China surpassed the US in number of international patents in 2019, filing nearly 59,000. However, legal experts warn that much of the growth is being fueled by state-backed subsidies that could flood the system with cheap patents. This is also a sensitive issue fueling the US-China tech war. Further, nearly 91% of new design patents wound up being discarded in five years because patent owners apparently deemed them not worthy of renewal. According to Naubahar Sharif, associate professor of public policy at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, another indication that Chinese patents are deemed less valuable than those in Japan or the US is that they receive fewer citations by non-Chinese researchers. In response to the huge numbers of low value domestic patents, Sharif said that the patent subsidy policies were fueling innovation in China and that, in turn, would create momentum for Chinese patents to gradually move up the value chain.