(161123) -- SHANGHAI, Nov. 23, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits China Technology Center of General Electric in Shanghai, east China, Nov. 21, 2016. Li inspected the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone on Nov. 21 and 22. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin) (zhs)
INTERNATIONAL - China is now a major producer of innovative technologies, nosing ahead of Japan to become the second biggest source of international patent applications, the UN said yesterday.

China’s fast growth in intellectual property has led to accusations by US President Donald Trump that it has stolen American ideas, but the head of the UN World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) said it was hard to tell. 

“The reality is a new competitor has arrived,” Wipo director-general Francis Gurry told a news conference in Geneva. “We will just observe what occurs now, but I would say that the commercial, economic and geopolitical reality that we must take cognisance of is that China has arrived as a major technological competitor.” 

At current rates China will overtake the US to become the biggest source of international patent applications in the Wipo system within three years, Wipo said. 

The top filers of patent applications at Wipo in 2017 were Chinese technology companies Huawei and ZTE, followed by US-based Intel, Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric and US company Qualcomm. China’s applications for international trademarks in Wipo’s system rose 36percent last year.