China joins top 25 most innovative economies

China now ranks among the world’s top 25 most innovative economies says a report co-authored by the intellectual property agency of the United Nations.

This is the first time that an emerging economy has joined the ranks that until now have been occupied by upper middle and upper income countries, says Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Gurry says China’s rise (it was in 29th position last year) reflects the enormous transition currently taking place in the country’s economy, as summed up in the phrase “moving from Made in China to Created in China.”

top 25 most innovative economiesSwitzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Finland are the top five most innovative economies in the world in 2016, according to an annual report co-sponsored by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations. China appears in the top 25 for the first time. Data from Global Innovation Index 2016.

The Index provides a ranking based on 82 indicators of innovation capacity and performance of 128 countries around the world. It considers factors such as volume of scientific publications, quality of leading universities, and the number of international patents filed.


Innovation in enterprises involves producing new products and services, novel business models, or new process methods.


China prioritizes innovation

Co-author Soumitra Dutta, a dean and professor at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, says China has invested heavily in education – there has been an enormous increase in numbers of graduates coming out of Chinese universities.

Plus, he says there is a lot investment happening in Chinese organizations. China also ranks highly on business sophistication, and the Chinese government have put innovation as one of the top priorities in the strategic plan for the entire country.



In order, the top six slots in the 2016 edition of the Global Innovation Index are given to: Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, Finland, and Singapore.

Co-author Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director for Global Indices at INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France, says we are currently in a world where economic growth is slow and uneven, and “is likely to remain slow for a number of years.”

Such a climate puts pressure on public and private investment on research and development. However, Lanvin notes that one of the lessons they have learned from looking back on previous issues of the Index is that “stop and go policies can be very damaging.”

Some emerging economies becoming innovative economies

This the 9th edition of the Global Innovation Index, which comes out every year. The top slots have not changed much. For example, all the countries in this year’s top 10 were also in last year’s.

However, there is some interesting movement in the middle rankings. India, like China, is another one to watch. Ranked 66th in this year’s list, India is the top-ranked economy in the Central and Southern Asia region.

India shows particular strengths in tertiary education and research and development, and the quality of its universities and scientific publications. India also stands out as one of the innovative economies because it over-performs in innovation relative to its GDP.

Gurry says, “In the current environment, innovation assumes particular significance because of its potential to open up new avenues of economic growth.”

He explains that a large number of factors have to come together in a country to foster what he calls the nation’s “innovation ecosystem,” and he hopes the Index will give policymakers some ideas about what to do to help their countries join the ranks of the most innovative economies.



This year the Global Innovation Index focuses particularly on international collaboration in innovation.

Lanvin says there is evidence in the Index that those countries with open border policies about innovation have proved more successful in general.

Also, he expects to see more emerging economies joining China and India and stepping into the global innovation arena.

Video – Press conference

In the following video of a press conference that took place in Geneva, Switzerland on 15th August, Gurry and Lanvin present the Global Innovation Index 2016 and highlight its economic relevance.