Policy brief

The World innovation landscape: Asia rising?

Growth in research and development spending globally has been vigorous, averaging nearly eight percent annually during the last five years. An ever-la

Publishing date
31 January 2013

Highlights

• Research and development spending has risen rapidly in Asia, particularly in China, which is now the world’s second R&D spender behind the United States.The increase in Korean and Chinese patent applications has been even more rapid, but Chinese patenting for exploitation on the main markets for innovation(the European Union, Japan and the US) is still marginal.

• Asia's increased innovation spending is most prominently related to information and communication technologies. Overall, the Chinese and Korean economies are still not specialised in knowledge-intensive goods and services.Furthermore, China in particular is not (so far) capturing much value from its role as a manufacturer and exporter of high-tech goods; China remains mostly an assembler of goods, the value of which is created elsewhere.

• It would be wrong to ignore China's innovation potential on the basis of its current performance. Its clear innovation ambitions are likely to drive its future growth.

• Europe is struggling much more than the US to retain its place at the global innovation table. The EU should use Asia’s capacity building in innovation as an opportunity for value capture.

About the authors

  • Reinhilde Veugelers

    Prof Dr. Reinhilde Veugelers is a full professor at KULeuven (BE) at the Department of Management, Strategy and Innovation.  She is a Senior Fellow at Bruegel since 2009.  She is also a CEPR Research Fellow, a member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and of the Academia Europeana. From 2004-2008, she was on academic leave, as advisor at the European Commission (BEPA Bureau of European Policy Analysis).  She served on the ERC Scientific Council from 2012-2018 and on the RISE Expert Group advising the commissioner for Research.  She is a member of VARIO, the expert group advising the Flemish minister for Innovation.    She is currently a member of the Board of Reviewing Editors of the journal Science and a co-PI on the Science of Science Funding Initiative at NBER.

    With her research concentrated in the fields of industrial organisation, international economics and strategy, innovation and science, she has authored numerous well cited publications in leading international journals.  Specific recent topics include novelty in technology development,  international technology transfers through MNEs, global innovation value chains, young innovative companies, innovation for climate change,  industry science links and their impact on firm’s innovative productivity, evaluation of research & innovation policy,  explaining scientific productivity,  researchers’ international mobility,  novel scientific research.

    Websites:
    https://feb.kuleuven.be/reinhilde.veugelers
    https://bruegel.org/author/reinhilde-veugelers/

Related content

Working paper

Raising EU productivity through innovation

A better overview of which firms are most likely to adopt digital technologies and to innovate, and to turn these investments into productivity growth

Reinhilde Veugelers and Frederic Warzynski