Understanding the evolution of China's standardization policy system

You-hong Yang, Ping Gao, Haimei Zhou

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This paper investigates the evolution of China’s technology standardization policy system in the period from 1978 to 2021. The standardization policy system comprising the supply, demand, and environment policy tool types has evolved during standardization development process, which includes three sequential stages: 1) the following-up stage, 2) the catch-up stage, and 3) the
upgrading stage. In responding to changes in institutional, economic and technological contexts, the policy orientation has transformed from supporting the government-controlled adoption and standardization of foreign technologies in the following-up stage of standardization development process to developing indigenous standards owning independent intellectual property rights (IPRs) through the government-led standardization system in the catch-up stage, and to international standardization adopting both government-led and market mechanisms in the upgrading stage. In this process, the Chinese Government continued to offer policy support to but tended to relax its control over standardization. Of the three policy tool types, the supply type have remained the dominant ones; the weight of the environment-type of tools tended to decrease, and that of the demand-type of tools tended to increase. Further, the government rationalized the mix of each type of policy tools as the standardization contexts changed. From the Chinese experience, theoretical prescriptions for how standardization policy systems evolve in latecomers are developed. Practical implications for latecomer countries to transform standardization policy system and design their standardization policies are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102478
Number of pages15
JournalTelecommunications Policy
Issue number2
Early online date7 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • China; Standard; Standardization; Policy system; Policy tool


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