Nanotechnology in China: An Analysis of International Competitiveness

This is my essay for professor Marcella Miozzo‘s International Competitiveness class. Previously, i posted the power point presentation for this topic as well. Links to all the reference can be found in the bottom of the article. Hope its useful. 

Nanotechnology is the manipulation and production of material within a very small scale (nanoscale). It is a complex technology which encompass multiple science discipline and industries (Islam & Miyazaki, 2009). Due to this multidisciplinary nature, nanotechnology is predicted to revolutionise the landscape of multiple industry sectors and become the foundation of the next industrial revolution (Moreira & Vale, 2016). This promising potential has attracted many countries to invest in the research and development this technology. Interestingly, this strategic scientific endeavor is not only pursued by developed economies. Newly industrialised economies are also investing heavily in nanotechnology to catch up with more established countries, increase competitiveness and stimulate growth (Moreira & Vale, 2016) (Niosi & Reid, 2007).

Illustration of nanotechnology (image source)

One of the newly industrialized country which gaining solid grounds in nanotechnology is China. Since the late 1980s, the country has been investing massively in nanotechnology to build international competitiveness in science and technology (Bai, 2005). This effort has started to bear fruits especially in science and research indicators. The number of China nano-science publication surpassed the United States since 2004 (Appelbaum & Parker, 2008).  Number of China’s share in global nano-patent also doubled in less than a decade (Appelbaum, et al., 2016). In these two indicators, China has achieved international leadership.

This essay will discuss China’s nanotechnology development in the context of international competitiveness. The historical context of China endeavour in nanotech will be described first. Following that, factors supporting nanotechnology will be discussed using Malerba’s sectoral system of innovation theory as a lens (Malerba, 2004). Finally, the benefits of network will be explained using Podolny and Leung pipe, prism, and sponge metaphor (Podolny, 2001) (Leung, 2013). Continue reading