China is steadily climbing the world rankings for worldwide innovation.
According to the latest Global Innovation Index, just released in Geneva in Switzerland, while Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United States and the UK remain the world's most-innovative countries, China is gradually catching up.
Global Innovation Index 2017 report [Photo: China Plus]
As the first-ever middle-income country to join the world's top 25 innovative economies last year, China continues to move up the list, jumping three places this year.
A closer look at the statistics shows that China in 22nd position overall this year - moves up one spot to 16th position in terms of innovation quality, and has retained its position for the fifth consecutive year as the top middle-income economy.
This movement can be attributed to a number of indicators, including domestic market scale, knowledge workers, patents by origin, high-tech exports, and industrial designs by origin.
Francis Gurry, Director General of World Intellectual Property Organization is full of praise for China's global performance in the past two years.
"China significantly rose from 25 to 22. That is very significant because the first 20 or 25 highest performances in the Global Innovation Index tend to be industrialized developed countries, Europe, North America and Japan. And what we see with China is for the first time a middle income country coming into the mix of high income countries in terms of innovation performance and steady improvement all the time," he noted.
WIPO Director General Francis Gurry presents the Global Innovation Index 2017 at a press conference taking place at the United Nations Office at Geneva. [Photo: WIPO]
European countries take eight out of the top 10 places, with Switzerland keeping its No. 1 position for the seventh year in a row. It's followed by Sweden and the Netherlands; the latter leaping from ninth place last year to third in the 2017 rankings.
The United States remains at fourth, followed by the UK and Denmark. The rest of the top 10 are Singapore, Finland, Germany and Ireland.
The index findings also reveal a large gap between developed and developing nations. The difference in average scores between the two groups is expanding in many indicators including institutions, creative outputs, knowledge and technology outputs.
Soumitra Dutta is Dean of SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University. He says efforts to bridge the innovation divide must start with helping emerging economies understand their innovation strengths and weaknesses.
"Developing economies have to focus on policies and investment strategies to decrease the gap with rich economies, because the gap is a real gap," he said. "And at the same time we see examples of some countries that successfully close in gaps, so we need more of those successful closures of gap across the world."
List of 2017 Global Innovation Index top 25 [Photo: WIPO]
This year's Global Innovation Index took the theme "Innovation Feeding the World." It reviews the state of innovation in world agriculture and food systems.
The report foresees innovation as the key to sustainable food production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste management in the next decades, when agriculture and the food sector will face an enormous rise in global demand and increased competition for limited natural resources.
Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director for Global Indices at the European Institute of Business Administration said: "To face the pending food crisis, innovation has a critical role to play. We need to move from digital agriculture, by which drones, satellite base sensors, field robotics are spreading quickly, including to the emerging countries, to what I would call smart agriculture, we have to look not only at food production capabilities, but also distribution, transport, the challenge to alleviate the pressure on using natural resources, especially land and energy, while attending to the needs of the poorest."
Jointly released by the World Intellectual Property Organization, Cornell University, and the European Institute of Business Administration, the 2017 Global Innovation Index is in its 10th year.
Using as many as 81 indicators ranging from patent filings to education spending, the index provides detailed metrics about the innovation performance of some 130 countries and economies around the world each year.
The rankings are now a leading benchmarking tool for business executives, policy makers and others who seek insight into the state of innovation around the world.