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(originally published by Booz & Company)


China’s Long Road to Innovation

But Western experience suggests that governments cannot dictate the pace of innovation and that Chinese enterprises and companies will have to take up the challenge in earnest if China is to take the leap made by Japan and South Korea to become world-class competitors. Unless that happens, China may still become the world’s largest economy, but it will not achieve its dream of being a true economic superpower.

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William J. Holstein is a contributing editor of strategy+business. A veteran business journalist and author, he is based in New York. For more of his work, visit
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  1. Benjamin Bai, Anthony Chen, and Marcus Woo, “Traps for the Unwary,” Managing Intellectual Property, China IP Focus, April 2008: The difficulties of licensing intellectual property in China. 
  2. Christoph Alexander Bliss, Ronald Haddock, and Kaj Grichnik, “China’s Shifting Competitive Equation,” s+b Leading Ideas Online, 3/18/08: Western multinationals are adapting their approach to the Chinese market in view of rising labor costs and a shifting currency.
  3. William J. Holstein, “Protecting the Company Jewels in an Unprotected Country,” s+b Leading Ideas Online, 7/03/07: Western companies are using a variety of techniques to protect their technology in China.
  4. Gordon Redding and Michael A. Witt, “The Future of Chinese Capitalism,” INSEAD Podcast, August 2008, The authors of The Future of Chinese Capitalism: Choices and Chances comment further on China’s technological ambitions.
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