Companies that just trade in products, i.e. buy and then sell it at a profit, are doing a relatively easy job, compared to those who come up with new products and constantly update existing products. Companies that belong to the latter group are able to be innovative because they invest a massive amount of money into Research and Development (R&D). Mostly, it is the tech companies that spend a large amount of money in R&D, but they are not the only ones. Auto and pharma companies are also big R&D spenders. If you want to know more about such companies, detailed below are the top ten R&D spenders in 2020.
Top ten R&D spenders in 2020
We have used data (converted from Euro to USD) from the 2020 "EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard’," a European Commission publication, to come up with our list of the top ten R&D spenders in 2020. Following are the top ten R&D spenders in 2020:
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Johnson & Johnson ($12.03 billion)
This U.S. multinational firm develops medical devices, pharmaceutical, and consumer packaged goods. Johnson & Johnson is headquartered in New Brunswick, New Jersey, but operates in about 60 countries, while its products are sold in more than 170 countries. It has about 250 subsidiary companies. The company owns several household brands, such as Benadryl, Listerine, Band-Aid, Neutrogena and more.
It is the second (and last) pharma company on our list. This Swiss pharma company owns many biotechnology companies, including Genentech, Ventana and Chugai Pharmaceuticals. A couple of years back, it also acquired a gene therapy company, called Spark Therapeutics, for more than $4 billion. Founded in 1896, Roche is the biggest biotech company in the world, as well as a world leader in in vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and diabetes management.
Intel Corporation ($14.17 billion)
Intel is investing big into data-centric innovation, which is basically the technologies that assist in making data more informational. Founded in 1968, it is the biggest semiconductor chip manufacturer in terms of revenue. It was founded by semiconductor pioneers Gordon Moore (of Moore's law) and Robert Noyce. The company makes microprocessors, motherboard chipsets, flash memory, graphics chips and more.
Facebook, Inc. ($14.41 billion)
Even though it is the biggest social networking company, it doesn’t hold back when it comes to R&D spending. A significant amount of Facebook’s R&D spending is targeted toward AI (artificial intelligence). Facebook also owns several popular products, such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Oculus and more. The company earns the majority of its revenue from ads.
Volkswagen ($17.03 billion)
It is the only automaker in our list of top ten R&D spenders. This German car maker is one of the biggest companies globally, both in terms of sales and the number of employees. Volkswagen is always working on making its cars more reliable and convenient. For this, the company focuses on improving cars’ connectivity, automation and construction. In 2018, this German company filed more than 7,000 patent applications for employee inventions.
Apple Inc ($17.15 billion)
Even though Apple is considered the most innovative company, it ranks fifth in our list of top R&D spenders. Apple offers several products and services, including iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple Music, iOS and more. Year after year, the company keeps coming up with new features that are not just unique, but useful as well. In the last decade or so, Apple has increased its R&D spending drastically.
Samsung ($18.46 billion)
Samsung is the biggest smartphone maker, as well as a significant player in the consumer electronics space. This Korean company has R&D centers in many countries around the globe. Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone line is one of its most successful product lines. Over the last couple of years, however, Samsung has dropped in the list of R&D spending. This Korean conglomerate operates in many more segments. Samsung's revenue represents a significant portion of South Korea's GDP.
Huawei ($19.89 billion)
This Chinese tech company is a big player in the smartphone market. Along with the smartphone, Huawei is also a major player in the wireless networks segment. Huawei has increased its R&D spending in recent years, and has come up with many innovating products. In 2018, the Chinese company came up with SingleRAN Pro. This product allows mobile carriers to offer multiple wireless services and communications standards on a single network.
Microsoft Corporation ($20.36 billion)
This tech company has more than 31,000 patents and around the same number of patents are pending. Microsoft has been among the top innovators for more than two decades. In 1991, the company came up with its research subsidiary, Microsoft Research. Microsoft’s research subsidiary now employs over 1,000 people. Microsoft also owns research centers all over the world that focus on data mining, social networking, machine learning and more.
Alphabet ($27.63 billion)
The parent company of Google has been among the top R&D spenders for many years now. Alphabet is always looking for new ways to monetize user data. It not only comes up with new products, but also works on improving an existing range of products, including Android, YouTube, Gmail, Google, Maps and more. Apart from this, the company is also investing in fitness and health products through Verily and Calico.