China’s 100 Most Innovative Companies in 2016 Span 23 Industries

China’s 100 Most Innovative Companies in 2016 Span 23 Industries with Automotive, Domestic Appliances, Electric Power Generation & Supply Sectors Leading the Way

Key findings by Clarivate Analytics show good mix of state-owned and private enterprises

BEIJING, 8 December 2016 – China’s most innovative companies in 2016 have been identified in the 2016 Top 100 Chinese Innovators report launched today by Clarivate Analytics, formerly the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters. The inaugural report focuses on China’s 100 most innovative enterprises, which cross 23 different industries. Most companies are from the automotive, domestic appliances and electric power generation and supply sectors.

This report created by Clarivate Analytics is based on rigorous analysis of four main criteria comprising patent volume, patent-grant success rate, invention influence (as evidenced by citations to an organization’s patents over the most recent five years) and global reach – essentially the ration of inventions filed for protection in countries outside China versus the total volume for that period. The analysis covers companies in mainland China only and excludes Hong Kong and Macao.

Here are some of the report’s key findings:

  • China’s most innovative companies span 23 different fields and industries, ranging from Primary Metals and Electricity, to Telecom Services and Media Internet. Automotive is the most innovative industry with automakers who invest R&D in not only traditional family cars, commercial and engineering vehicles, but also technologies for the future such as eco-friendly vehicles and self-driving cars. These innovative automakers include large state-owned-enterprises (SOEs) such as Dongfeng Motor Corporation and Beijing Automotive Group Co., Ltd., as well as rising private enterprises including BYD and Great Wall Motors.
  • The Domestic Appliances and Electrical Equipment and Electric Power Generation and Supply sectors follow closely behind the automobile industry with eight companies each on the list. Chinese domestic appliance manufacturers include household names Midea, Haier, Gree and TCL. In the electric power industry, most of the corporations are SOEs with advantages in capital and human resources, leading to high innovation capability. The remaining two private enterprises, Trina Solar and Hanergy Holding Group Ltd., are rising stars in the market.
  • There are five Media Internet companies in the list. Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, the three industry giants collectively known in China as “BAT”, are all leading companies in terms of global reach, and they represent the Chinese internet to the world. The internet has been instrumental in bridging communication across borders and Chinese Media Internet companies are expected to build on this momentum and continue to innovate.
  • Only 15 of the total 32 provinces of China are represented in the list, indicating that innovative Chinese companies are concentrated in the eastern region of the country, largely north China, east China and mid-south China. A total of 43 companies, or almost half of the top 100 Chinese innovators listed are headquartered in Beijing, China’s capital, clearly the innovation forerunner in mainland China. The municipal government had fully implemented the “Science & Technology Beijing” strategy as early as the “12th FYP” or “12th Five-Year Plans” period of Beijing. By utilizing the Zhong Guan Cun National Demonstration Zone for Independent Innovation, the government provided institutional and policy guidance for core elements of innovation such as talent, capital and technology, and created the mechanism to encourage and sustain innovation. One can see that policy support and healthy economic conditions in China play a key role in the innovation development of domestic enterprises.
  • Globalization analysis clearly shows that mainland Chinese enterprises are inclined to focus on protecting innovation in the domestic market. Notable exceptions to this include Huawei with filings across 16 countries and Alibaba with filings across 11 international regions. The influence metric measures the external influence of an organization’s innovation. The top 20 companies ranked according to this metric are from 14 different industries including traditional industries such as Construction and Petroleum and Chemical Products. However, no clear trend has emerged yet despite the presence of organizations from 14 of the 23 industry sectors in this Top 20 list.

The 13th FYP adopted by China on Mar 15, 2016 defined innovation as one of the Five Concepts of Development. The Chinese government has also stated clearly its intent to “strengthen the main body of innovation, lead innovation development and foster world-class innovative enterprises” in its National Strategic Framework for Innovation-Driven Development.

“As the world’s second largest economy after the US and the largest commodity exporter, China is now transforming itself from ‘the world’s factory’ to becoming an innovation leader committed to rejuvenating the global economy. China’s national globalization strategy will become the new modus operandi for domestic enterprises, making independent technological innovation the decisive factor for competitiveness,” said Linda Guo, managing director of China for Clarivate Analytics. “The Top 100 Chinese Innovators 2016 have not only demonstrated their dedication to constant innovation, but also the inherent potential of Chinese enterprises to become more competitive internationally. At Clarivate, we have a long tradition of helping our customers accelerate the pace of innovation with our trusted insights and analytics.”

The report used patent information and data collected from the Derwent World Patents Index and Derwent Patents Citation Indexbetween 2011 and 2015. The report is available for download here in English and here in Mandarin.


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