Amidst escalating tensions between the U.S. and China, Chinese companies, including tech giants like Huawei and Tencent, have significantly increased their global patent holdings in the cybersecurity technology sector.
As of August, six of the top 10 global patent holders in this field were Chinese firms, a report by Nikkei Asia in collaboration with LexisNexis revealed. IBM topped the list with 6,363 patents, followed closely by Huawei and Tencent with 5,735 and 4,803 patents, respectively. This shift highlights China’s growing emphasis on bolstering its self-reliance in science and technology and its commitment to intellectual property protection.
Among the top patent holders in the cybersecurity technology sector were Chinese entities such as Alibaba’s financial arm Ant Group and Alibaba Group Holding, further showcasing China’s influence in this domain. Sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. also held a significant number of patents. This trend is a response to the U.S.’s increasingly stringent export controls, with a recent focus on restricting artificial intelligence chip exports to China due to concerns over potential military applications.
The surge in patent filings by Chinese firms, particularly since 2018, reflects the broader competition for advanced technology and data, with a specific focus on cybersecurity. Huawei, in particular, has faced U.S. sanctions aimed at securing American networks and supply chains.
These measures included banning U.S. agencies from using Huawei equipment or services and placing the company on the U.S. trade blacklist, limiting its access to foreign-produced semiconductors using U.S. technologies. As China seeks to foster its own technological capabilities, the importance of intellectual property protection in the battle for tech supremacy has become increasingly evident.