China’s R&D expenditure exceeded 3 trillion yuan for the first time in 2022, reaching a total of 3.09 trillion yuan ($449 billion), according to data released on Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Science and Technology. This marks a significant milestone in China’s development as a global R&D powerhouse, with its budget having tripled from 2012 to 2022, making it the world’s second-largest R&D spender.
China’s R&D personnel also showed impressive growth, increasing 1.8-fold from 2012 to 5.72 million in 2021. The number of highly cited scientists on the Chinese mainland rose from 111 in 2014 to 1,169 in 2022.
The country’s high-tech industry has also thrived, with the number of high-tech companies increasing from 49,000 in 2012 to 330,000 in 2021. In 2021, China had 683 companies listed among the world’s top 2,500 R&D spenders.
China has also made significant progress in key technological fields, with many of its tech companies becoming world-class innovators in unmanned drones, e-commerce, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and telecommunications.
China has climbed 23 spots since 2012 to take the 11th place on the Global Innovation Index 2022 published by the World Intellectual Property Organization. Its Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou, Beijing, and Shanghai-Suzhou regions were ranked among the world’s most innovative sci-tech clusters.
China’s 173 national high-tech industrial zones have become a crucial driver of its socioeconomic development, with their GDP growing from 5.4 trillion yuan in 2012 to 15.3 trillion yuan in 2021. The number of national high-tech zones whose annual revenue reached above 100 billion yuan also increased from 54 in 2012 to 97 in 2021.
With an extensive innovation survey system that includes over 18 government departments, 2,400 universities, 1 million companies, over 6,800 research institutions, and 103 innovative cities across 31 provincial-level regions, China has established itself as a global innovation powerhouse after a decade of development.