Science, technology and innovation policy

China is now a global R&D player, but needs further reform to foster domestic innovation, says OECD


12 September 2008

Just published: OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy: China


Offering an in-depth and comprehensive assessment of China’s innovation policy and performance, this new OECD publication confirms that China is now a global player in research and development (R&D). China spends as much as Germany on R&D, and accounts for a similar share in worldwide S&T publications. Yet China lags in innovation capability and performance compared to OECD countries with similar R&D investment. Foreign investment in R&D has grown very rapidly in recent years and plays a significant role in China’s national innovation system.


Provided that reforms are made, as recommended by the OECD report, China has the potential to become a major innovation player in the near future. This should benefit both China and the rest of the world, as stronger innovation in China will contribute to the global knowledge economy and to addressing global challenges. To manage its smooth integration into the global knowledge economy, China and OECD countries need to maintain a spirit of dialogue and co-operation, notably on issues such as IPR, technology transfer and technology standards.


Using the latest available data, this publication expands upon a preliminary synthesis report released in August 2007. It includes an updated synthesis report, presenting key findings as well policy recommendations. The 11 thematic chapters provide detailed analysis of the key dimensions of the Chinese innovation system and its governance, including issues that have received little attention, such as the role of technology procurement, governance issues and the regional dimensions of innovation. The six substantive annexes offer supplementary, detailed information of interest to specialists and researchers.


China is not a member of the OECD but it participates in OECD work as an observer on some OECD Committees. The OECD review of China’s innovation system is part of a co-operation programme launched in 1995 as part of the OECD’s outreach to non-member countries. The OECD has already published a number of other studies on China, including reviews of the Chinese economy, governance in China, and policies to attract foreign direct investment.


Further information, including the table of contents, a downloadable executive summary, and details on how to obtain this publication or browse the full report on line are available at:

To receive a copy of the publication, journalists are invited to contact the OECD’s Media Division (tel.: +33-1 4524 9700). For further information, journalists may contact Jean Guinet ( or Gang Zhang ( of the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry.

For more information on the OECD and China: (in English) (in Chinese)