Chinese patenting applications surged 45% in 2016, according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo), putting the country on track to overtake Japan and the US to become the largest user of the international patent system within two years. ZTE and Huawei, two of China’s largest telecoms and electronics companies, topped the 2016 rankings for corporate patenting compiled by the Geneva-based UN agency. Wipo’s analysis covers international applications through the patent co-operation treaty, which tend to be of higher quality than purely domestic filings. If trends continue, China will move ahead of Japan this year and the US within two years to become the leader in the international patent system. Chinese inventors made 43,000 international applications in 2016, while domestic filings exceeded one million, making China’s patent office the world’s busiest, according to the Financial Times.