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International technology transfer between China and the rest of the world

  • Authors: Giuditta De Prato and Daniel Nepelski
  • EUR Number: 25960 EN
  • Publication date: 5/2013


We study the patterns and drivers of international technology transfer to and from China and the rest of the world. Our analysis makes use of patent-based measures of cross-border ownership of inventions. To quantify these technology flows, we a patent database providing a worldwide coverage of patents. We use a gravity model to explain the drivers of the international technology transfer. Although China exhibits a large deficit in international technology transfer, the flow of technology from abroad to China intensifies as its absorptive capacity grows. Excluding Taiwan, the US and China relationship dominates the technology transfer between China and the rest of the world. This is even more emphasised by the relatively weak position of Japan and other Asian countries in the process of technology exchange with China. This is result is not affected by the fact that the US acts mainly as an acquirer of Chinese technology. Keywords: international technology transfer, cross-border ownership of inventions, patent analysis, China JEL classification: D8, F23, O14, O30, O57

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