A woman using a smartphone in a store. Photo: iStock
A woman using a smartphone in a store. Photo: iStock

ZTE Corp has emerged as one of the top five leading companies in terms of patent applications in China, despite the disruptions the company has faced.

According to data from the State Intellectual Property Office, China’s second largest telecom operator registered 1,028 patents in the first half of this year.

ZTE, which signed an agreement this week with the United States to lift the near three-month ban which stopped the company buying American components, ranked in the top five behind Huawei Technologies (1,775 patents), Sinopec (1.569), Oppo (1,520) and National Grid (1,242).

The number of patents in China are expected to increase as Beijing vowed to use more resources to strengthen its tech industries because of the Sino-American trade war.

Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told Global Times that the motivation for innovation had not been strong in the past because China’s industrial development had relied on technology supplied by other countries.

However, due to the trade war, China intends to strengthen its innovation capability, Bai said. According to the China daily, A total of 751,000 applications for patents were handled in China in the first half of 2018 as strong growth in the area continued, according to the State Intellectual Property Office. The paper added that at the end of June, China had 1.47 million registered patents, the equivalent to 10.6 patents for every 10,000 people.

For the first time, China made it into the top 20 countries in the Global Innovation Index this year. Released earlier this week, the index compiled by Cornell University, Insead and the World Intellectual Property Organization, showed China ranked No. 17 in the world ahead of Canada, Australia and Norway.

China, which was No. 22 last year, was ranked behind Singapore (No. 5), South Korea (No. 12), Japan (No. 13) and Hong Kong (No. 14). There is still a long way to go before China will catch up with the major powers in innovation and technology, but the country is making headway.

Read: Why ‘technology’ is now a sensitive word in China

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