Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Global investment in research and development is rapidly shifting from North America and Europe to Asian centres such as Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Beijing, according to new research.Researchers at the University of Sheffield and Aston Business School found that the shift was resulting in a small elite club of regions, in both the advanced and developing world, that are dominating the global knowledge economy.

The researchers found that companies in advanced regions such as Silicon Valley in the US, Cambridge in the UK, Ottawa in Canada and Helsinki in Finland, are increasingly establishing partnerships and networks with companies and universities in fast-developing Asian regions.

They found that of the US $50 billion invested by multinational companies in R&D projects around the world between 2002 and 2005, Asian economies received 58 percent of this investment, with Europe receiving 22 percent and North America 14 percent. The research has been published in a report titled ‘Competing for Knowledge´.

The majority of the investment in Asia is concentrated in a very small number of locations such as Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Mumbai in India and Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai in China.

While Asia was the dominant destination of R&D investment, North America was the primary source, accounting for 50 percent R&D investment, followed by Europe with 28 percent This resulted in North America having net R&D investment deficit of US$18 billion and Europe a deficit of US$3 billion.

According to report authors Robert Huggins, of the University of Sheffield´s Management School, and Hiro Izushi, of Aston Business School, the key impact of this global redistribution of knowledge is that many regions in North America and Europe were losing out and the competitiveness gap between these locations and the elite regions was becoming even wider.
The research also showed that companies in advanced economies were finding it increasingly difficult to create innovations resulting in market-leading goods and services.
For example, between 1996 and 2006 productivity growth resulting from innovation in the United States amounted to only 1.5 percent per annum, considerably lower than that achieved in the 1950s or 1960s.

Huggins said: “As the knowledge required to produce innovations becomes more specialised and located in new locations around the world, companies are having to ensure that they are closely linked and aligned with these new sources wherever they may be.

“Since China is now the second highest research spender it is increasingly likely that it will feature more prominently as one of these new sources.”

Source: Indo-Asian News Service

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