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China surpasses US in later-stage innovation spending

By Dai Tian | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-04-18 14:11

China surpasses US in later-stage innovation spending

File photo shows high-speed rail in China. [Photo/Xinhua]

While the United States remains central to innovation research, China has become the biggest spender on later-stage development, a Boston Consulting Group study released on Monday shows.

China is expected to invest up to twice as much as the US, or $658 billion (4.5 trillion yuan), in the back end of the research and development (R&D) chain by 2018, focusing on translating basic and applied research into commercial products and new manufacturing processes.

US leadership in industrial innovation "looks far less secure", despite its push in front-end R&D investment, the report concluded.

The report suggested academic research should align with the interests of manufacturing industries.

Contributions by the private sector account for 34 percent of university R&D budgets in China, while companies contribute less than 5 percent in the US.

About 38 percent of published research in China focuses on engineering, while the figure is only 11 percent in the US, the report cited as another example.

The surge in research spending comes as part of the country's decade-long efforts to upgrade its manufacturing sector.

The world's second largest economy now ranks ninth according to the number of domestically domiciled high-tech public companies. Innovation has sprawled out in diverse fields such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, drones, e-commerce, electronic vehicles, mobile telecommunications, high-speed rail, robotics and supercomputing.

China's advance also comes as countries including Germany, Japan, and South Korea are unanimously turning to translate technological findings into new commercial products, according to the report.

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