East Asia has three different stories when it comes to world class patents in cutting-edge technologies: One each for China, South Korea, and Japan. In particular China and South Korea have shown a unique increase in innovation power during the last two decades. Here is a summary of the findings from our new study

Having a look at what is important

Our analysis looks at the top ten percent of patents in 58 cutting-edge technologies. We identify the best patents in those cutting-edge technologies by considering the market coverage and citation by official examiners of the active patent portfolio. Taking such an approach gives a more realistic picture of the patent situation around the world.

China’s share in world class patents is soaring

Especially since the beginning of the 2010s, the Chinese share of world class patents has been soaring. Chinese companies are focusing more and more on research and development. They no longer want to be the “workbench of the world”, but take a well-thought-out industrial policy approach with their strategy “Made in China 2025” (MIC 2025). Within MIC 2025, China defines ten key sectors with future relevance in which they want to reach a preeminent position in the world. It seems they will do so soon.


Considering its size, South Korea does pretty well

South Korea is the only country under detailed consideration in our study which shows similar growth dynamics as China. It scores particularly well in the crucial next-generation network 5G and in digital technologies. Those strengths could pay back twice in the future as they are highly relevant to the proliferation of other technologies. There is much more to expect from South Korea!

cloud computing

Japan plays an ambivalent role

The Japanese story in world class patents is an ambivalent story to tell. Japan exhibits and defends certain strengths such as battery tech and electric vehicles. There it is in a leading position. But in other technologies, Japan is quickly losing ground. Japan, as well as many European countries, need to put a stronger focus on important cross-sectional digital technologies.

electric vehicles chart

Still more to come

In our last post, we gave a summary of our study on world class patents in cutting-edge technologies. Here we concentrated the East Asian countries China, South Korea, and Japan. During the next weeks, we will take a closer look at North American and European countries.