Which economies invest the most in research and development (R&D)? The answer might not be what you think. South Korea ploughs a whopping 4.24% of its gross domestic product (GDP) into science and technology — neck and neck with Israel, and putting much of Europe and the United States to shame. Taiwan also invests heavily, beating science heavyweight Japan in 2016 in terms of the share of its economy devoted to R&D.
In East Asia, several science powerhouses are investing strongly in science. Although mainland China and Japan get much of the attention here — they are the area’s biggest economies and have giant scientific workforces — South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong have established themselves as strong supporters of research, and Malaysia is fast growing its scientific output.