Korea is the current world champion of R&D spending

Korea is the current world champion of R&D spending

By Matt Phillips @MatthewPhillips June 19, 2014

South Korea punches far above its weight when it comes to spending on innovation. In 2012, Korea spent 4.4% of GDP on research and development. That’s the highest among the developed nations tracked by OECD, the Paris-based rich nation think tank. The private sector is a key driver. Private-sector R&D spending is up 35% between 2008 and 2011, and has more than doubled since 2003.

The surge has pushed Korean patents up 32% since 2008. And South Korea’s share of global patent production was up to 5.7% in 2011, the last year of available data. (It was 2.3% of global in 2003.) There’s a fairly simple reason for Korea’s hypertrophied business R&D: Although much of this growth has been in the private sector, it’s heavily government-subsidized.

Of course there are problems with this system. In particular, R&D tax credits favor large companies that pay higher rates of corporate tax. In other words, those kind of policies tend to favor corporate incumbents, and can have an unintended negative impact on new entrants trying to make their mark.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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