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Will China Ever be on the Cutting Edge of Global Innovation?

Innovation is a critical component of a national power. Countries that develop new products or methods of production are able to generate wealth by producing desirable goods. This creative process often entails the development of new technology, which in turn can form the foundation of further innovation. New technology can also contribute to social well-being, the development of new industries, and improved military capabilities. Examining Chinese innovation, therefore, provides key insights into the country’s expanding international influence.

What makes some countries stronger in innovation than others and does China have these qualities?

Tse: Clearly there are also different types of innovation. Innovation that is driven by technology or technological development and innovation that is driven by … business model changes.

Tse: China has now become the wellspring ground for business innovation.

Are most of China’s innovation leaders foreign educated or are they a product of the Chinese education system?

Tse: If you look at this range of entrepreneurs and the different generations of entrepreneurs, by definition the first generation and the second generation of entrepreneurs were primarily if not exclusively locally educated or not educated.

Tse: here’s not exactly a very clear pattern whether or not an education outside of China actually is required or is a key ingredient for being successful as an entrepreneur in China.

Do startups in China face more or less regulation than startups elsewhere in Asia or around the world?

Tse: By definition policy and regulation are always behind the times. No government in the world, the Chinese government included, can predict precisely and exactly what new developments are going to happen and therefore come up with policy ahead of time. In that respect I think that the Chinese entrepreneurs have been quite courageous and bold.

What steps can China take to more effectively promote innovation?

Tse: The Chinese government has been very supportive of innovation. The Chinese government have actually made innovation and entrepreneurship a priority for the national strategy going forward. And in fact Premier Li Keqiang has repeatedly said that he wants everybody to be entrepreneurs and everybody to be innovative.

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Founder & CEO of Gao Feng Advisory Company, a global strategy and management consulting firm with roots in China. —learn more

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