IPOS (Intellectual Property Office of Singapore) recently announced that in its capacity as the receiving Office under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), PCT applications in Chinese have been accepted since 1 January, 2017. This expansion of IPOS’ service offering is in line with Singapore's positioning as a regional IP hub.

This new service makes it more convenient for entities that prefer to describe their inventions in Chinese, particularly in circumstances when the inventor(s) is more proficient in Chinese than English. Under such circumstances, the entities now have an option to defer translation costs from Chinese to English (generally) until respective national phase entry deadlines.

Moreover, this new service may give rise to an increase in the number of patent attorneys in Singapore who can draft patent specifications in Chinese, which is currently an area where there is a shortage of expertise. This may also compel firms from China to shift some of their operations to Singapore as Chinese companies may be attracted to conduct research in Singapore due to Singapore being a choice location to seek funding for start-ups. This new initiative may also see a greater number of start-ups in Singapore helmed by Chinese nationals, leading to the creation of jobs in an uncertain economic environment over the next few years.