GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.'s intellectual property agency says China is showing "quite extraordinary" growth in international patent applications, putting Chinese applicants on track to outpace their U.S. counterparts within two to three years.

Francis Gurry, director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization, says China posted nearly 45-percent growth in such patent applications last year, saying "the country continues its journey from 'Made in China' to 'Created in China.'"

Overall, the United States was first for the 39th straight year and accounted for nearly 56,600 applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, followed by Japan at over 45,200 and China at nearly 43,200.

China's state-owned ZTE Corporation in Shenzhen, one of the world's biggest suppliers of network switching gear, was the No. 1 applicant last year, topping crosstown rival Huawei. U.S.-based Qualcomm was third.

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