China handled more patent applications for inventions than any other country for the fifth year running in 2015, official data showed Thursday.
The country had over 1.1 million patent applications last year, up 18.7 percent year on year, according to figures from the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO).
About 359,000 invention patents were authorized, 263,000 of which were granted to domestic applicants, 100,000 more than in 2014, said Gong Yalin, an official with the SIPO, at a press conference.
That brought the number of invention patents owned by every 100,000 Chinese to 6.3, Gong said.
Of all the invention patents authorized in 2015, 60.5 percent went to Chinese enterprises, an annual increase of 4.1 percentage points.
China's top oil-refiner Sinopec obtained 2,844 patents, the most among all Chinese firms, followed by telecom giants ZTE and Huawei.
With the economy slowing and upgrading, innovation is being embraced by China as a new source of growth.
Authorities have rolled out favorable policies to support high-tech companies and encourage investment into research and development. In late October, the Communist Party of China made innovation one of five key concepts of development for the 2016-2020 period.
The number of patent applications filed by Chinese for inventions more than doubled in the past five years, according to SIPO data.
Despite the overall increase in patent applications, China still lags behind foreign countries in some fields, including optics and engines, Gong said.