BEIJING — China’s spending on research and development (R&D) resumed double-digit growth in 2016, closing in on the level of developed countries.
R&D spending rose 10.6 percent year-on-year to 1.57 trillion yuan ($234 billion) in 2016, 1.7 percentage points higher than the rate in 2015, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Oct 10.
The spending accounted for 2.11 percent of China’s GDP, but only at tiny fraction — 0.05 percentage points — higher than the 2015 level.
Structure of R&D spending improved as more money was given to fundamental research, with high-tech firms and private research firms spending more. Spending on fundamental research remained low compared with developed countries, said Guan Xiaojing, a senior statistician with the NBS.
China still lags far behind major innovation-driven economies such as Israel, the Republic of Korea and Japan, Guan said.
According to the 13th five-year plan for national science and technology talent development (2016-2020), China had 5.35 million people working in R&D at the end of 2015, the world’s largest pool of R&D talent.