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China Dominates Global Blockchain Patents and Startups

China has filed over 12,900 blockchain-related patent applications as of October 2019, accounting for 53.6% of the world’s total (24,074), according to data from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

In terms of the blockchain patent number, China is ahead of developed countries in Europe and America. The number of blockchain patent applications filed from Chinese enterprises is twice that of the United States, 11 times that of South Korea and 23 times that of Australia.

While when it comes to PCT patent which has higher requirement for exclusivity, creativity and practicality, China, with only 532 pieces (15.5% of the world’s total), lags behind the U.S. (45%) which has filed for 1,537 international (PCT) patent applications as of this October.

It is noteworthy that Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has been topping the list of blockchain patent filers with 222 pieces of PCT patents related to blockchain, leading four other Chinese companies including Huawei, Data Tech, PingAn One Connect and Tencent into the world’s top 20.

Blockchain patenting activity was actually slow in the early years, only beginning to take off in 2015, with the creation of alternative blockchains like Ethereum. By 2016, it started to increase more rapidly, coinciding with Bitcoin’s historic rally in 2017.

Patent activity shows that commercial interest in the technology rose with the perceived profitability of bitcoin investments, as well as the increase of favorable regulations from the government.

Apart from the country’s dominance in blockchain patent, China has seen plenty of blockchain startups emerge over the past few years.

Search result from the domestic company information search engine Tianyancha.com shows that there have been 34,650 blockchain companies in the country, of which nearly 11,500 (33%) was established in the past year.

The recent endorsement from Chinese president Xi Jinping this October has accelerated the already fast-moving blockchain industry in the country.

According to incomplete statistics, this November has seen a surge of Chinese blockchain projects which totaled at 57, accounting for more than 66% of the global total (86), with a growth of 110% from the previous month. Government-led projects (33) take up the majority with the Chinese government being the most active by contributing 28 or over 80% to the total of the type.

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