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China to 'overtake US in innovation by 2020'

Published on 13/12/10 at 12:24pm

China will replace the US as the number one ‘powerhouse of innovation’ within the next ten years according to a new poll.

An international survey sponsored by AstraZeneca reveals many believe China will become a world leader in innovation and science.

China was closely followed by India in the survey, in which 30% of people said the US is the most innovative today, ahead of Japan at 25%. The UK was rated most innovative by only three per cent.

The internet, computers and electricity were named as the most significant discoveries of the 20th century. However, participants in the US, UK and Sweden placed equal importance on the invention of vaccines and antibiotics.

The IT and telecomms industry was listed across the board as being the most inventive, followed by pharma - which was seen to be as inventive as the automative, aerospace and media industries.

The research was conducted across six countries: UK, the US, Sweden, Japan, India and China. A total of 1,000 interviews were conducted in each country.

The findings show almost all countries believe they are “not as innovative as they used to be” – with the exception of China, where more people disagreed than agreed with that statement.

David Brennan, chief executive of AstraZeneca, said: “I am convinced that the greatest innovations are discovered when the best skills and talents from around the world can be effectively combined.”

He added: “I’m also encouraged to see in the survey that public perceptions of innovation and creativity are strongly associated with science and medicine. After all, we have a common connection with people around the world through our universal interest in better health.”

The survey highlights a sense of optimism among people in China and India about the ability of their nations to prosper through innovation – in contrast to the views of those in developed Western countries.

Brett Wells

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