China overtakes Japan to become 2nd largest R&D spender

Rising power China has grabbed headlines for being the top, if not amongst the top, in the world for a cavalcade of reasons. This time, it is more than beating every country in the world in math, science and reading.

In a pivotal moment in history – perhaps even signaling a global power shift in the making – China has overtaken Japan to be the second largest R&D spender in the world, “easily outstripping” money invested by Germany, France, and Britain; countries that dominate the list two decades ago, Reuters reports.

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From Reuters,

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 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 U.N. World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

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.

While China has received plenty of criticism regarding its adherence to copyright laws and patent rights, the country is doing all it can to ensure that its R&D innovation efforts do not go to waste. Invoking the legal provisions as set out by copyright, intellectual property rights and licensing laws, China is bent on protecting innovations produced by Chinese research; as the report by U.N. World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) shows sharp spikes in the number of Chinese applications for patents and trademarks.

Another telling sign that the Chinese economy is doing well is conveyed through the source of its R&D investment.

The public sector was the main funder of research and development in most middle income countries, predominantly in Latin American and Asia…

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