Monthly Archives: December 2008

And the 1'000'000 patent for 2008 is from….

The Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI) database registered its millionth patent in 2008 – a first in the 45-year history of the index. The patent application is from ZTE Corporation, the telecommunication equipment manufacturer located in South China and covers an improved cell phone user interface.

The DWPI database captures the world’s innovation through abstracting and indexing new inventions described in patent documents from 41 patent issuing authorities globally. It now contains over 17 million inventions covering 36.9 million individual patents, making it the world’s premier patent information database.

DWPI coverage of China commenced in 1985 with re-written English language titles, abstracts and classifications. This was enhanced in 2007 with the addition of more detailed abstracts, and further in 2008 with structural indexing for polymer, pharmaceutical, agrochemical and general chemical inventions. The inclusion of Chinese, Japanese and Korean utility models resulted in an additional 210,000 inventions in 2008.

On a related note the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information (ISTIC) announced that China overtook the United States for the first time in terms of engineering-indexed theses in 2007.

The biggest Next-Generation Internet (NGI) is…in China

China has completed the development of a new Internet network, the largest of its kind in the world. The China Next Generation Internet (CNGI) is a project initiated by the government to position the country at the leading edge of the Internet’s technological developments – with IPv6 at its heart.

CERNET 2 – the official name for China’s Education Research Network – already counts six core networks, 59 nodes in 22 cities, 2 international switching centers in Beijing and Shanghai, and an IPv6 trial at 273 Customer Premises Networks (CPNs). In addition, high-speed connections have been realized with international next generation Internet backbones – US Internet2, EU GEANT2 and APAN. Some of the links deliver 40 Gigabits (up to 1,000 times faster than the current generation)  per second. China also showcased CNGI’s infrastructure at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

Close to USD 100 million have been invested in CGNI and 619 domestic patents (5 foreign patents) have been applied for. Four national standards have been formulated; over 10 international standards drafts as well as over 10 industrial standards from organizations including the China Communications Standards Association have been submitted.

There is no doubt that China aims to position itself as a frontrunner in the race to build the next generation Internet network, owning rather than depending on intellectual property rights.

Engineered competition… not a solution

The creation of 3 integrated operators in China’s telecommunication market was intended to achieve what several rounds of reforms have failed to do over the past 15 years: create meaningful competition.

The new government-engineered reform is already facing some challenges. China Mobile which ended up with the fixed network of China Tietong – formerly China Railway Telecom – is seeing its merger delayed by at least 3 months. The culprit appears to be the integration of the operator’s back-office systems for its wireless network with those of Tietong’s fixed-line network.

In the meantime, China Telecom and China Netcome have already completed their side of the merger and are starting to offer new services. This “asymmetric” treatment of the operators may reduce the dominance of China Mobile. But it is also proof that such engineered re-shuffling of competitive forces does not always make “market” sense.

As long as the operators remain state-owned, the government will face conflicting goals between generating revenues for the State and benefitting consumers through cheaper prices or innovation. The days of co-ordinated competition are not over! 

Join the [Internet police] force

jingjing.jpgRemember Remember Jing Jing and Cha Cha?

They are the visible face of China’s Internet police force – estimates put the number of Internet officers patrolling the Chinese web at 30’000. The two characters even have separate websites: one for Jingjing and one for Chacha. One can even chat with the characters. The municipality of Beijing has implemented a similar scheme in 2007. In the latter version, the characters appear every half hour on 13 of China’s top web portals.

The idea behind the “patrol” is to remind netizens that the Internet is not a place beyond law, something that applies to all countries. News are that China has already been exporting its skills to Bangladesh! Care to join the force?