China’s R&D expenditures have been growing since 2012, reaching CNY 1.76 trillion ($255.3 billion) in 2017 and accounting for 2.1% of GDP. This R&D figure exceeds that of several countries; as an example, the UK’s 2016 ratio of R&D to GDP was 1.67%, while China’s was 2.08%.
China’s chemistry research has been on a rapid rise, with the Nature Index ranking China as second in the world, after the US, as China’s chemistry research publication output grew 84% between 2012 and 2017. During the same period, US chemistry output fell 10%. China is also on par with the US in chemistry sub-disciplines and surpassed the US in is number of organic chemistry publications in 2015.
China has been a high performer in chemistry for international research publications, as it has long been a key part of the country’s scientific research. Organic chemistry specifically is China’s strongest sub-discipline due to the low costs and time required in setting up an organic chemistry lab. There has also been a great deal of growth in the field, such as in organic synthesis methods, nano-catalysts and natural product chemistry.