- NBR - The National Bureau of Asian Research

Technical Standards and Innovation in China: Public Policy and the Role of Stakeholders

Bejing, China (2007)

On October 29, 2007, The National Bureau of Asian Research and Tsinghua University convened more than seventy international leaders from academe, business, and policy for an invitation-only conference “Technical Standards and Innovation in China: Public Policy and the Role of Stakeholders,” held in Beijing, China. This full-day event brought together senior experts from across the globe to explore stakeholder influence in public policy development and the effects of standards policy on innovation. Participants examined these issues through the lens of three case studies: home networking, mobile media, and radio frequency identification (RFID) standards.

Topics addressed included:

  • China’s desire to move from being a "standards taker" to being a "standards maker"
  • Increases in Chinese companies’ R&D investments, participation in standards alliances in China, and efforts to engage in international standards-setting processes
  • The complex relationship between standards and innovation, and the differing interests of diverse stakeholders policies
  • The varying levels of government involvement in the standards-setting process


Workshop Report

Event Agenda

Event Attendees


Eric Altbach
The National Bureau of Asian Research

Baisheng An
Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China

Mike Clendenin
Independent Consultant

Yun Cui

Michael Ding
IGRS Alliance

Margot Dor
European Telecommunications Standards Institute

Baichuan Du
State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television

William Foster
Foster & Brahm

Ziqiang Hou
Chinese Academy of Sciences

Fusheng Ji
Tsinghua University

Scott Kennedy
University of Indiana

Mark Lewis
U.S. Embassy, Beijing

Amy Marasco
Microsoft Corporation

Gregory T. Shea
U.S. Information Technology Office

Neeraj Srivastava
Dell Inc.

K.K. Suen
EPC Global

Richard P. Suttmeier
University of Oregon

Kenneth Wacks
International Organization for Standardization

Gang Wang

Wenfeng Wang
China Electronics Standardization Institute

Youqiang Wang
Tsinghua University

Ouyang Wu
State Council Information Office

Chaoying Xu
Beijing Dalang Telecom Company, Ltd.

Edward Yu
Analysis International

Tom Zhang

Chaoyi Zhao
China National Institute of Standardization

Tong Zhu
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Klaus Ziegler
EU Delegation

Following the conference, NBR briefed members of the Information Technology Industry Council Standardization Policy Committee on key workshop findings in January 2008. Drawing on these findings and subsequent research, NBR published the report “Standards, Stakeholders, and Innovation: China’s Evolving Role in the Global Knowledge Economy” by project specialists Dr. Scott Kennedy (Indiana University), Dr. Richard P. Suttmeier (University of Oregon), and Dr. Su Jun (Tsinghua University) in Spring 2008. The project team also briefed senior business leaders and policymakers in Washington, D.C. and Beijing.

Key Trends

  • Technical standards can either help promote or effectively limit innovation. This complex relationship between standards and innovation complicates China’s policy choices as it seeks to foster indigenous innovation.
  • Due to Chinese companies’ increased investment in R&D, participation in standards alliances in China, and efforts to engage in international standards-setting processes, China is hoping to move from being a standards taker to a standards maker.
  • The type and extent of Chinese government involvement in standards setting varies significantly and is influenced by the interests of Chinese stakeholders.

Policy Implications

  • Standards setting benefits from widespread participation. Globally, ensuring the openness of standards setting processes and encouraging the participation of China and other developing countries will help address their concerns that their interests are not being adequately reflected. Within China, non-Chinese participation in standards setting will improve the quality and market-impact of Chinese standards.
  • The increased Chinese stakeholder involvement in domestic and international standards organizations may be a sign of evolving Chinese policies that will enhance the development of innovative standards. However, it is too early to reach a definitive conclusion.

More Information on NBR's Related Research

Since the mid-1990s, The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) has been at the forefront of analyzing and researching China’s IPR regime and industrial policies, including technology standards, innovation policies, and intellectual property protection. Building on its comprehensive network of scholars, practitioners, and policymakers, NBR engages experts from the United States, China, and other countries to analyze these important issues and inform decisionmakers on the policy implications through high-level briefings, conferences, reports, workshops, and working papers.

Learn more about China's Strategies on Intellectual Property Rights, Technology Standards, and Innovation.