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观点:“自主创新”政策扼杀中国创新

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2011年 09月 01日 09:54
观点:“自主创新”政策扼杀中国创新
Anil K. Gupta / Haiyan Wang

国2006年发起的自主创新计划给世界科技巨头敲响的警钟,超过了1978年开始经济改革以来的其他任何政策措施。美国商会(U.S. Chamber of Commerce)最近一篇报告甚至把这一计划称为“一份以空前规模盗窃技术的蓝图”。

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自主创新计划的目标是让中国加快速度上升到科技阶梯的更高端。通过多种机制(比如外企进入中国市场就必须把尖端技术和研发实验室转移到中国),这个计划本来应该是有助于中国企业消化、吸收外企开发的自有技术并进行再度创新的。

人们对自主创新计划的几乎所有评估,都把它界定为一个有输有赢的设想──赢的是中国,输的是外国跨国公司。但我们的分析说明,自主创新政策对中国自身也起到了反作用。它并没有诱导科技巨头以更快速度把尖端研发工作转移到中国,而是产生了刚好相反的作用。

今天中国大约有1,000家外资所有的研发实验室。但这些实验室几乎全都是首先注重将国外形成的创新成果进行本地化改造,而不是针对全球市场开发尖端科技和产品。


科技企业高管急于利用中国人才的质量和规模。但考虑到这些自主创新措施,他们不相信在中国从事尖端研发是安全的。

跟印度比较一下就很能说明问题。印度没有类似于自主创新的规则。另外,政府也满足于在允许企业设立研发设施的同时,没有任何规定要求它们与本地合作伙伴等分享技术。

这些政策差异似乎对企业行为有着明显的影响。想想,2006年到2010年从美国专利商标局(U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)获得专利最多的10家美国科技巨头分别是:IBM、微软(Microsoft)、英特尔(Intel)、惠普(Hewlett- Packard)、美光(Micron)、通用电气(GE)、思科(Cisco)、德州仪器(Texas Instruments)、博通(Broadcom)和霍尼韦尔(Honeywell)。

这些公司中有一半似乎并没有在中国进行任何重要的研发工作。2006年至2010年,其中五家的中国子公司均未被美国专利商标局授予专利。相比之下,这10家公司中只有一家在印度开发出来的创新技术或产品未获得专利。

对这些公司来说,印度还证明有更加“肥沃的土壤”。这10家科技巨头在印度的实验室共获得1,119项专利,比位于中国的实验室同期获得的886项专利要多。

在公司层面上,两国的差距则更为惊人。在这10家公司中,有七家的印度实验室比中国实验室获得了更多专利,在印度和中国的专利总数分别为978项和164 项。只有微软和英特尔这两家公司在中国的强劲表现才拉高了中国实验室的专利总数,这两家公司中国实验室共获得了722项专利,而在印度获得了141项专利。

微软和英特尔的例外很能说明问题。与其他公司不同的是,微软和英特尔都在全球个人电脑行业的技术平台上拥有近乎垄断的地位。由于应用软件要在这些平台上运行,微软和英特尔不必太担心竞争对手剽窃其技术。尽管潜在客户的软件盗版行为令人担忧,却基本上是一种短期挑战。简而言之,微软和英特尔把中国变成其全球研发中心,恰恰是因为这两家公司不必太担心自主创新带来的不利后果。

鉴于中国对印度看似有三个主要优势,两国研发方面的差距就更加惊人了。中国的国内生产总值(GDP)是印度的三倍以上,中国的市场比印度的大得多。此外,中国在研发上的投资比印度高三倍,中国的博士生也比印度多得多。

然而,中国政府却成了绊脚石,因为政府从错误的角度看待这个问题。他们本应该为这些公司创造一个培养世界一流创新者的友好环境,而不是像现在这样试图从外国公司取得技术。

当一家技术巨头在北京或班加罗尔这样的新地点设立研发实验室时,有95%以上的研究人员是从当地聘用的。随着时间的推移,很多研究人员离职,利用他们获得的经验知识成立新公司或加入其他公司(常常是当地公司)。这类人员“溢出”是推动硅谷这样的创新之地发展的关键,甚至比分享具体的技术重要得多。

如果中国想成为全球技术领头羊,它需要有敞开的大门、强有力的知识产权保护措施并需要不偏向中国公司──这些政策恰恰与北京目前实施的一些自主创新措施背道而驰。

(更新完成)

(编者按:本文作者安纽•古普塔(Anil K. Gupta)为马里兰大学史密斯商学院丁曼(Michael D. Dingman)战略与创业中心主席,以及INSEAD商学院客座教授。王海燕是中印学会(China India Institute)董事合伙人。两人合撰有《企业如何正确制定中印战略》(Getting China and India Right)一书(Wiley出版社,2009年出版)。)

Beijing Is Stifling Chinese Innovation - Anil K. Gupta and Haiyan Wang
 
Anil K. Gupta / Haiyan Wang

China's indigenous innovation program, launched in 2006, has alarmed the world's technology giants more than any other policy measure since the start of economic reforms in 1978. A recent report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce even went so far as to call this program 'a blueprint for technology theft on a scale the world has not seen before.'

The goal of the indigenous innovation program is to accelerate China's move up the technology ladder. Using a variety of mechanisms (such as making access to China's market dependent on transfers of leading-edge technologies and R&D labs to China), the program supposedly helps Chinese companies assimilate, absorb and re-innovate upon the proprietary technology developed by foreign companies.

Virtually every assessment of the indigenous innovation program has framed it as a win-lose proposition -- a win for China and a loss for foreign multinationals. Our analysis, however, suggests that indigenous innovation measures have been counter-productive for China itself. Instead of inducing technology giants to shift leading-edge R&D work to China at a faster pace, its effect has been exactly the opposite.

China today hosts about 1,000 foreign-owned R&D labs. Yet, with rare exceptions, these labs focus primarily on local adaptations of innovations developed elsewhere, rather than the development of leading-edge technologies and products for global markets.

Tech company executives are eager to leverage the quality and scale of China's talent pool. However, given the indigenous-innovation measures, they do not trust China as a secure location for leading-edge R&D.

A comparison with India is illustrative. India has no equivalent to indigenous innovation rules. The government also is content to allow companies to set up R&D facilities without any rules about sharing technology with local partners or the like.

These policy differences appear to have a significant influence on corporate behavior. Consider the top 10 U.S.-based technology giants that received the most patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) between 2006 and 2010: IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Micron, GE, Cisco, Texas Instruments, Broadcom and Honeywell.

Half of these companies appear not to be doing any significant R&D work in China. Between 2006 and 2010, the U.S. PTO did not award a single patent to any China-based units of five out of the 10 companies. In contrast, only one of the 10 did not receive a patent for an innovation developed in India.

India also has proven more fertile territory for these companies. For the 10 tech giants taken together, India-based labs received more patents (1,119) than did China-based labs (886) during this period.

At a company level, the difference can be even more striking. For the seven out of 10 companies where Indian units received more patents than Chinese labs, the aggregate numbers were 978 vs. 164. Only a strong showing for China from two outliers, Microsoft and Intel, pulled up its aggregate filings -- Chinese labs at those two companies secured 722 patents compared to 141 from Indian labs.

Those exceptions to the rule are revealing. Unlike the others, both Microsoft and Intel have near-monopolies in technology platforms for the global PC industry. Since software applications are designed to run on these platforms, Microsoft and Intel have far less reason to be concerned about technology appropriation by competitors. While software piracy by potential customers is a concern, it is mostly a short-term challenge. In short, Microsoft and Intel leverage China as a global research hub precisely because these companies don't have to worry much about the downsides of indigenous innovation.

The R&D disparity is all the more striking given China's three seemingly major advantages over India. With a GDP more than three times larger, China offers a much bigger market than India. China also spends four times as much as India on R&D. And China produces a much larger number of Ph.D.s.

Yet Beijing is standing in the way, because it's looking at the problem from the wrong angle. Instead of trying to extract technology from foreign firms today, it should be creating a hospitable environment for these firms to create and train world-class innovators.

When a tech giant sets up an R&D lab in a new location such as Beijing or Bangalore, more than 95% of the researchers are hired locally. Over time, many of them leave and use the expertise they've acquired to start new ventures or join other, often local, companies. This kind of personnel 'spillover,' far more than sharing individual technologies, has been key to thriving innovation ecosystems like Silicon Valley.

If it wants to become a global technology leader, China needs open doors, strong intellectual property protection and no stacking of the deck in favor of Chinese companies -- a policy mix exactly opposite to some of its current indigenous-innovation measures.

(Editor's Note: Mr. Gupta is the Michael D. Dingman Chair in Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the Smith School of Business, The University of Maryland and a Visiting Professor in Strategy at INSEAD. Ms. Wang is managing partner of the China India Institute. They are the co-authors of 'Getting China and India Right' (Wiley, 2009).)




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