China becomes an innovator

Made in China: the new engineering dynasty

Instead of disruptive innovations, Chinese companies are relying more on micro-innovation - the successive improvement of existing ideas. This approach allows a cheaper and more efficient process for new products or ideas. While grandiose ideas and disruptive changes are celebrated in the West, in China they are often viewed as careless. Yet the Chinese mentality does not fundamentally stand in the way of a large-scale economic realignment that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation. For the World Bank, China's aspirations to become a global innovation leader look largely realistic. In the “China 2030” study, the World Bank states that the country is investing a tremendous amount of money in research and development, has improved the education system, supported innovative companies and is increasingly developing an entrepreneurial business culture that promotes startups.

Actually, this policy also fits in well with the self-image of the Chinese: The country in the middle sees itself as a great nation of inventors, discoverers and conquerors. From papermaking to gunpowder to the compass - many fundamental inventions come from China. China's self-image: the land of inventors, explorers and conquerors Oppression during colonialism by the English and later the Japanese invasion caused severe economic damage to the country and has caused national self-esteem to suffer to this day. During the phase of isolation under Mao, the once proud China with its cultural pioneering role in Asia disappeared behind the iron curtain for some time and played a minor role in world politics. But since Deng Xiaoping's policy of opening up in the 1980s, today's economic power has grown stronger. The tiger leaps of the noughties are now followed by a phase in which the really profound changes take place quietly.

The new course: innovation and more sustainable growth

Today's number of patent applications and growing corporate R&D spending show that China is currently working hard to lead the way in terms of ingenuity and innovation. Former Prime Minister Wen Jiabao leaves no doubt about the importance of innovation: “There is only hope for a nation if it relies on information and intelligence. She has no hope if she only copies and copies. "

The radical realignment becomes clear in the Chinese leadership's new five-year plan. Prosperity should be distributed more evenly, the social safety net improved and domestic consumption expanded. Imprudent prestige projects such as the Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric power station in the world, are to give way to more sustainable growth. In order to put the sometimes unstable economic development on solid ground, percentage growth rates and gross domestic product are no longer considered as indicators of success, but a bundle of economic, social and ecological factors. In fact, the quality of life of the Chinese is also beginning to play a role in politics.