China to hike annual per capita R&D spending 35% by 2020

China will hike its annual per capita spending on R&D by a whopping 35 per cent to 500,000 yuan by 2020, the government announced today as the world’s second largest economy sought to tap its rich pool of researchers to emerge as an innovation giant.

More than 1.1 million overseas Chinese skilled workers returned to China from 2011 to 2015, three times the number of the previous three decades combined, it said. (Reuters)

China will hike its annual per capita spending on R&D by a whopping 35 per cent to 500,000 yuan by 2020, the government announced today as the world’s second largest economy sought to tap its rich pool of researchers to emerge as an innovation giant. China will increase its annual per capita spending on R&D to 500,000 yuan ($72,800) by 2020 from 370,000 yuan in 2014, the Ministry of Science and Technology announced.

According to the 13th five-year plan for national science and technology talent development (2016-2020) released by the ministry, China had 5.35 million people working in R&D by the end of 2015, the world’s largest pool of R&D talent.

More than 1.1 million overseas Chinese skilled workers returned to China from 2011 to 2015, three times the number of the previous three decades combined, it said.

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However, the country is still facing problems, including a lack of researchers in cutting-edge, high-end fields and insufficient expenditure on R&D talent, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

A newly released study by the Boston Consulting Group had said that China and other nations are capitalising on product development breakthroughs in the US — to the detriment of the domestic manufacturing sector.

The report showed that China eclipsed the US in late- stage research and development spending for the first time in recent years.

The US, however, continued to lead the world in overall R&D investment — an indication, USA Today reports, that other countries are reaping the rewards of technology that was pioneered in the US.

Experts say the emergence of a home grown R&D culture in the world’s second largest economy will not only help the country transition from developing to developed nation status, but also boost its transformation from an export to a consumption-led economy as envisaged by the China’s Communist Party leadership.

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