The United States is still a leader in nanotech, but the low cost of doing business in China is boosting that country's ranking for nanotech research and development investments, according to a report that Lux Research released Friday. Public and private groups invested $12.4 billion in the industry's research and development worldwide in 2006, while companies sold more than $50 billion worth of nano-enabled products, according to the report, "Profiting from International Nanotechnology."
Lux researchers viewed government spending, patents, publications, and other metrics to analyze the international nanotechnology market. They also visited several countries to measure nanotech competitiveness in terms of activity and innovation, as well as nations' abilities to use the innovations for economic growth.
The researchers found that the United States leads the world in government spending on nanotechnology, with $1.78 billion spent by federal and state governments. They ranked Japan and Germany in second and third place in terms of government spending on nanotechnology, with $975 million and $563 million worth of state and federal investments.
However, when lower costs of goods and services are considered, China is closing the lead, with $906 million, according to Lux.
"It's clear that leading nations in nanotech, particularly the U.S. and Japan, aren't going to be pushed aside any time soon," report author and senior analyst Michael Holman said in a statement. "They will have more competition at the top, however."
Corporations spent $5.3 billion on nanotech research and development in 2006, marking a 19% rise over 2005, according to the report. The report ranked the United States first in that category, with $1.93 billion in corporate spending, while Japanese corporations spent $1.70 billion, with price parity factored in. When researchers considered price parity, China's corporate nanotech funding reached $165 million. That marks a 68% increase over 2005, according to the report.
The United States also led the way with more than 43,000 publications on nanoscale science and engineering since 1995, according to Lux. China ranked second with more than 25,000, according to the report. The report ranked the United States first for industry patents, with 6,081, while Germany held 773. There were a total of 10,105 patents found in all 14 countries studied.
Lux provides market intelligence on nanotechnology and physical sciences.