China To Become World's Second-Largest Investor In Research

In 2006, China will spend $136 billion in R&D.

On Dec. 4 the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said that China will become the world's second largest investor in research and development after the U.S. year. Based on recent trends, China will spend about $136 billion on research and development in 2006, just over Japan's forecast of $130 billion, the OECD said. The U.S. is predicted to remain the world's leading investor in research and development in 2006, spending about $330 billion.

China's increasing spending on research partly reflects its overall economic expansion, but the OECD's research also suggested a greater emphasis on science as an engine of growth. China's spending on research and development as a percentage of its overall economy, known as R& D intensity, has more than doubled over the past decade. It was 0.6% of the Chinese gross domestic product in 1995, rising to just over 1.2% in 2004.

Over the same period, the number of Chinese researchers increased by 77%, and the country now ranks second worldwide with 926,000 people engaged in research, behind 1.3 million in the U.S., the OECD said.

"The rapid rise of China in both money spent and researchers employed is stunning," Dirk Pilat, head of the OECDs Science and Technology Policy division, said in a statement. "To keep up, OECD countries need to make their research and innovation systems more efficient and find new ways to stimulate innovation in today's increasingly competitive global economy."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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