BRICS countries become “bellwether” in respective regions: report

Updated 2017-08-30 09:03:08 Global Times

China first in national comprehensive innovation competitiveness: report

BRICS countries have become a "bellwether" in their respective regions, leading neighboring countries in many respects, a report released Tuesday shows.

The five BRICS countries - China, Russia, South Africa, Brazil and India - are leading development in science and technology, economy and society in their regions, according to the BRICS Innovative Competitiveness Report 2017 released by the China Science and Technology Exchange Center.

The report said BRICS countries are major representatives of emerging economies, which contribute 18 percent to the global GDP, 17 percent to global research and development (R&D) investment and 27 percent to science papers published in international journals.

China ranks first in terms of national comprehensive innovation competitiveness in 2016, followed by Russia and South Africa, the report said.

BRICS countries' contributions to science, technology and innovation have increased, but much of the contributions were made by China, Chen Fengying, an expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.

For example, in terms of hi-tech export volume, China exported much of the mid- and high-technology, while other BRICS countries such as Russia mainly exported energy and military related products, Chen said.

China's leading role in national comprehensive innovation competitiveness among BRICS countries is sustained by huge R&D investments, Chen said.

In 2016, China's gross R&D spending reached 1.55 trillion yuan (9 billion), or 2.1 percent of its GDP, the report said.

"China's R&D has shifted from government to private investments, which make up 80 percent of R&D investments," Chen said.

The report predicted that "the innovation competitiveness of India would significantly rise together with its growth rate, probably surpassing China from 2025-30."

"Russia's growth rate would fall and India would take over Russia in terms of comprehensive science, technology, and innovation (STI) competitiveness by 2030," it said.

"It's possible the growth rate of India's innovation competitiveness would surpass that of China in 15 years hence considering its low level of industrialization and economic development. But the overall quality of its innovation would not be able to match China's," Chen said, adding that China' technology witnessed comprehensive development in many sectors including aerospace and military.

However, in terms of research, quality of education, modern infrastructure and eco-protection, BRICS still lags behind, the report said.

"Innovation cooperation is important for BRICS countries, especially in terms of agriculture and economy," Lu Jing, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University's Institute of International Relations, told the Global Times, adding that BRICS countries face the challenge of poverty alleviation.

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