China’s blockchain crazy is in full swing and a recent report from IPRdaily sheds more light on the trend. Chinese firms took 57 spots in a newly compiled “Top-100 Blockchain Enterprise Patent Rankings” list, according to the global intellectual property information media outlet. Chinese and American companies feature prominently on the list. Thirty-six companies around the world have over 20 public patent applications related to blockchain.

Chinese tech companies took half of the top 10. Alibaba, together with its affiliate company Ant Financial, tops the ranking with 90 related public patent applications. People’s Bank of China, China’s central bank, holds the fifth spot with 44 patents, followed by Tencent (40 patents), Fuzamei (39 patents) and VeChain (38 patents).

Virtually every major Chinese tech company has placed bets in the emerging technology. But holding patents is more of a strategic layout than an all-out push for some tech giants as compared with those who are focused squarely on the sector. Baidu, Huawei, Qihoo 360, Xiaomi all touch slightly on the trend with less than 20 patents.

China’s government is harnessing its data to make blockchain-based identity a reality

The force of government endorsement for the technology could be seen from the number of state-backed enterprises on the list. In addition to the People’s Bank of China, several state-backed enterprises have made to roster, including China Unicom, China Mobile State Grid Cooperation of China, Bank of China, China UnionPay, and China Merchants Bank.

Rising numbers of patents in an emerging technllogy also reflects a wakening IP awareness among China’s tech firms, which is the result of decade-long efforts.

China’s tech firms are adapting to an increasingly IP sensitive environment

2018 marks the first year that the application of blockchain technologies has become more widespread and an industry-wide ecosystem has been created. This can be seen in the fact that the number of patent applications related to blockchain technologies has grown rapidly over the past two years.

According to IPRdaily, applications related to underlying technologies such as access control, public key decryption, block construction and data processing accounted for about 50% of the total. The other half of the applications are mainly related to the application of blockchain technologies in various industries, such as identity authentication, drug tagging, food tracking, audit registration, financial institution information coordination, personal credit reporting and tax filing, and some other industrial applications.

Emma Lee

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.

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