in total, while bond financing contributed 90 billion RMB, a 96% growth rate compared to the year before.
The report also highlights the increasing number of patent applications from China, which are gradually approaching the US. Most of them focused on cancer immunotherapy; specially, they focused on CAR-T immunotherapy and a breakthrough is expected.
According to the report, the fermentation industry is another area of growth. Output grew 8.3% in 2016, attributing to 26.29 million tons. The output of amino acids and yeasts are steady.
The report said it is necessary to balance the structure of the bio-tech industry. More attention should be paid to environmental biology and bio-energy and R&D investments should be increased.
Chinese tech giant Xiaomi and Finnish counterpart Nokia announced Wednesday that they have signed a business collaboration agreement and a multi-year patent agreement.
The agreements include a cross license to each company's cellular standard essential patents and Xiaomi also acquired patent assets from Nokia as part of the transaction, according to a statement from Xiaomi.
Nokia will offer network infrastructure equipment designed to deliver the high capacity, low power requirements expected by large web providers and data center operators.
The two companies will work together on optical transport solutions for data center interconnection and other fields. They also agreed to explore opportunities for further cooperation, in areas such as the Internet of Things, augmented and virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.
Collaboration with Nokia will enable Xiaomi to tap on its leadership in building large, high performance networks and strength in software and services, helping Xiaomi create more remarkable products and services with best user experience to Mi fans worldwide, according to Lei Jun, chairman and CEO of Xiaomi.
US citizens or companies were at the center of most international intellectual property disputes heard in China in 2015 and 2016, according to the Supreme People's Court.
French and German were the next most common nationalities, the top court said in a report on Wednesday.
The SPC's work report in March said Chinese courts last year handled 147,000 IP cases involving foreign litigants or defendants. According to Wednesday's report, this was a 41 percent year-on-year rise.
More than half of cases were over copyright disputes, according to the report, which added that judges took on average 105 days to rule on IP cases, while patent disputes took longer.
Most cases in 2015 and 2016 were heard in Beijing as well as Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces, with more than 80 percent of defendants being private business owners, according to the report, which was compiled by the SPC's data center.
The labels "famous trademark", "reputed trademark" and "well-known trademark" were honorary titles issued by governments at different levels to Chinese products in order to encourage competition and help consumers identify quality products. However, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce says the practice is outdated and it plans to put an end to it. Beijing News comments:
Governments at various levels started bestowing the honorary trademark titles shortly after China bid farewell to its decades long planned economy in the early 1980s as a means to set up role-model manufacturers in certain industries.
But the shortcomings of the practice have become increasingly obvious as China's market has evolved. That a State-owned enterprise can more easily obtain such a title than a private company shows the lack of fairness in the evaluation mechanism that originated in an era when most products were manufactured by SOEs. Also, some officials seek illegal gains from the evaluation process for such labels. Once products carrying a government-endorsed trademark label are found to be problematic, the whole system and the government's image will be damaged.
The food safety crisis triggered by the melamine-contaminated baby formula in 2008 is just a case in point. Many problematic dairy products bore the distinction of being a "famous trademark", or "inspection-exempted products", the other kind of honorary title given by the governments.
Moreover, governments now lack the necessary expertise to evaluate some cutting-edge products in today's market.
The trademark evaluation practice has already fulfilled its historical task. In a developed market economy, consumers have the rights and means to decide the popularity of commodities. Market demand is a more precise appraisal than a government's evaluation.
China's ZTE Corp said it will invest 2 billion yuan ($294.8 million) in 5G research and development each year, as China steps up its efforts to build the world's biggest 5G network and to commercialize 5G services in 2020.
Cui Li, vice president of ZTE's wireless product operations division, said her group's R&D spending on 5G would further increase on "a wide range of fields such as infrastructure construction, terminal devices, chips, internet of vehicles, internet of things and big data."
ZTE has invested more than 1 billion yuan annually in the R&D of 5G, with more than 2,000 experts in China, Japan, Europe and North America focusing on leading-edge research into key technologies.
The company says it now commits 10 percent of its annual revenue to R&D.
"We are leading the way in 5G research and working closely with leading operators such as China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom, SoftBank, Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica, to accelerate the development and commercialization of 5G," Cui said.
ZTE said it is building on its leadership in 5G network innovation with more than 1,500 related patent applications on 5G.
In April 2016 the company signed a 5G cooperation memorandum with China Mobile on a 5G Joint Innovation Lab. Recently, China Mobile and ZTE conducted a 5G field test in Guangzhou University Town.
In August 2016, ZTE signed a strategic cooperation agreement on joint 5G and internet of things innovation with China Unicom.
Moreover, the Shenzhen-based company is a major participant and contributor on global 5G technology and standardization research activities, with proactive participation in 5G standardization discussions.
During the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai last week, ZTE officially released its 5G end-to-end solutions, including its latest innovations in wireless technologies, bearer networks, and service applications, as well as its 5G core network white paper, presenting the technology route for 5G core network evolution and development.
Zhang Jianguo, senior vice president of ZTE, said the group was willing to go all out with industry partners in standards, spectrum, technology, architecture, practices, and other ecosystem fields in order to make 5G a reality.