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China's patent applications see V-shaped rebound in first 4 months

Updated: May 25, 2020 Xinhua Print
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China's patent applications have posted a V-shaped rebound in the first four months of this year, despite the shock from the COVID-19 epidemic, according to official data.

From January to April, the number of patent applications on the Chinese mainland was 1.32 million, an increase of 5.7 percent year-on-year, the National Intellectual Property Administration (NIPA) said in a statement.

Affected by the epidemic, the number of patent applications in February were down by 33.2 percent compared with the same period last year, but rebounded quickly in March, with a year-on-year growth of 10.5 percent. In April, the growth rate further accelerated to 15.7 percent.

The sharp turnaround shows that market entities have fostered innovation to improve their ability to respond to the epidemic, the statement said.

The NIPA also reports an 8.1-percent increase in domestic enterprise patent filings in the first four months, and high-tech enterprises are the backbone driving the growth.

Out of the 65,000 enterprises on the Chinese mainland that applied for invention patents, about 29,000 are in high-tech industries, accounting for 44.6 percent. The data indicates each high-tech enterprise has applied for 4.9 patents over the past four months.

The number of patent filings by domestic pharmaceutical and medical enterprises grew faster still, with 9,000 invention patents from January to April, up 8.4 percent year-on-year and 9 percentage points higher than the overall growth rate.

Foreign applicants in China filed 60,000 patent applications in the past four months, a 1.7-percent drop from the same period in 2019. However, patent applications of countries along the Belt and Road reached 10,000 in China, a 3.8-percent year-on-year rise.

Foreign patent filings declined 39.9 percent in February, but rose 31.3 percent in March and 1.2 percent in April.

This continued growth of foreign patent applications shows that foreign investors still have confidence in the Chinese market during the epidemic, the NIPA statement said.

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