Ever since the emergence of the knowledge-based economic model some 20 years ago, “innovation” has become the key to a successful economy and has touched almost every aspect of our daily lives.
In 2007, the INSEAD Business School and World Business magazine co-launched the Global Innovation Index (GII), the first comprehensive international benchmark against which a country’s innovation capacity can be measured. Following years of enhancement of its methodology, today the index has become a widely used tool to measure a country’s innovation capability.
According to the latest GII rankings, the US, Britain and France have been steadily climbing up the chart over the past four years, while Switzerland, a tiny country with a population slightly larger than that of Hong Kong, has remained No.1 for six consecutive years since 2011.
As far as Hong Kong is concerned, it has dropped from the 8th place four years ago to 14th this year, while prime competitor Singapore is down from the 3rd place to 6th during the same period of time.
According to the GII, Hong Kong’s decline in world rankings is largely due to perceived deterioration in rule of law, quality of regulation, market sophistication and creative output.
In contrast, China is up from the 34th place four years ago to No. 25 this year.
However, China has actually been employing a trick to boost its GII world rankings, something that has become an open secret.
The trick is this: copy some new products and trademarks that have been patented overseas, slightly change them, and then re-patent them in the mainland, so that China can always stay on top of the world in terms of the number of patent registration cases.
Meanwhile, China has also put a lot of effort into boosting its GII world rankings through expanding its hi-tech imports and exports such as arms.
Despite using these tricks, the country only managed to advance 9 places in four years, which is nothing compared to what Turkey has achieved–jumping a whopping 32 places from the 74th place to No. 42 over the same four years.
I believe Turkey could potentially overtake China in world rankings in three years. Beijing better watch out.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov. 3
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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