Decades of rapid economic growth have enabled China to invest in key areas that drive innovation, such as research and development and the creation of new intellectual property. These investments have improved China’s GII ranking and enabled it to compete with advanced economies, such as the United States and Sweden.
Research and development (R&D) is the backbone of innovation. It supports the development of new products and services, which can boost growth and productivity. In recent decades, China has increasingly prioritized R&D, with spending as a percent of GDP rising from 0.72 percent in 1991 to 2.13 percent in 2017. Although this is less than the OECD average of 2.37 percent, the immense size of China’s economy means that its R&D expenditure is now second only to the United States at $442.7 billion (in 2010 USD).