Jan 11, 2019 07:04 PM

Chart of the Day: Huawei Is No. 5 Global R&D Investor, European Commission Says

A total of 438 Chinese companies were among the top 2,500 global investors in research and development (R&D) for 2017-2018, according to an index published by the European Commission.

But despite making up nearly a fifth of the 2,500 companies, Chinese firms accounted for only 10% of the group’s total R&D investment, according to data from the 2018 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard.

China spent 1.76 trillion yuan ($254 billion) on R&D in 2017, up 12.3% year-on-year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (link in Chinese). Though the country’s R&D spending has surged, the gap between China and the U.S is still huge. The report found the U.S. still leads in R&D spending with 778 companies listed in the top 2,500, accounting for more than a third (37%) of global investment, followed by the EU with 557 companies (27%) and Japan with 339 companies (14%).


Huawei was the only Chinese company to make the top 10, ranking fifth after spending $13.1 billion. It moved up from No. 6 last year. Spending $2.4 billion more was South Korea’s Samsung, in the No. 1 spot. Half of the top 10 were from the U.S.

After the arrest of a top Huawei executive and the sanctions on ZTE Corp., China could witness a significant rise in R&D spending in the future. A December report released by the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress proposed strengthening R&D in major, key and core technologies to better protect national industrial security.

Contact reporter Gao Baiyu (

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