Indigenous Innovation in China: Intellectual Property and Market Access Implications for International Firms

Mei Y. Gechlik, Visiting Fellow,Hoover Institution
Alex Zhang, Attorney, King & Wood
Henry S. Rowen, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution

According to a survey by The American Chamber of Commerce in the People's Republic of China (AmCham-China), 37 percent of high-tech and IT companies who have business in China report a losing revenue as a result of a broad range of preferential indigenous innovation policies recently coming into effect. “Indigenous Innovation” is a set of policies aiming to promote China’s domestic technological innovation and assist China’s transition from a labor based to an innovation-driven economy. In November 2009, the Chinese government promulgated specific policies and programs around “indigenous innovation” to give economic benefits to companies and products that fell under the category. However, it immediately raised a suspicion of protectionism. Are these recent developments in China’s industrial policy truly disadvantaging foreign firms operating in China? How might this policy trend impact the decisions of US companies to bring technology to China? What legislative and regulatory obstacles might be impeding technological transfer to China? Finally, what are points of collaboration on which the Chinese government and foreign firms can work together, both to ensure a friendly business environment and to help China move towards its goal of establishing an truly innovative economy?

Speaker BiosMei Y. Gechlik

Dr. Mei Gechlik is a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a Distinguished Expert at the China Rule of Law Research Institute. At Stanford Law School, she teaches such courses as “Introduction to the Chinese Legal System” and “Chinese Law and Business” and is the Microsoft Rule of Law Fellow. Prior to teaching at Stanford, Dr. Gechlik worked as an associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington-based think tank, where she focused on legal and political reform in China. In that capacity, she testified before the U.S. Congress on various topics about China, advised the United Nations on implementing rule of law programs in China, and trained legislative affairs officials from China’s provinces and the State Council—the country’s highest executive organ—on “China: WTO and Judicial Review.” She also organized meetings and conferences to feature distinguished speakers, including the Hon. Sandra Day O’Connor, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Hon. Zhou Wenzhong, Ambassador of China to the United States.

Dr. Gechlik received her J.S.D. from Stanford Law School and her M.B.A. in Finance from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Her articles have been published in such publications as the American Journal of Comparative Law, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Columbia Journal of Asian Law, Foreign Policy, China Business Review, and the Financial Times. She is writing her book titled China’s Innovation Challenge to the United States: Competition and Leadership in Science and Technology.

Alex Zhang

Mr. Zhang joined King & Wood in 2001. Prior to this, he was a patent attorney at the Patent & Trademark Law Office of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade for seven years. He received professional training both in the United States and Germany.

Mr. Alex Zhang is admitted as Chinese lawyer, Chinese patent attorney and Chinese trademark attorney. He speaks extensively at international conferences and seminars about China’s intellectual property law and practices, including Practicing Law Institute, California State Bar Annual Meetings, Boston Intellectual Property Law Association, Los Angeles Intellectual Property Law Association and others.

He received his B.S. degree in electrical and electronic engineering from Hangzhou Institute of Electronic Engineering, his M.S. degree in computer science from Beijing Technology and Business University, and his LL.M. degree focused on intellectual property law from Santa Clara University School of Law. Mr. Zhang was a visiting scholar at Stanford Law School.  

Henry Rowen

Henry S. Rowen is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a professor of Public Policy and Management emeritus at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and a senior fellow emeritus of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. Rowen is an expert on international security, economic development, and high tech industries in the U.S. and Asia. His current research focuses on the rise of Asia in high technologies.

In 2004-05, Rowen served on the Presidential Commission on the Intelligence of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction. From 2001-04, he served on the Secretary of Defense Policy Advisory Board. Rowen was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs in the U.S. Department of Defense from 1989 to 1991. He was also chairman of the National Intelligence Council from 1981 to 1983. Rowen served as president of the RAND Corporation from 1967 to 1972 and was assistant director, U.S. Bureau of the Budget, from 1965 to 1966.

Rowen's most recent work is co-editor of  Greater China's Quest for Innovation  (Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, 2008).  He co-edited  Making IT: The Rise of Asia in High Tech (Stanford University Press, 2006) and  The Silicon Valley Edge: A Habitat for Innovation and Entrepreneurship  (2000). Other books include  Prospects for Peace in South Asia  (edited with Rafiq Dossani) and  Behind East Asian Growth: The Political and Social Foundations of Prosperity  (1998). Among his articles are "The Short March: China's Road to Democracy," National Interest  (1996); "Inchon in the Desert: My Rejected Plan,"  National Interest  (1995); "The Tide underneath the 'Third Wave,'"  Journal of Democracy  (1995).

Tuesday, February 01, 2011 | 3:00 pm — 4:30 pm
Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor