China's gross domestic expenditure on R&D reached 3.09 trillion yuan ($449 billion) last year, surpassing the 3 trillion yuan milestone for the first time, according to data released on Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The country's research and development budget had tripled from 2012 to 2022, firmly establishing it as the world's second-largest R&D spender.
Last year, it spent 195.1 billion yuan on basic research, which was 3.9 times higher than in 2012.
In 2021, the strength of China's R&D personnel increased 1.8-fold, compared with 2012, to reach 5.72 million. The number of highly cited scientists on the Chinese mainland rose from 111 in 2014 to 1,169 in 2022.
The number of high-tech companies increased from 49,000 in 2012 to 330,000 in 2021, and the country had 683 companies listed among the world's top 2,500 R&D spenders in 2021.
Many Chinese tech companies have become world-class innovators in unmanned drones, e-commerce, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, telecommunication, and other fields.
Since 2012, China climbed 23 spots to take 11th place on the Global Innovation Index 2022 published by the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou was the world's second-most innovative sci-tech cluster last year, with Beijing in third place and Shanghai-Suzhou in sixth, according to the WIPO.
The 173 national high-tech industrial zones have together become a key pillar of China's socioeconomic development. The GDP of these zones grew from 5.4 trillion yuan in 2012 to 15.3 trillion yuan in 2021.
The number of national high-tech zones, whose annual revenue reached above 100 billion yuan, also increased from 54 in 2012 to 97 last year.
After a decade of development, China boasts the world's largest survey system on innovation that incorporates over 18 government departments, 2,400 universities, 1 million companies, over 6,800 research institutions, and 103 innovative cities across 31 provincial-level regions.