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Taiwan ranked 10th most innovative nation

NEW YORK--Taiwan topped the global rankings in patent activity and was ranked as the 10th most innovative nation in the world and the fourth most innovative in Asia, according to the Global Innovation Rankings released by Bloomberg on Thursday.

According to Bloomberg, the patent activity category looked at resident patent filings per million residents and per US$1 million of research and development spent, as well as patents granted as a share of the world's total.

In addition to patent activity, Taiwan finished second in high-tech density and tertiary efficiency in the Bloomberg innovation rankings.

The high-tech density category calculated the number of high-tech publicly listed companies as a percentage of all listed companies. The United States came in first.

The tertiary efficiency category measured the number of secondary graduates enrolled in post-secondary institutions and the percentage of the labor force with tertiary degrees.

The category, in which Canada was ranked first, also looked at the annual number of science and engineering graduates as a share of the labor force and as a percentage of all tertiary graduates.

In addition to the three categories, the Bloomberg global innovation rankings weighed four other factors: R&D density, productivity, researcher concentration, and manufacturing capability.

The rankings evaluated more than 200 countries and regions based on the seven factors.

South Korea came in first in the overall innovation rankings but did not lead in any of the seven categories, according to Bloomberg.

Sweden was ranked the second most innovative nation in the world ahead of the United States, Japan, Germany, Denmark, Singapore, Switzerland, Finland and Taiwan.

Taiwan, however, has been unable to translate its edge in patent activity into national competitiveness because the patents are not “core” enough, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Friday.

Wang Mei-hua, head of the MOEA's Intellectual Property Office, said Taiwan applies for an average of 20,000 patents a year in the United States.

“So it's not surprising that Taiwan's number of patents tops the world,” Wang said after Bloomberg ranked Taiwan first in the world in patent activity in its Global Innovation Ranking.

Taiwan was also ranked as the 10th most innovative nation overall in the world and the fourth most innovative in Asia, behind South Korea, Japan and Singapore.

Most of Taiwan's patents, however, generally only improve on the ideas of others and are not the “basic patents” with pioneering ideas that can generate higher incomes, Wang told reporters.

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