China's R&D investment 2nd in the world: report

Updated: 2011-11-15 04:12


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GENEVA - China has overtaken Japan to become the world's second biggest spender on industrial research and development (R&D), trailing only the United States, a report by the United Nations (UN) said on Monday.

Chinese investment in R&D rose to 12.8 percent of the world total in 2009, up from just 2.2 percent in 1993, according to the report by the UN World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

Investment into R&D, driven by China's businesses and its state-funded universities, easily outstripped money poured in by Germany, France and Britain, countries that were near the top of the list two decades ago.

Their shares all fell, according to the agency, which acts as a focus for the global patent and copyright system.

R&D is seen as a key driver of technology-based industries but spurs growth across all sectors.

The report also showed sharp rises in the number of Chinese applications for patents and trademarks, to protect innovations produced by Chinese research.

The United States held on to the top position in the global R&D rankings. But its share fell 3.4 percentage points to 33.4 percent, still more two and a half times larger than China's.

The public sector was the main funder of R&D in most middle income countries, predominantly in Latin American and Asia. Brazil now accounts for 1.8 per cent of the global total, said the agency.

The private sector carried out most research and development in China and other high income countries.