Annual worldwide R&D spending breaks through $700bn for the top 1000 corporate R&D spenders for first time / 25% of executives surveyed reported having already experienced some pressure to change how or where they conduct innovation / Amazon is the world’s largest corporate spender on R&D at over $16bn / Alphabet surpasses Apple, according to a global survey of R&D executives, as the most innovative company and for the first time a Chinese company, Alibaba joins the Top 10 most innovative companies list
It shows corporate R&D spending increased a steady 3% in the past year, bouncing back from less than 1% increase previously.
However, in a global survey with 562 executive participants, R&D leaders expressed concerns about the growing heat of rhetoric about economic nationalism – and its potential impact on where companies invest in R&D how they conduct innovation.
Overall, 52% of respondents say that a general move toward economic nationalism will have a moderate or significant impact on their companies’ R&D efforts.
Major companies have been conducting some R&D outside their headquarters countries for decades. In 2015 it was determined that 94% of major corporations conduct their R&D in multiple countries. But increasing attention on regulations and policies for visas, labor movement, and the regulations governing the sharing of knowledge and technology are causing some companies to question how sustainable their integrated global innovation networks are.
Nearly 33% of R&D executives surveyed, report that they have already felt the effects of economic nationalism on their R&D talent acquisition or retention because of visa or work restrictions — either losing employees, seeing less talent available, or in hiring more local talent.
“It’s been a year of highs and lows for R&D. Record levels of investment, next to unprecedented drops in alignment between innovation and business strategies. There’s no doubt that uncertainty is causing concern for medium and long term plans, irrespective of whether policy realities actually follow political rhetoric.” comments Barry Jaruzelski, Principal, PwC US, Strategy&
“Although the goals and levels of investment in corporate innovation will likely not change if economic nationalism continues to develop, the global innovation model would need to evolve. At many companies, what is now a nimble, interdependent network may become a group of more autonomous hubs, hiring specialist technical talent in local regional markets and opening future R&D centers in regional markets. It could mean companies losing efficiency and taking on higher costs if it is not managed effectively.” Commented Jaruzelski.
The Strategy& Global Innovation 1000 study analyses spending at the world’s 1000 largest publicly listed corporate R&D spenders and is now in its 13th year
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