China set to take R&D lead

28 June 2012

BEIJING: Companies in China are set to overtake their US rivals in the area of technology innovation, a multimarket survey of business leaders in this category has found.

KPMG, the advisory group, polled 668 executives around the world, and revealed 44% of participants expected Silicon Valley's position as the premier technology hub to shift overseas by 2016.

More specifically, 45% of the panel believed China would become the next major innovation centre, ahead of India, on 21%. Reflecting Asia's broader dominance Japan and South Korea both posted 9%.

However, only 28% of respondents from America anticipated a shift away from Silicon Valley, compared with scores of over 40% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and more than 50% in Asia Pacific.

In keeping with these results, when asked which nations were most likely to deliver "disruptive technology breakthroughs", the top spot went to China on 30%, just bettering the US on 29%.

Tudor Aw, KPMG's head of technology in Europe, said: "I think what the survey shows is that the big advances in education in China, and the money being put into technology development, are likely to lead to breakthroughs in a way that many people might not expect."

Elsewhere, India logged 13% on this measure, beating the 8% generated by Japan, and the 5% secured by South Korea, according to the analysis.

Within the overall figures, a modest 39% of US interviewees selected their home country as most likely to yield the strongest performance here, whereas 71% of the Chinese sample chose their domestic market.

Apple, the electronics manufacturer, Google, the online and mobile company, and Microsoft, the IT group, were regarded as the top innovation drivers around the world.

Some differences did exist by geography, though, as contributors in India identified Infosys, the information technology specialist, as the pre-eminent innovator. IBM, the services group, and Lenovo, another IT expert, assumed such a status in Israel.

Turning to mobile commerce, Google was joined by Facebook, the social network, and Amazon, the online retail pioneer, as the "emerging leaders" set to make an impact on the sector.

Currently, chief executives head up the innovation process at 30% of organisations, ahead of chief innovation officers on 20% and chief information officers on 15%.

Data sourced from KPMG; additional content by Warc staff