BEIJING, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. were granted the most invention patents on the Chinese mainland in 2012, the intellectual property authority said Thursday.
Gan Shaoning, deputy director of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), said at a news briefing that China granted 2,734 invention patents to Huawei, and 2,727 to ZTE, two telecommunication giants, last year.
A Shenzhen-based subsidiary of the Taiwanese Foxconn ranked third, with 1,099 patents. China's auto makers BYD and Chery were also among the top 10 company patent holders.
Eight of the top 10 are in the private sector, indicating robust innovation vitality of the country's private companies.
A total of 217,105 invention patents to domestic and overseas applicants were authorized in 2012, up 26.1 percent from the previous year, according to SIPO figures.
Of the total invention patents, 143,847 were granted to domestic applicants, up 28 percentage points year on year.
Companies played a more important role in technological innovation last year, accounting for 54.7 percent of domestic patent holders, up 2.8 percentage points year on year.
Southern Guangdong Province was home to most patent holders last year, followed by Beijing and east China's Jiangsu Province.
However, Gan said China's invention patents are still behind foreign countries in areas including optics, transportation, audio-visual technologies, medical and pharmaceutical technologies, semiconductor and engines.
China has a lot to do to boost technological innovation in a number of key areas, Gan said.