With 1.3 billion people economically on the move and growth rates that are unprecedented, China is standing at the centre of global economy and politics. China’s GDP growth over the last two decades has been maintained at a staggering 10%. A CEO of a major multinational corporation (MNC) commenting on China’s post 80s development noted that China is all about “change, change and change”. Such change is more than simply economic, it is also geopolitical. Sun Tzu’s Art of War identifies that while your enemy is fighting on other fronts, it’s time to move forward. Whirlwind geo-political growth in China since Deng Xiaoping famously exalted “rich as glorious” has unleashed a sleeping giant. This coupled with the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and a $3 trillion war in Iraq has left the US vulnerable. Rather than trying to thwart China’s advances, Western Governments are hoping that the “Middle Kingdom” will use its vast foreign reserves to help extract the West from its current economic woes. The US is not an enemy of China but remains its key hegemonic rival. However, as this chapter gradually identifies, China’s biggest battle is to rekindle its innovative ‘spirit’, and this battle is to be conquered within. “Innovate or die” is the catchcry of the 21st century and it describes an almost alchemistic fervour advocated to business and economies of how they can thrive. As the opening quotation highlights, China is not new to invention. So the real questions are: why did China stop innovating and can it rekindle its innovative spirit? Answering these questions means taking the reader on a multidisciplinary journey. Ultimately, as we will see, the real inhibitors to innovation in China are not the people per se but mobilising a complex culture and its requisite institutions.
Innovation Driven Research Education, Volume 1: An Introduction p. 305-353