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Korea Tops in R&D Investment Growth
By Choi Kyong-ae
South Korea last year posted the highest annual growth rate in corporate research and development (R&D) investment led by top conglomerates increased R&D budgets, according to International R&D Scoreboard Monday.
The country's annual growth in R&D investment stood at 40 percent in 2004. Big companies, such as Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor and LG Electronics, were major contributors to the stellar growth.
Over the past three years, Samsung Electronics raised its R&D budget to $4.7 billion from $1.9 billion. Hyundai Motor increased its R&D spending to $1.9 billion from $6 billion in the past two years. LG Electronics' R&D expenditure was up $820 million won to $1.8 billion for the past three years.
The R&D scoreboard, published by the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), lists the world's top 1,000 companies by R&D spending.
Other countries that increased R&D spending last year included Taiwan (17 percent) the United States (7 percent), Japan (4 percent) in a row.
However, the R&D gap between Europe and the rest of the world continued to widen with corporate R&D spending being at 2 percent for Europe but at 7 percent for the U.S. and Asia.
Over the past four years, overall R&D investment in Europe stood still while their counterparts in the U.S. and Europe showed a steady growth in it. For example, the U.S. spent 12 percent more on R&D than the four-year average of European economies.
Ironically, U.S. carmakers General Motors and Ford that used to top the scoreboard saw their rankings slip down. But, a company based in Europe, DaimlerChrysler, was among the top R&D spenders with an investment of $7.7 billion, higher than Pfizer of the U.S. with $7.69 billion.
In the total R&D investment around the world, DaimlerChrysler topped the scoreboard, followed by Pfizer, Ford and Toyota of Japan.