China's Next Strategic Advantage: From Imitation to Innovation

The innovation environment in China and how Chinese and multinational companies can leverage it to create new products and businesses is the focus of a new book by CEIBS Professor of Strategy George S. Yip and CEIBS Visiting Professor of International Business Bruce McKern. China’s Next Strategic Advantage: From Imitation to Innovation is the result of four years of research done by the professors at the CEIBS Centre on China Innovation, where Prof. Yip is Co-Director, and Prof. McKern is a former Co-Director.  

The book gives an overview of the three waves of innovation that have driven China’s epic economic transformation of the past three decades, which are: (1) from copying to ‘fit for purpose’; (2) from followers to world standard and (3) from seeking new resources to seeking new knowledge. They also provide practical examples from numerous case studies to illustrate the development of China along these waves of innovation, and explain how China’s new innovation edge — the 4C’s of customers, culture, competitive capabilities and cash — will be the basis for creating world-class products and services to meet the challenges of a new era of global competition. They also provide crucial insights companies can learn from China including bold experimentation and rapid iteration, using creative adaptation and focusing on ‘lean value’ design.

The professors' research included interviews with hundreds of R&D and innovation executives, CEOs and C-Suite executives at dozens of Chinese and foreign firms, mostly in China but some in European home countries. It also includes several in-depth case studies of selected firms that are frontier practitioners of innovation in China. The authors also conducted an extensive review of the relevant existing literature of the past 20 years and media reports on innovation that have appeared from 2010 to 2014.

The English language version is published by The MIT Press.

Co-authored: 
George S. Yip and Bruce McKern
Position: 
Professor of Strategy & Visiting Professor of International Business