China overtakes Japan to become world’s second R&D investor

5 December 2006

Beijing, China, 05 Dec – China has overtaken Japan to become the world’s second-largest investor in Research and Development (R&D), after the United States, British financial daily the Financial Times reported Monday.

The paper, citing a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), calculated China’s total investment in R&D in 2006 as being US$136 billion, or 20 percent more than in 2005.

Chinese investment is more than the US$130 billion Japan has spent, but is far below the US$300 billion spent by the US.

“Chinese investment has been rapidly increasing for some time, but it is surprising that it has overtaken Japan so soon,” said Dirk Pilat, director of the OECD’s division of science and technology, quoted by the FT.

Pilat also said that China channelled most of its R&D investment into activities to change foreign products for the Chinese market, rather than focusing on innovation.

However, Pilat added that there were signs that China was beginning to develop original R&D. (macauhub)