Chart of the Week January 27, 2023: Technology from home or abroad?


The residential status of patent applicants indicates the source of inventions in a country. Different technological development strategies of nations affect the structures of patent applicants’ profiles. For example, China’s favourable policies towards domestic innovation culminated in residents’ share in the country’s total patent filings at 90% in 2021. In contrast, 86% of Singapore patent applicants are from abroad. This shows that Singapore usually serves more as a laboratory for international technology transfer than as an origin of inventions. That said, Singapore also has growing domestic innovation capabilities. In the recent decade, the growth rate of domestic patents has been higher than that of foreign ones.


  • The total number of patents filed in China has tripled in the past decade, driven mainly by domestic patenting. The nation’s high momentum in independent technology development can likely explain the surge in domestic patents. However, other latent obstacles to the patent examination procedure (e.g. Chinese as the official language) could also explain this patent structure.
  • While Singapore consistently has a high non-resident patent application ratio, data shows an increasing trend in domestic patent applications. From 2011 to 2021, the growth rate of patents by residents (92%) exceeded that of non-resident patents (44%).

Data Source: World Development Indicators by World Bank (World Intellectual Property Indicators 2022, page 24)

Article By YAN, Bowen

Graphic By GE, Yixuan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s