I quote from the article from The Economist from which I drew this graph:
(T)he explosion of patent filings is not the result of local researchers suddenly coming up with twice as many ingenious inventions: it is a response to a government order. As the report acknowledges, “the growth in output is driven by the 12th Five-Year Plan and the associated Chinese National Patent Development Strategy”. Bureaucrats have decreed that local firms will apply for 2m patents by 2015. Thanks to various subsidies and incentives, China looks set to hit that target........Of the desired 2m filings, many will be for “utility” or “design” patents, which are less substantial than “invention” patents.....
Only about 5% of patents filed by local firms in China last year were also filed abroad, whereas over a third of patents originally filed by local firms in Japan were also filed elsewhere.
Almost all of the growth in China’s invention patents over the past three years has come from local firms, not from the Chinese divisions of multinationals.I remember also that China is by far the most populous country in the world. The per capita patent rate would still be low, even were all those reported were legitimate.
While invention fuels international competitiveness, and in that respect threatens other countries, so too the more invention that goes on globally, the better for the average person everywhere.