Monday, September 30, 2013

China's struggle for innovate

While spending helps, in China's case, it's not the bottleneck (WSJ):

In China, that's an especially tough transition. Chinese scientists complain that Beijing focuses too heavily on headline-grabbing efforts, like building supercomputers—it currently makes the world's fastest supercomputer, in a ranking done every six months by Top500, a group of leading computer scientists—rather than fundamental science that could spawn new industries.

China has become the world's No. 2 spender on R&D behind the U.S., but the U.S. spends 19% of its R&D budget on basic science—the kind of research that can spawn new fields over time—compared with just 5% for China, according to the U.S. National Science Foundation.

"Chinese politics is a major inhibiting factor—with so many circumscribed 'no-go zones' for research," said David Shambaugh, a George Washington University China scholar. Singapore's prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, noted during a speech to a senior Communist Party school last year, "all eight Nobel Prize winners in science who are of Chinese descent either were or subsequently became American citizens."

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