Country Listing

China Table of Contents


Technology Markets and Joint Ventures

Commercializing technology requires markets, and China in the late 1980s had to develop market institutions to handle patents, the sale of technology, and consulting contracts. This was a major endeavor and one that promised to take many years. Deciding how to set prices for technology and how to write and enforce contracts for technical consulting proved difficult, largely because of the complexity of technology markets. Further, China lacked the legal and commercial frameworks to support such markets. Nevertheless, institutes and factories participated in "technology fairs" and established contractual relations in great numbers, with the total technology trade volume in 1986 reaching an estimated -Y2.3 billion. Research institutes and universities formed companies to sell technical services and develop products. Even the formerly self-contained Chinese Academy of Sciences set up companies to export specialty magnets and to develop optical products.

In the late 1980s, China's technology markets and efforts to commercialize scientific and technical knowledge were growing rapidly amid considerable confusion, ferment, and turmoil. Although progressing, the commercialization of technology was proving difficult to implement, and, perhaps for this reason, the State Council announced in February 1987 that most applied scientific research institutes were to be incorporated into large and mediumsized productive enterprises to coordinate research with the needs of production. The precise form the technology market would eventually take was not clear, but its development had wide support and was not likely to be halted or reversed.

Data as of July 1987