China: as PCT patent filings increase, GDP growth has decreased

The number of patents filed by China has accelerated over the last 15 years. According to WIPO, China represented just 1 percent of the fillings with the PCT in 2000. By 2015, China’s share of PCT filing was 13.7 percent. We were interested to see how this increase in patent fillings related to China’s growth in GDP.

Using data from the WorldBank and WIPO, we plotted the annual GDP growth of China compared to its share of fillings under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). As the graph shows, as China’s share of PCT filings increased every year, by 2007 China’s growth in GDP began a decline.

While China’s early high rate of GDP growth was not considered sustainable, it does bear mentioning that China’s growth slowed over the same period of time where we see patent fillings increased. There are other forces at work here, of course, but it was interesting enough to share.