China joins the ranks of the world’s 25 most-innovative economies, while Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Finland and Singapore lead the 2016 rankings in the Global Innovation Index, released today by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
China’s top-25 entry marks the first time a middle-income country has joined the highly developed economies that have historically dominated the top of the Global Innovation Index (GII) throughout its nine years of surveying the innovative capacity of 100-plus countries across the globe. China’s progression reflects the country’s improved innovation performance as well as methodological considerations such as improved innovation metrics in the GII.
Despite China’s rise, an “innovation divide” persists between developed and developing countries amid increasing awareness among policymakers that fostering innovation is crucial to a vibrant, competitive economy.
Innovation requires continuous investment. Before the 2009 crisis, research and development (R&D) expenditure grew at an annual pace of approximately 7%. GII 2016 data indicate that global R&D grew by only 4% in 2014. This was a result of slower growth in emerging economies and tighter R&D budgets in high-income economies – this remains a source of concern.
“Investing in innovation is critical to raising long-term economic growth,” says WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “In this current economic climate, uncovering new sources of growth and leveraging the opportunities raised by global innovation are priorities for all stakeholders.”