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China: Technology Markets and Joint Ventures
Country Study > Chapter 9 > Science and Technology > The Reform Program > The Program > Technology Markets and Joint Ventures


Commercializing technology requires markets, and China in the late 1980s had to develop market institutions to handle patents, the sale of technology, and consulting contracts. This was a major endeavor and one that promised to take many years. Deciding how to set prices for technology and how to write and enforce contracts for technical consulting proved difficult, largely because of the complexity of technology markets. Further, China lacked the legal and commercial frameworks to support such markets. Nevertheless, institutes and factories participated in "technology fairs" and established contractual relations in great numbers, with the total technology trade volume in 1986 reaching an estimated -Y2.3 billion. Research institutes and universities formed companies to sell technical services and develop products. Even the formerly self-contained Chinese Academy of Sciences set up companies to export specialty magnets and to develop optical products.

In the late 1980s, China's technology markets and efforts to commercialize scientific and technical knowledge were growing rapidly amid considerable confusion, ferment, and turmoil. Although progressing, the commercialization of technology was proving difficult to implement, and, perhaps for this reason, the State Council announced in February 1987 that most applied scientific research institutes were to be incorporated into large and mediumsized productive enterprises to coordinate research with the needs of production. The precise form the technology market would eventually take was not clear, but its development had wide support and was not likely to be halted or reversed.

Data as of July 1987

Last Updated: July 1987

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for China was first published in 1987. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

China Main Page Country Studies Main Page

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