China surges, India lags in R&D spending

Indian researchers must make more links with industry Copyright: FAO

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[NEW DELHI] China ranks third in research and development (R&D) investment, after the United States and Japan and far head of India among Asian nations, a recent report by the Goldman Sachs Group shows.
In Asia, China’s investment as a share of its national wealth has doubled since 1999, reaching 1.5 per cent in 2007, behind the 3.5 per cent investment in Japan and Korea; while India’s stagnated at 0.7.
China’s current investment in R&D is US$100 billion, compared to US$325 billion in the US and US$123 billion in Japan, the report released last month (10 September) said. China’s target of spending 2.5 per cent of its national wealth (gross domestic product) on R&D by 2020 translates into a tripling of its investments in this sector, to US$300 billion.
In general, research spending in Asia exceeds European Union levels and is likely to overtake US levels in the next five years, thanks to strong growth in China, with industry as the main driver of the growth in Japan, Korea and China, the report said.
The report cited several examples of the rising importance of growth markets to R&D investment and employment by US multinationals. These include Pfizer, Microsoft, Intel, and Applied Materials, and Boeing and Cisco Systems which expanded operations in China or India or both.
China’s share in science and engineering articles has risen sixfold since the mid-1990s, from 9,000 to nearly 57,000 each year, and accounted for seven per cent of the global research output in 2007. India’s share stagnated at two per cent between 1999 and 2007; while that of the US declined from 31 per cent to 28 per cent; and the European Union from 36 per cent to 32 per cent.
Part of the shift towards Asia in the global innovation scene is due to expansion of university education. Enrolment in university education has tripled since 2000 to two per cent; while in Brazil it has nearly doubled, reaching 30 per cent. Progress has been slower in India, rising from 10 per cent to 14 per cent.