Building Innovative Ecosystems
Edited by John Sibley Butler and David V. Gibson
Chapter 1: Technology Commercialization in Chinese Universities: An Innovation System Approach
* Lan Xue and Ling Zhou INTRODUCTION 1 In recent years, the rise of the knowledge economy has led to the recognition of the essential role of technological innovation in economic development. The concept of an ‘innovation system’ has been adopted to explain mechanisms of knowledge creation and dissemination at the national, regional, and sectoral levels (Freeman, 1987; Lundvall, 1992, Nelson, 1993; Saxenian, 1994; Breschi and Malerba, 1997; Edquist, 1997). A primary focus of these studies is on the role of different actors of innovative activities and the interaction among them. In particular, many have focused on the new roles of universities in the division of labor in national innovation systems and their roles in technology commercialization. While the innovation system approach presents a useful framework for examining the role of universities from an institutional perspective, most of these studies are based on the experience of industrialized countries. In recent years, researchers have already considered these issues sporadically within the setting of a developing country such as China. However, comprehensive and systematic descriptions of the whole system remain absent. The Chinese experience is interesting not only because China is a large developing country, but also because it is moving toward a market economy with a centralized innovation system in transition. The university–market linkage in China offers a unique case to study the evolving institutional relationships between academia and industry, since China’s innovation system has experienced dramatic change over the last two decades. The development of university–market linkages has been...