BEIJING – China wants Western technology. It also wants to export its own technology to the West. The key question is whether the rest of the world will be willing to go along given the widely held belief that China is the "knockoff capital of the universe."
When Zhongguancun Haidian Science Park, China’s foremost high-tech cluster located in Beijing's Haidian district, held its annual conference here this week, organizers boldly put “technology transfer” at the top of their agenda. More than 2,000 attendees showed up, including Chinese government officials and academics along with executives from the U.S., Europe and elsewhere in Asia.
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For China, technology transfer is essential to narrowing the innovation gap. It’s critical to Beijing's global strategy, according to both international and Chinese representatives at the forum.
Beijing, on one hand, demands active development of indigenous technologies by setting a lofty national goal for Chinese scientists and engineers to file 2 million patents annually by 2015. Still, China is keenly aware of its chronic technology gap with the West, and knows that it can’t catch up by going it alone.
IP rights were a hot topic at the Zhongguancun Haidian Science Park conference.
Caught between what seems like two contradictory approaches to IP protection (internal development vs. technology transfer), one Chinese attendee asked the panel (above): “To what extent should we rely on foreign countries for innovations?”