SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

Chinese Innovation in an Age of Decoupling

Eric Thun (Oxford’s Saïd Business School)

Date: 26 May 2021Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 26 May 2021Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Round Table


From the outset of the reform era, the promotion of innovation and technological upgrading has been a foremost objective of the Chinese leadership. China’s leaders have consistently believed that the country’s economic and strategic future rests on the ability of Chinese firms to be at the cutting edge of newly emerging technologies, but the best means of achieving this objective has been the matter of debate. In particular, policymakers have debated the role of the state vis-à-vis the market in directing and shaping innovation efforts. In an era of decoupling, the urgency behind Chinese efforts to promote innovation have intensified. This presentation will examine China’s upgrading and innovation record and use the case of mobile telecom to assess the progress that Chinese firms have made and the prospects for Chinese firms in an era of decoupling and techno-nationalism.


Eric Thun is the Peter Moores Associate Professor in Chinese Business at Oxford’s Saïd Business School and a Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford. His areas of expertise include business in China, industrial development and upgrading in China, and Chinese political economy, as well as global strategy and global value chains. His primary research interests revolve around the dynamics of competition and innovation in emerging markets. Thun received his BA from Princeton University in 1990 and his doctorate from Harvard University in 1999. After a year as a postdoctoral fellow at the MIT Industrial Performance Center, he returned to Princeton as Assistant Professor in the Woodrow Wilson School and Department of Politics. He moved to Oxford in 2005.

Organiser: SOAS China Institute

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