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China passes US as world's top researcher, showing its R&D might

Rise fueled by heavy spending and growing number of researchers

Researchers at Tsinghua Unigroup's research center in Beijing. China spent $554 billion on research and development in 2018, putting it second behind the U.S.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- China has outstripped the U.S. in putting out research papers in the natural sciences, data released Friday shows, further illustrating its emerging dominance in scientific investigation.

China now owns the top share of scientific papers at 19.9%, while the U.S. comes in second at 18.3%. These statistics are based on the number of peer-reviewed papers published in scientific journals.

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