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China's next big challenge: mastering radical technology

Anton Kriz (Newcastle Business School, The University of Newcastle, Ourimbah Campus, Ourimbah, Australia)
David Cunneen (Newcastle Business School, The University of Newcastle, Ourimbah Campus, Ourimbah, Australia)

Journal of Science and Technology Policy in China

ISSN: 1758-552X

Article publication date: 24 February 2012



China has been exceptionally competent at utilising the technology of others but the ability to develop its own is yet to be tested. The purpose of this paper is to investigate China's capacity for nurturing radical technology. For China to recapture its earlier technological prowess it will need a creative class. The paper proposes eight stepping stones for China to move from its current situation to a position where creativity and radical technology re‐emerge.


This is a conceptual paper that investigates options for China using a historical and trans‐disciplinary review.


Radical technology was a major strength for China prior to the 1500s. This paper suggests that China's subsequent demise in the technology stakes came from a combination of factors including regressive policies and the West finding a new politico‐economic model around science and technology. In total, eight stepping stones for Chinese institutional reform around creativity and radical technology are proposed.

Practical implications

Chinese businesses need to go much further than cost innovations and incremental additions to seriously challenge the creative capacity of their Western counterparts. This paper offers important insights for Chinese policy makers as they embark on innovation advancement in a highly competitive international business environment.

Social implications

Fostering radical technology is a challenge for any society. Developing this aspect of Chinese society is a critical element for China and its policy makers as they progress to the next phase of economic growth.


The paper shows that identifying systemic issues for China's radical technology demise is important. Offering steps for China to increase its capacity for radical technology is equally worthy of investigation.



Kriz, A. and Cunneen, D. (2012), "China's next big challenge: mastering radical technology", Journal of Science and Technology Policy in China, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 6-25.



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