Is China about to drive smartly past the EU and establish itself as a global R&D powerhouse? Somehow I doubt this, but nonetheless it seems to be the view of Janez Potocnik, EU commissioner for research, who is quoted by the FT as saying: The Chinese trend is extremely clear. If the trend continues, they [China] will catch us up in 2009 or 2010. The conditions for R&D in some emerging markets like China are improving and it is obvious that they [European companies] are transferring some of their investments there.
Really I don’t think that even Potocnik believes what he is saying. He is simply drawing attention to the fact that the EU needs to wake up and get it’s R&D act together:
“At present growth rates, the EU’s public and private spending on R&D is set to rise from 1.93 per cent of GDP in 2003 to 2.2 per cent in 2010, well short of the 3 per cent target agreed by EU heads of government as part of the 2002 Lisbon strategy.
R&D investment in China was 1.31 per cent of GDP in 2003 but is rising at a double-digit rate.”