Jolly Publishes on R&D in China

Tranchez TEDx

Professor Dominique Jolly, Chair of the Walker School of Business & Technology at Webster University Geneva, has recently co-authored an article with Francesco Masetti-Placci, Head of Hanova International School in Xian (China), on the challenges facing R&D centers in China.  The article entitled “The Winding path for foreign companies: building R&D centers in China,” was published in The Journal of Business Strategy (volume 37, number 2, 2016).  The paper is based on the results of the research conducted in China by Professor Jolly in more than 50 R&D centers of non-Chinese multi-national corporations and the experience as vice-president of technology at Alcatel-Lucent in Asia-Pacific of Professor Francesco Masetti-Placci.  

The authors starting point is that China has now become much more than a simple manufacturing center as colossal efforts undertaken by the Chinese government over several decades ago are starting to bear their fruits.  While China was not on the R&D map ten years ago, the country is now part of the group of leading nations which contributes to technology creation.  China is even registering now more patents than the United States (quality of those patents is another issue).  Jolly and Masetti-Placci point out that this paradigm shift is due to the generous support of the Chinese government to a selection of public elite universities and research centers; the creation of numerous science and technology parks; and an improved legal framework that protects innovation and innovators.

In parallel, the authors note that the number of foreign firms doing R&D in China while still limited is increasing at a high pace. Yet, many of those companies have only a vague idea of the challenges of pursuing R&D in China.  They are in need of guidance into the process of setting up new R&D units outside their traditional territories.  The article provides six practical recommendations over ten pages. One learns how to deal with Chinese authorities, how to match the Chinese system of innovation, manage property rights issues, manage Chinese R&D people, fit with demand and adaptation to local operational processes.