Implications of China’s on-going dependence on foreign technology

This paper examines the on-going high level of dependency of China’s economy on foreign sources of technology during the period since accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Because this dependency is a major cause of concern for China’s leaders and policymakers, they have sought to shift the direction of the economy particularly since 2006 towards a greater focus on indigenous innovation. Achieving such a major transformation, however, in an era when much of China’s economic activity has become integrated within the global value chains of major corporations, is very challenging, and the evidence to date suggests only a modest level of success on the part of Chinese companies to substitute for the on-going dominant position of foreign companies particularly in China’s high technology sectors. Some progress has been made, however, in the private sector’s share of economic activity in contrast to the declining share of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).

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