China wird für Forschung & Entwicklung interessanter

Konzerne verlegen inzwischen auch ihre Forschungs- und Entwicklungsabteilungen verstärkt nach China, berichtet die LA Times. Mal sehen, wie sich das auf Patentaktivitäten im Reich der Mitte auswirkt:
En Li left China in 1986, convinced that was the best way to become a world-class biologist. The alternative was getting trained at poorly equipped Chinese labs or universities hollowed by the Cultural Revolution. So the graduate of Peking University went to Boston and obtained a doctorate in biology from MIT. He joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School, teaching and doing cutting-edge research in genetics. Three years ago, Li was recruited by drug maker Novartis for its global lab in Cambridge, Mass. But this spring, Li will move back here to head Novartis' newest research venture — a $100-million center that will eventually employ 400 scientists to pursue cures for infectious diseases and other ailments common among the Chinese. "I want to do something significant for the people in China," said Li, 45, a soft-spoken man with streaks of gray through his hair. "It's exciting." Li and other Chinese-born scientists working overseas are at the forefront of a new wave of foreign investment in China. After two decades of pouring billions of dollars into factories, a growing number of multinational companies like Novartis are establishing research beachheads in the Asian nation. Eager to develop products for China's vast market and tap the nation's growing pool of engineers and scientists, dozens of corporations, including Hewlett-Packard Co., Siemens, Google Inc. and Johnson & Johnson, announced in recent months the opening of Chinese research and development facilities, mostly here and in Beijing. By the time China's Ministry of Commerce compiles the statistics for 2006, it expects to see well over 800 research centers with foreign investors in the country, up from an estimated 100 six years earlier. The ramp-up signals a new stage of economic development for the rising power, as it moves beyond its role as the global leader in the production of cheap toys, textiles and fur. Increasingly, Chinese exports are electronics, appliances and ships. "The time that any foreign company can build factories and easily enjoy tax breaks is gone," said Mei Xinyu, a research analyst at the Ministry of Commerce. "Now China is making a choice among all these foreign investments, and those blood-and-sweat factories will not be welcomed anymore." China's overall spending on research in 2006 has been estimated at $136 billion, up 20% from the previous year, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. About 16% of that is foreign-affiliated research spending, says Mario Cervantes, a senior economist at the Paris-based group.

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