The Internet Technology Innovation Patent Observation Report (in Chinese) shows that Tencent has maintained the biggest number of patent applications in information search, database structure and other areas of research and development. In fact, when it comes to digital information transmission, Tencent’s patents reached 6,285, far more than Baidu’s 903, and Alibaba’s 2,052.

From 2012 onwards, Tencent applied for more than 2000 patents per year, including overseas jurisdictions. Tencent focused on strengthening the US market development and put in 200 patent applications in the EU, Japan, South Korea.

Xiaomi is actively expanding its product map, including television, set-top boxes, routers, mobile charger, air purifiers, self-balancing scooters and smart home products. The report shows that Xiaomi’s patent applications have been on the rise since 2014, and even more than half of the 10 IPC (Interprocess Communication) categories showed the highest number of patent applications.

The report, jointly published by Peking University Internet Law Center and the Chinese Society for Science and Technology Law, selected China’s most active 20 high-tech Internet companies and analyzed their patent data, technological innovation activity, and patent applications. The report said that emerging internet technology has led to an increase in patent applications, and brought new business models such as social networks (WeChat Moments), fan-based product development (Xiaomi), and sharing economy models (Didi, bike rentals).

In 2016, the number of Internet and communications companies in China’s patent applications showed rapid growth. The report pointed out that the expansion of enterprise size and the number of enterprise patents is increasing in the digital age. In order to maintain the sustainable development of innovation, enterprises need to be innovative in product design, technology research & development, protect their patents, the report pointed out.

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at

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