The Patterns of Patents in China

32 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2015

See all articles by Zhuan Xie

Zhuan Xie

Peking University

Xiaobo Zhang

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Date Written: November 7, 2014


Innovations are a key driver of long-term economic growth. There has been an explosion of patent filings in China in the past three decades. But empirical studies on the pattern of innovations at the firm level are rather scant primarily due to lack of firm-specific patent data. We have made concerted efforts to match Chinese patent data with a large firm-level database. The matched dataset enables us to examine the patterns of patents at the firm level. Our analysis has revealed several interesting patterns: (1) domestic firms have become increasingly more innovative in terms of patent application; (2) private firms, rather than state-owned enterprises, have been the engine of innovation; (3) rising wages have propelled labor-intensive sectors to become more innovative; and (4) in response to increasing sex ratio imbalances, firms in female-intensive industries have exhibited more innovations than those in male-intensive industries.

Keywords: China, East Asia, Asia, Innovation, Patents, Intellectual Property, Economic Development, Gender, Women, Microeconomics

JEL Classification: O12, O31, O53

Suggested Citation

Xie, Zhuan and Zhang, Xiaobo, The Patterns of Patents in China (November 7, 2014). IFPRI Discussion Paper 01385, Available at SSRN:

Zhuan Xie

Peking University ( email )

No. 38 Xueyuan Road
Haidian District
Beijing, Beijing 100871

Xiaobo Zhang (Contact Author)

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

2033 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
United States
202-862-5677 (Phone)
202-467-4439 (Fax)

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