New Delhi : China broke into the world's top 20 most-innovative economies as Switzerland retained its number one spot in the Global Innovation Index (GII) annual ranking published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on Tuesday.
India maintains its top place in the Central and Southern Asia region, moving up three spots, from 60th in the GII 2017 to 57th this year. Iran remains second in this region, while Kazakhstan is third.
Rounding out the GII 2018 top 10 are the Netherlands, Sweden, Britain, Singapore, the US, Finland, Denmark, Germany and Ireland.
Now in its 11th edition, the GII is a detailed quantitative tool that helps global decision-makers better understand how to stimulate the innovative activity that drives economic and human development.
The GII ranks 126 economies based on 80 indicators, ranging from intellectual property filing rates to mobile-application creation, education spending and scientific and technical publications.
China's number 17 ranking this year represents a breakthrough for an economy witnessing rapid transformation guided by government policy prioritizing research and development-intensive ingenuity.
While the US fell back to number six in the GII 2018, it is an innovation powerhouse that has produced many of the world's leading hi-tech firms and life-changing innovations.
"China's rapid rise reflects a strategic direction set from the top leadership to developing world-class capacity in innovation and to moving the structural basis of the economy to more knowledge-intensive industries that rely on innovation to maintain competitive advantage," WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said in a statement.
WIPO is a specialised agency of the United Nations.
A group of middle and lower-income economies performed significantly better on innovation than their level of development would predict.
Twenty economies comprise these 'innovation achievers' in 2018, three more than in 2017.
The sub-Saharan Africa region boasts of six innovation achievers, including Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa, while five economies hail from Eastern Europe.
Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam continue to move up the rankings, steering closer to regional powerhouses like China, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.
The theme of the 2018 GII edition is "Energizing the world with innovation", looking at the need for expanded innovative work in climate-friendly green technology amid rising energy demands worldwide.
Projections indicate that by 2040 the world will require up to 30 per cent more energy than it needs today and conventional approaches to expanding the energy supply are unsustainable in the face of climate change.
Among lower-middle-income economies, India moves up to the fifth position in the GII rankings.
It has also outperformed on innovation relative to its GDP per capita for eight years in a row.
India ranks well in a number of important indicators: productivity growth, exports of information and communication technology and services.
"Given its size and innovation development, India has the potential to make a true difference to the global innovation landscape in the years to come. The Indian government and the CII are working closely with the GII team to further improve the Indian innovation performance," Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said.