If you are like billions of movie goers, you spent a year looking forward to Avengers 4. Personally, as a practitioner in China’s university technology transfer, I spent the last two years looking forward to Decree 100 from the Ministry of Finance. We were hoping to see the state get behind universities that have led experiments with more efficient new ways to license patents for commercializing—but the Ministry’s tepid response in late March has instead scared schools into giving up their experiments.

If you want to invest in new technology, Chinese universities are a gold mine—even the ones you haven’t heard of. Consider Bi Yusui at Shandong University of Technology, who invented an breakthrough ozone-friendly foaming agent that was sold for RMB 500 million (about $74 million) back in 2017. That RMB 500 million payday landed Bi’s university at the very top of university technology transfer amounts in China in 2017, beating out prestigious universities such as Tsinghua, Zhejiang University and Shanghai Jiaotong.

Universities and the talent within produce a very large proportion of all inventions in China. One indicator is invention patents: universities own about 30% of all invention patents granted by China’s patent office; the equivalent US figure is 2%.

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

What you get

Full access to all premium content and our full archives

Members'-only newsletters

Preferential access and discounts to all TechNode events

Direct access to the TechNode newsroom

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

Yu Uny Cao

Yu Uny Cao has been in technology management, startup and invention for over two decades. He is currently a vice president at Zhejiang Intellectual Property Exchange Center.