Chinese patents surpassed 3 million in 2022 as Beijing pursues innovation strategy

17/1 2023 16:00

Chinese inventors filed more than 3 million patents last year, the first country in the world to reach that milestone, as the second-largest economy strives to transform into an innovation-driven super power.

In 2022, the total number of invention patents filed in China reached 4.21 million, of which 3.28 million were held by inventors from mainland China, officials from the National Intellectual Property Administration (NIPA) said at a press conference on Monday.

While innovation is the primary driving force for technology development, patents are often considered one of the key indicators of innovative activities.

The number of high-value patents increased by 24.2 per cent year on year to 1.32 million, or 9.4 patents per 10,000 people, up from 1.9 per 10,000 in 2021, reflecting the improvement in the quality of China’s intellectual property invention, according to the NIPA.

To qualify as a “high-value patent” for Chinese statistical purposes, they must relate to strategic emerging industries, be valid for more than 10 years, or have won a state award.

In its 14th five-year plan, the central government set a target of 12 high-value invention patents per 10,000 people by 2025.

High-value patents related to strategic emerging industries totalled 952,000 in 2022, up 18.7 per cent year on year, accounting for 71.9 per cent of the total.

A total of 355,000 enterprises in China hold invention patents, up 21.8 per cent from 2021. Among them, hi-tech enterprises and “little giants” – smaller businesses with special products and know-how in their sector – owned 1.512 million valid invention patents, accounting for 65.1 per cent of the total.