China is driving Asian-led growth in innovation worldwide, becoming the first country to file 1 million patent applications in a single year, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization. Tara Joseph reports
If medals could be handed out for innovation - China would be bringing home the gold. New data showing the world's number two economy broke the one million mark for patent applications in 2015... That's a first for any country on the planet. The UN's World Intellectual Property Organization says China also eclipsed the United States, which came in second with just over half a million applications. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TARA JOSEPH, REUTERS REPORTER, SAYING: "For years, people have questioned - and doubted - whether China can rival the likes of the US when it comes to innovation, often accusing it of copying ideas and making them cheaper. But more recently, China has made a gigantic leap forward in the sphere of R&D. Funding labs around the world - and building its own innovation centres in cities like tech hub Shenzhen. A clear signs it's serious about moving up." But for anyone wondering if China could be on course to overtake the US when it comes to innovation - a closer look at the IP figures suggest it's still early days. Beijing has been urging companies to rapidly boost the number of IP applications. Many of the designs submitted have been very basic.... And most applications have been filed within the country.... By contrast, American and European inventors have sought five times the number of international patents. For now the U.S. is still the clear leader when it comes to tech development.... But China is visibly raising the stakes... on a mission to move beyond its traditional role as the world's factory floor.