R&D: China To Overtake The EU?

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.”

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".