Patents are the manifestation of the industry's research and development (R&D) endeavor; therefore, this paper studies the industry evolution of and key technologies in China from the perspective of patent analysis. Patents in six types of industries, including Chemical (excluding Drugs), Computers and Communications, Drugs and Medical, Electrical and Electronics (E&E), Mechanical, and Others are analyzed in this study. Findings from the analysis show a steady increase of US granted utility patents in China as well as percentage of these patents in the world over the period between 2003 and 2008. All the above industries in China have been growing rapidly during this period, which is very different from the global industry development. Despite the rapid development, the citation rates of these patents have been low, reflecting a need for improvement in the quality of patents and R&D performance for these six industries in China in order to exert more influence in the industry world. The analysis on patents also reveals China's industry distribution to be similar to the global industry distribution, with the exception of E&E industry which weights over one third of the total patents in technologies. The E&E industry is also the field with largest economic growth which rises more rapidly after 2006 with a sudden increase of patents in USPC 361. Detailed tracking of the key technology evolution reveals that 90% of the newly issued patents in USPC 361 after 2006 are owned by Foxconn Technology Co., Ltd, pointing to an unbalanced R&D environment in China's E&E industry sector. By providing the insight into the evolution of China's industrial and technological development through the perspective of patent analysis, this paper hopes to provide an objective statistic reference for future policy directions and academic researches.
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