The spectacular growth of industry in China has distracted many observers from the patchy performance of Chinese firms in high-tech sectors (and to a lesser extent medium-high). If one subtracts imported high-tech components, foreign-owned (or ‘-invested’) operations, and foreign intellectual property, not much high technology is left in most of these sectors. ‘We are hooked on joint ventures like opium’. Why is China, with its rapidly strengthening science base, R&D and patent portfolio, not catching up fast in high-tech? Tylecote argue that it has fundamental weaknesses on the demand and supply sides which have not been addressed and that in at least one key area, public sector purchasing, there has been a recent retreat from a promising policy development.
Andrew Tylecote is Emeritus Professor of the Economics and Management of Technological Change at Sheffield University Management School. His research interests span management, economics, and economic history, with a general focus on the effects of institutions on technological change. Other interests include the effects of technological change on the world economy, in history and in prospect, and the role of appropriate technology in development (particularly in China). He has recently served as Visiting Professor at the Center for Research on Technological Innovation at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and at the National Institute for Innovation Management at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou. He is currently working on a book on the technological development of China, with Liu Jiajia.