Targeting Mars

Updated: 2016-04-06 08:05

By Andrew Moody(China Daily)

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Targeting Mars

Max von Zedtwitz was in Beijing recently to promote the book, Created in China: How China Is Becoming a Global Innovator. WANG ZHUANGFEI/CHINA DAILY

A new book says a growing army of engineers is helping China advance in cutting-edge technologies. Andrew Moody reports.

Max von Zedtwitz believes the Chinese may not only be the first to land a person on Mars but also the first to cure cancer.

The managing director of the Center for Global R & D Management and Innovation (in short, Glorad), a research and development think tank, says the sheer number of science and engineering graduates being churned out by Chinese universities could dramatically speed up innovation.

While it took 200 years to move from the steam engine to the Internet, there could be major breakthroughs in what are now considered frontiers of science in just a matter of decades, he says.

"Innovation is to some extent a numbers game. If you just have one idea per 1,000 people, then a country that has a 1.4 billion population is going to have an advantage over anyone else."

Von Zedtwitz was recently in Beijing to promote his new book, Created in China: How China Is Becoming a Global Innovator, which he has co-written with Georges Haour, a professor of technology and innovation management at the IMD Business School in Switzerland.

The book was released in January.

Although now based in San Francisco, the 46-year-old Swiss is no stranger to China. His think tank is partly based in Shanghai, and he has spent a large part of the past decade as associate professor of innovation management at Tsinghua University in the Chinese capital.

"What we wanted to get across in the book was the impact of all the agents and actors involved in innovation in China, including the government, the education system and the companies," he says.

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