• The Chinese government’s tech crackdown has not slowed the progress of Chinese firms in blockchain research and development

  • Despite Beijing’s recent crackdown on crypto and some of the country’s largest tech firms, Chinese companies continue to dominate the blockchain patents charts.

    In an ironic twist, some of the companies that have been targeted by a recent crackdown on gaming, fintech, entertainment, and chat app operators are prominently featured in the most recent global blockchain patents index, compiled by the intellectual property industry media outlet IPR Daily and the incoPat Innovation Index Research Center.

    Despite its apparent mistrust of the Middle Kingdom’s largest tech firms, Beijing remains committed to winning the global blockchain technology race – and has provided “policy support” to companies making blockchain-related “corporate investment.”

    As a result, Ant Group, an Alibaba fintech subsidiary and WeChat Pay operator, now ranks first on the annual top 100 list, far ahead of its domestic and global competitors in the world of blockchain research and development. The company has registered 1,252 blockchain authorized patents, which is more than the “sum of the second to fifth-placed companies” on the list.

    In addition, the Alibaba parent company registered 249 of its own patents, ranking fourth on the list.

    This progress is all the more remarkable given Ant Group’s ordeal at the hands of Chinese regulators this year. Its initial public offering (IPO) was thwarted at the last minute by Beijing, and its founder, Jack Ma, vanished without a trace. Several months later, a newly subdued and heartbroken Ma reappeared on the scene, but he appears to be a shadow of his former self.

    More recently, the company has run afoul of data and monopoly regulations, which Beijing has used to chip away at the power base of leading technology companies.

    Despite very similar challenges, Alibaba’s main rival has experienced exponential growth in blockchain patents: Tencent fell out of the world’s top ten companies last month, according to Investment Week, with frightened shareholders in the West caught up in a sell-off of Chinese tech stocks.

    However, the firm’s Tencent Technology division grew at the fastest rate on the index in the previous year, ranking second to Ant with 391 authorized blockchain-related patents.

    China’s blockchain industry “has developed rapidly and is in a leading position in blockchain patents.”

    America’s IBM came in third place, with 297 authorized patents. Bank of America was ninth on the list with 74 patents, and the only other non-Chinese firm in the top 10 was Coinplug of South Korea (ranked fifth) with 114.

    Over half of the top 100 companies on the list were Chinese, with the remaining quarter being American. The list also included five South Korean and five Japanese companies, as well as four German firms. Other countries could only muster a single company on the list.

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