Innovation in China ­– Part 2/2

February 13, 2012

Two examples of Chinese innovation in its private sector were reported by the UN Chronicle.

The title of the UN report was “Industrial And Rural Energy In China: Innovative Private-Sector Initiatives Lead The Way”

The report said,Entrepreneurs in the energy-related sectors, especially in thermal energy, are pushing for groundbreaking and profitable innovations that promise to help control the country’s ravenous industrial energy consumption while maintaining, or even increasing, high levels of output.”

“Encouraging Innovation in China” – Thoughtful China

The UN Chronicle said, “Beijing Shenwu Thermal Energy Technology Company, founded in 1999 by Wu Dao Hong, is a prominent example of the success entrepreneurs are finding in implementing business models that combine environmental and economic goals. It manufactures equipment that reduces industrial fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions.”

The second example mentioned in the UN report was Hao Zheng Yi. “More than 25 years ago he had the foresight to recognize the formation of a large untapped market for clean-energy services in rural China…

“Mr. Hao’s pioneering design for a sustainable heating and cooking stove, based on cleaner and more effective technology, shows how vital private-sector solutions are in supplementing government efforts to address environmental and social challenges…”

In addition, China is planning to generate electricity using nuclear power.

“A 2009 assessment by the IAEA under its Innovative Nuclear Power Reactors & Fuel Cycle (INPRO) program concluded that there could be 96 small modular reactors (SMRs) in operation around the world by 2030 in its ‘high’ case, and 43 units in the ‘low’ case, none of them in the USA.”

Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011

However, “The most advanced modular project is in China, where Chinergy is starting to build the 210 MWe HTR-PM, which consists of twin 250 MWt reactors.” Source: World Nuclear Association

China’s critics may cry that nuclear power is not safe. In fact, safe nuclear does exist and China is leading the way with thorium with the liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR).

The UK’s Telegraph reported, “A few weeks before the tsunami struck Fukushima’s uranium reactors and shattered public faith in nuclear power, China revealed that it was launching a rival technology to build a safer, cleaner, and ultimately cheaper network of reactors based on thorium.”

Victor Stenger (Physicist, PhD) writing for The Huffington Post says, “The U.S. may end up buying LFTRs from China. Perhaps WalMart will sell them cheap.”

Return to Innovation in China – Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Global Ignorance of Innovation

October 31, 2010

Many who live in Western democracies love patting themselves on the back and feeling superior to the rest of the world.

In The Economist for October 16, I found Innovation in China — Patents, yes; ideas, maybe, which demonstrates how ignorant some are about China. 

Since The Economist’s home office is in London, the magazine represents more than the American media—it represents the Western media and this piece was written in Hong Kong.

This isn’t the first time I’ve read about China’s reputation for trampling intellectual-property rights and that an authoritarian government couldn’t possibly compete with a democracy when it comes to innovation.

However, the conclusion points out that China is becoming more innovative and is starting to be serious about protecting intellectual property rights through China’s changing legal system.

What The Economist piece misses is that democracies do not hold a patent on innovation. For more than two millennia, innovations were rampant in an authoritarian China ruled by emperors without much of a legal system. The usual form of punishment was decapitation.

In fact, the list of innovations from ancient China is long and historians are starting to revise the textbooks to show that most of what we have today came from an authoritarian China.

To learn more about the innovations that originated in Imperial China then found a way to the West centuries later, I suggest reading Paper, Printing, Gunpowder, Crossbow and other Inventions, Machines of China, and China Points the Way.

I’m sure there are those who will deny the West “borrowed” these innovations from China and claim that the West reinvented them, but the evidence shows that these ideas traveled West along both the north and south Silk Roads as early as the Roman Empire more than two millennia ago. It just took time for the West to learn how to copy what the Chinese invented then claim it was the West that came up with the ideas.

Too bad that the patent laws, lawyers and courts of today didn’t exist then. Imagine the settlements over these ancient Chinese innovations, which revolutionized the world we live in today.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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