WIPO Director-General Gurry
Director-General of WIPO, Francis Gurry, gestures during a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva. Reuters

China has finally broken into the world's top 25 innovative economies for the first time. The entry of the world's second largest economy into the ranks is also the first time a middle-income country has joined the top 25.

China moved up from its 29th placing last year to 25th this year, according to the annual report by the United Nation's World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), INSEAD Business School and Cornell University.

Of the top 25 economies, 15 of the countries hail from Europe. Switzerland retains the top spot for the sixth consecutive year and are followed by Sweden, and the UK, which was nudged from second spot to third in 2016. The US takes the fourth spot, followed by Finland, Singapore, Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany.

Francis Gurry, WIPO Director-General told a news conference: "Let me point to the performance of China, in coming in at number 25 in the rankings, is now joining the upper income group of countries that have traditionally dominated the top slots in the global innovation index."

"That of course is in keeping with all the developments that we have seen in China in recent years, including the current enormous emphasis on innovation as a major component in the transition of the Chinese economy from 'Made in China' to 'Created in China'," Gurry said.

  1. Switzerland (Number 1 in 2015)
  2. Sweden (3)
  3. United Kingdom (2)
  4. United States of America (5)
  5. Finland (6)
  6. Singapore (7)
  7. Ireland (8)
  8. Denmark (10)
  9. Netherlands (4)
  10. Germany (12)
  11. Republic of Korea (14)
  12. Luxembourg (9)
  13. Iceland (13)
  14. Hong Kong (China) (11)
  15. Canada (16)
  16. Japan (19)
  17. New Zealand (15)
  18. France (21)
  19. Australia (17)
  20. Austria (18)
  21. Israel (22)
  22. Norway (20)
  23. Belgium (25)
  24. Estonia (23)
  25. China (29)

He added that China's innovation indicators show "consistent steady improvement" and that there was no reason to think that that will not continue, Reuters reports.

Gurry added: "In this current economic climate, uncovering new sources of growth and leveraging the opportunities raised by global innovation are priorities for all stakeholders."

Bruno Lanvin, INSEAD's executive director for global indices said: "China breaking into the top 25 is just a harbinger of more to come. The significant progress made by India, plus 15 places, is indeed a sign that we are going to see more from emerging countries in the field of innovation years to come, and that's part of globalisation."

India jumped to 66th place from last year's 81's ranking in the list of efficient innovators.

Lanvin also pointed out that worldwide growth is likely to remain slow, adding that there was a need for healthy research and development budgets. "To simplify things, one could say that we live in a world where emerging countries need to invent their future and mature countries need to re-invent their models," he said.