Global Experience in Policy and Program Development
Edited by Sarfraz A. Mian
Chapter 15: China’s Emerging Innovation System: The Interplay between the Science and Technology Policy and Technology Entrepreneurship
Jian Gao, Xielin Liu and Marina Yue Zhang INTRODUCTION In the past three decades, China has experienced radical economic and institutional reforms that transformed it from a centrally planned economy into a relatively mature market economy. During that time, China has made tremendous progress in building its science and technology (S&T) capabilities. As a result, it is now the world’s second-largest economy after the USA, and holds the highest level of foreign exchange reserves. It can be argued that scientific research and technological innovation have been major driving forces behind China’s growth miracle. During the central planning era, the major beneficiaries of state-funded innovation programs were China’s large and industry-specific state-owned enterprises, designated by the central government as engines of economic and industrial growth. Today, the market-driven approach to innovation has benefited the growth of entrepreneurship and a wide range of economic activities. China’s approach to S&T as well as research and development (R&D) moved from a central planning and central funding mode to a mechanism driven by market competition, and S&T and R&D are relying increasingly on diversified sources of financial and human capital. In fact, China’s national innovation system (NIS) has, at the same time, experienced a systemic transformation (Liu and White, 2001). The framework of national innovation systems, developed by Freeman (1987), proposes that a nation’s innovative performance is determined not only by the innovative capabilities of actors in the system, but also by interactions of the actors in its unique institutional...
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