(Yicai Global) Dec. 8 -- China's high-tech and coffee producers are now better positioned in global standings and have better value chains, according to a report from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
The report researches three economies -- East Asia, North America and Europe -- which enjoy closely-linked supply chains. They have similar production models, in which the high-income "headquarter" country exports intermediate products and services to the middle-income "factory" nations. The latter then assembles and exports them, Chinese state-run Reference News reported.
Japan, the US and Germany have long been the headquarters of these regional economies, but this vertical production network has undergone tremendous changes in recent years. China's steadily increasing high-tech and value-added products and services, and the gradual moves of the nation's companies into the upper reaches of value chains highlight these differences.
"Intangible capital -- notably in the form of technology, design and branding-- permeates global value chains in important ways," said Francis Gurry, director general of WIPO. "It accounts for a good part of what consumers pay for in a product and determines which companies are successful in the marketplace."
The report explores the coffee, solar and smartphone sectors, with the latter seeing an increased concentration of technological accumulation at core companies in a handful of countries and regions. South Korea and China are beginning to take over technical strengths which the US, Japan and Europe previously held.
The distribution of the value chain in the global solar industry has undergone significant changes over the past 10 years. Both upstream and midstream segments are shifting toward China, making it a new key player in the sector.
In the coffee business, a large proportion of patent applications come from the US, Switzerland and Italy, though China's presence is expanding. It now has a number of intellectual property applications on par with the top five java importers. Over the past two decades, the nation has doubled its coffee production every five years.