China’s unprecedented economic, scientific, and technological growth in the recent years has made the entire world sit up and take notice. Today it is deemed to be an emerging superpower that is likely to surpass even the U.S. in terms of research output and even research investment in the coming years. However, in the late 20th century and early 21st century, the situation was significantly different. Chinese students and researchers found scarce opportunities to pursue a career in science and research, and found Western countries, particularly the U.S., more promising. As a result, mass migration of young Chinese talent in search of better career choices, more funding, and advanced resources was fairly common.
From that era to now, the tables have turned in favor of China. Since the last 20 years, China has focused on becoming a global leader in innovation and there are indications that the country is succeeding. In 2017, China became one of the top 25 innovative countries, ranking 22nd in the Global Innovation Index. Moreover, in 2016, China ranked third in the number of patents for inventions; the first two positions were held by the U.S. and Japan respectively. In its attempts at becoming one of the leading global nations in science and technology, the country has been steadily increasing its investment in research. As per a joint report by the National Center for Science and Technology Evaluation and Clarivate Analytics, China increased its expenditure on research and development from 1.42% of its GDP in 2006 to 2.1% in 2016. With this, China has established itself as a nation that gives prominence to scientific research.