Sure bet or scientometric mirage? An assessment of Chinese progress in nanotechnology

Can Huang & Yilin Wu


After launching its national strategy to promote nanotechnology development in 2001, China has devoted an increasing amount of R&D investment from government and industry to the field, produced a soaring number of scientific publications, established several new specialized institutions, and expanded its postgraduate programs in related subjects. The hope that China can pass through a window of opportunity to catch up and become a leading nation in nanotechnology has never been higher. However, an evaluation of the Chinese performance according to targets set in the national strategy suggests that China has lagged behind most advanced countries in terms of the impact (citations) of its scientific research. China has not yet performed satisfactorily in the areas of commercialization and application of the technology either, due to the limited technological capabilities of indigenous companies and a lack of incentives for them to actively engage in commercialization and industrial development.

Keywords: Nanotechnology; China; R&D; Technological Catching-up

JEL codes: O14, O33, O38

UNU-MERIT Working Papers ISSN 1871-9872

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