China’s total spending on R&D in 2017 has been estimated at RMB 1.76 trillion ($279 billion), according the country’s science minister Wan Gang, marking a 14% from the previous year.
Based on calculations by Reuters, these figures make up for around 2.1% of China’s GDP, compared with 2.8% in the U.S. and 3.3% in Japan.
China has been trying to shift to a more innovation-lead, high-tech economy from one based on low skilled industry. In the past five years, China’s annual R&D spending has risen 70.9%.
“China needs to enter the ranks of innovative countries and become a big technological innovation power by 2050,” Wan said in a media briefing, “basic research and frontier exploration is the big lesson that must be done now.”