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Korean Enterprises’ R&D Activities Slowing Down
Lagging Behind China
Korean Enterprises’ R&D Activities Slowing Down
  • By Cho Jin-young
  • March 8, 2016, 03:30
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Pangyo Global R&D Center in Gyeonggi Province, Korea.
Pangyo Global R&D Center in Gyeonggi Province, Korea.


The Korea Industrial Technology Association announced on March 7 that Korea’s top 20 R&D investors for 2014 recorded a total R&D investment of 28.4444 trillion won in that year, equivalent to 57.1% of the total R&D investment in the corporate sector.

The ratio, which had been 49.2% in 2009, began to increase rapidly in 2012 and has risen by 7.9 percentage points since then. Likewise, the ratio of the investment by the top five increased by 7.0 percentage points from 39.2% to 46.2% between 2009 and 2014.

According to the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning, in the meantime, the rate of increase in R&D expenditures in domestic industries fell from 16.4% to 7% or so between 2011 and 2014. The rate of corporate R&D investment increase that is checked each year by the association dropped from 16.7% to 6.8% between 2011 and last year, too.

These days, Chinese enterprises are investing more and more in research and development in order to take the lead in high-tech industries. The EU announced late last year that the world’s top 1,000 R&D investors for 2014 included 22 Korean and 80 Chinese enterprises. The number was no less than 334 for American and 159 for Japanese. On the top 200 list, Samsung ranked second, followed by LG (46th), Hyundai Motor Company (79th), SK Hynix (98th) and Kia Motors (149th), while 12 Chinese companies put their names on it, including Huawei (15th), PetroChina (65th), ZTE (83rd), Lenovo (128th), Baidu (131st), Tencent (132nd) and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (135th).

Chinese enterprises are expected to continue to increase their R&D investments for a while. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, 123 Chinese companies joined the list of the global top 1,000 R&D-oriented enterprises in 2015, in which Huawei took the 16th place ahead of Apple and Alibaba ranked 84th.