A series of public technological platforms (PTPs) has emerged in China over the recent years. PTPs may share certain characteristics with government-sponsored R&D consortia which have flourished in Japan, USA and Europe over the decades. This paper begins with an examination of the origins and developments of PTPs in the unique context of China, detailing PTPs with case studies. Then, contrasting to the R&D consortia in Japan and USA, this paper illustrates the roles of PTPs and their current operation. Thus, it helps us to understand the emergence of PTPs out of the specific development stage of China and reveal the nature of PTPs. Furthermore, this paper addresses key issues including of the goals and organisational arrangements of PTPs, the involvement of government, all of which can be integrated to the systematic framework for developing a typology and speculating on the potential evolutionary path of PTP's in China.