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China overtakes EU on big companies’ R&D spending

Switch comes despite EU investment recovering from declines during pandemic

China has overtaken the EU on an annual tally of the world’s biggest private sector spend on R&D, after years of steadily increasing its scientific investment and output. 

Of the 2,500 global companies that spent the most on R&D in 2021, an annual European Commission scoreboard showed that 361 were based in the EU and accounted for 17.6 per cent of the companies’ total investment, compared with 678 based in China, which were responsible for 17.9 per cent of the total investment.

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