Chinese art on collapsible paper fans.

Innovation with Chinese Characteristics

China’s GDP growth has dominated global economic news this year. But, while concerns about growth certainly merit attention, they should be viewed in the context of China’s longer-term trajectory, especially its emergence as a global hub of innovation.

SHANGHAI – China’s slowing growth has dominated global economic news this year – and for good reason. Beyond being the world’s second-largest economy, China is the largest manufacturer and consumer of raw materials; so any sign of weakening there is bad news for the global economy. But, while concerns about growth certainly merit attention, they should be viewed in the context of China’s longer-term economic trajectory, especially its emergence as a global hub of innovation.

China is not given enough credit for how far it has come as an innovator. And yet, over the next decade, China could become not only the place where global companies conduct research and launch new products, but also the source of a low-cost and nimble approach to innovation that affects competition everywhere.

This conclusion is based on an in-depth research project by the McKinsey Global Institute, which aimed to gauge where China stands in terms of innovation, by measuring innovation’s true impact – that is, how commercialized ideas actually fare in markets worldwide.

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