China is on track to be the world's leading country in terms of innovation by 2020, according to an AstraZeneca survey of 6,000 people in six nations. The poll found that China currently comes in third place in terms of innovation, behind the United States and Japan. China is expected by 27 percent of poll respondents to take the lead over the next decade because Asian nations are investing more in science and technology research and development (R&D). A recent study from Thomson Reuters found that collective R&D spending by Asian countries totaled $387 billion in 2008, versus $384 billion in the United States and $280 billion in Europe.
The AstraZeneca survey revealed a strong optimistic undercurrent among people residing in China and India, while people living in developed Western countries were relatively pessimistic in comparison. More than 50 percent of China and India residents expected their home countries to be the dominant global innovators by 2020, while just one in 20 Britons felt the United Kingdom would be most innovative.
Perceptions of the most critical scientific milestones also tended to fall along eastern or western lines, with the former playing up communications and computing and the latter emphasizing antibiotics and vaccines.
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