China's innovation policies: Evolution, institutional structure, and trajectory

Feng Chao Liu, Denis Fred Simon, Yu Tao Sun, Cong Cao

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

207 Citations (Scopus)


China has transformed itself from a planning to a market-oriented economy over the past three decades and has sustained a fairly long period of rapid economic growth, to which the contributions from innovation in science and technology (S&T) have become increasingly important. Then, how have China's innovation policies evolved to reflect the changing and supposedly better understanding of innovation by China's policy makers? The paper tries to answer this question through a quantitative analysis of 287 policies issued by China's central government agencies between 1980 and 2005 and of 79 policies introduced between 2006 and 2008 to implement the Medium- and Long-Term Plan for the Development of Science and Technology (2006-2020). China has shifted its S&T and industrial policy-centered innovation strategy and has pursued a series of better coordinated, innovation-oriented economic and technology initiatives that give greater attention to a portfolio of policies that include critical financial, tax, and fiscal measures. There has been a gradual departure from the pattern in which innovation policies are formulated by one single government agency, therefore steering China to a different and probably more promising innovation trajectory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)917-931
Number of pages15
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • Evolution
  • Innovation policies
  • Institution
  • State

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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