January 2, 2016

WTF Comparison of the Day:
India vs China in Innovation

Patents filed by China in 2013: 704,936

Patents filed by India from 1960 to 2013: 129,529

Yes - The number of patent filings by China in 2013 is more than the filings by India from 1960 to 2013! 

The number of filed patents is perhaps the best metric to capture a country's innovation index. Thus, while China has decided to surge ahead, India has decided to surge behind. 

Narendra Modi, the globetrotting Indian Prime Minister, whose party received an overwhelming victory in the recent elections, thinks that genetic science existed in ancient India. Many of his countrymen and women truly believe him. 

Look Ma, No Democracy!

India is widely considered an innovation hub - a better center of innovation than even the US and China. Criticisms of Chinese successes - which is actually jealousy in disguise  - is focused almost solely on the government and its 'authoritative' rule.

China apparently just can't innovate - not because its people are not creative - but because of government meddling and restriction on freedom. And if that fails, you can always blame Chinese patents for lack of quality

The Chinese government 'orders' firms to innovate (it actually just offered subsidies, but no matter) and this 'fact' is used to further blame the 'authoritarian ' rule that 'stifles' innovation. Thankfully, the director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) starkly disagrees with such scheming journalism. 

In reality, Chinese firms avoid filing patents abroad due to the large costs and the lack of a foreign market presence. Yet this is somehow used to further tarnish Chinese capabilities. The situation is quite similar to the disgraceful reaction of Ye Shiwen's swimming prowess at the 2012 Summer Olympics, which again invoked a jingoistic response just because she was Chinese. 

India is largely spared from this orientalist stereotyping because it is a 'democracy'. China, on the other hand, is simply guilty even when it is innocent. One can almost hear them complain: 'How dare China innovate? It's not a democracy!'