Chinese innovation is evolving in diverse ways and at an uneven pace across a range of different industries.
1) GM China president Kevin Wale explains the importance of team-based innovation efforts in China and describes GM’s rapidly growing Advanced Technical Center in Shanghai. He also observes that innovation in China’s auto industry is more about commercialization models than technical achievements.
What China does better than any place else in the world is to innovate by commercialization, as opposed to constant research and perfecting the theory, like the West.
When the Chinese get an idea, they test it in the marketplace. They’re happy to do three to four rounds of commercialization to get an idea right, whereas in the West companies spend the same amount of time on research, testing, and validation before trying to take products to market.
2) The semiconductor industry is a powerful example of the tension surrounding China’s potential for innovation. For two decades they have sought to create a more potent domestic semiconductor industry—with mixed results.
3) AstraZeneca's R&D focuses on unique disease mechanisms in China. Certain diseases have high prevalence and, in many cases, could have different populations or different disease etiologies, presenting a white space on which R&D innovation can focus.