Theory-driven and theory-based studies on innovation in China are relatively scarce. Most innovation studies about Chinese business are based on Chinese policy and government programmes and their results. This special issue of Technology Analysis and Strategic Management explores China's indigenous innovation strategy and suggests a research agenda that focuses on Chinese innovation theory building that incorporates China's efforts to move towards an innovation-based economy. Currently, China is developing its indigenous innovation capabilities (The Chinese term is 自主创新, pronounced zizhu chuangxin). We suggest that innovation studies of Chinese business could focus on these indigenous innovation ambitions. In addition to this, it could adopt, and be embedded in a Chinese theory of innovation instead of a traditional Western-centric theory of innovation. Our proposition is that to better understand Chinese indigenous innovation, a new paradigm of Chinese innovation should be developed. We therefore present a research agenda that can be a starting point for the development of such a theory, and present seven papers in this special issue that give content to this idea. Obviously no theory will have a monopoly on exploring Chinese innovation phenomena, but it is interesting to add a Chinese-centric view into the Western-centric scholarly view. We hope that will be one of the contributions of this special issue on innovation in China.