Innovative Japan

Innovative Japan

Switzerland is considered to be the most innovative country in the world by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and by the business school INSEAD using the Global Innovation Index, GII. (For more information,read our blog entry: “Switzerland is the World’s Most Innovative Country”.)

How does Japan rank among Asian countries on innovativeness?

In the GII 2013, the ranking of Asian countries was as follows:
07. Hong Kong (59.43) / 08. Singapore (59.41) / 18. Rep. of Korea (53.31) / 22. Japan (52.23) / 32. Malaysia (46.92) / 35. China (44.66) / 57. Thailand (37.63) / 66. India (36.17) / 72. Mongolia (35.77)

Japan Ranked Highest in Quality of Innovation

“It makes sense to move beyond quantity in the few areas where this is possible, and to introduce some metrics on the quality of innovation inputs and outputs.” (WIPO report 2013)

Japan ranks highest in Asia

Quality of Innovation: Japan highest in Asia

The GII2013 ranking therefore also considers not only the quantity of innovation inputs and outputs, but also its quality in a sub-ranking: Average score of top-3 universities in the QS World University Ranking 2012, patent families filed in at least three offices, number of citable documents. Japan is ranked the highest in this category among Asian countries.

Japan has highest number of Triadic Patents

Japan is top in two more indices related to innovation: R&D expenditure as percentage of GDP, as well as number of patent applications and number of accepted patents.

Japan top-5 in expenditure on R&D

Japan: Top-5 in R&D expenditure

With 3.26% of its GDP used for R&D expenditure, Japan ranks 2nd within Asia and 5th world-wide (OECD: 2.4%, Switzerland: 2.99%). (Source: OECD Factbook 2013)

Corporate R&D spending is 4 times as high as government R&D spending (20/80 ratio). 353 of the world’s Top-2000 companies ranked by R&D are Japanese, spending together more than 100 trillion Euros (>100’000’000’000’000 Euro)! Highest R&D investor in Japan, and second-highest in Asia behind Korea’s Samsung, is Toyota Motor Co with 7 trillion Euros.

For triadic patent families, Japan (118 patents / 1 Mio. inhabitants) barely leads Switzerland (108 patents/ 1 Mio. inhabitants) with the two countries topping the list; OECD average is 38 patents/ 1 Mio. inhabitants. (Source: OECD Factbook 2013)

Also in absolute numbers, Japan is leading with its number of triadic patents of 15’067 (in comparison: Switzerland: 847, USA: 13’837, Rep. of Korea: 2’182, China: 875, India: 201).

What is interesting is also the number of granted vs. applied patents by origin in the year 2012 (2012 from WIPI):

Japan Switzerland USA China Rep. of Korea India
Applied 486’070 39’858 460’276 560’681 203’410 18’020
Granted 343’484 19’571 228’918 152’102 112’090 3’588

Important Partner for Switzerland

For Switzerland, Japan is by far the most important research-partner in Asia. This can, for example, be seen in the number of joint research projects between Switzerland and Japan, published by the Swiss National Science Foundation:

Japan most important research partner in Asia

“The number of co-operations in SNSF-funded projects has increased slightly for Japan in the past six years, during which time it has clearly been the leading partner country in numerical terms.” – SNSF 2012 Annual Report (p. 14).

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