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OECD: China to become world’s second biggest investor in R&D by the end of 2006

The recent OECD report Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2006 forecasts that, by the end of 2006, China will for the first time spend more on research and development (R&D) than Japan and will become the world’s second highest investor in R&D, behind only the United States. According to OECD, recent trends allow for the prediction that for the whole 2006, China will spend over USD 136 billion on R&D, while the investment in the same sector in the USA will be around USD 330 billion, and in Japan – USD 130 billion. The estimations for the EU-15, including France, Germany and the UK, amount to USD 230 billion.

The report highlights also that in China:
  • spending on R&D as a percentage of GDP has more than doubled between 1995 and 2004 – from 0.6% to 1.2%; in current prices, this is translated as an increase from USD 17 billion in 1995 to USD 94 billion in 2004;
  • the growth of R&D investment is rising even faster than the China’s economy growth, which is 9%–10% per year;
  • for 1995 – 2004, the number of researchers has increased by 77% and is currently estimated at some 926 000 researchers, which makes China rank second worldwide also in this category, just behind the United States (more than 1.3 million).