Multinationals have set up more than 200 research and development (R&D) institutions with local universities in China by the end of last year, said Xue Lan, professor of public management at Tsinghua University, at a recent forum.
A report on world investment by the United Nations shows that by the end of last year multinationals had launched 750 R&D institutions in China. "Joint research institutions are no longer about public relations and enhancing the image of a company in China, but for real research," said Xue.
Xue found in his research that the joint institutions also promote the innovative ability of universities and bring the teaching staff and students closer to the advanced technologies in the world.
Li Hui, director of radio communication of Siemens' China research institute, said that around 20 percent of R&D capital of his department went to joint programs with Chinese universities.
Market-oriented basic research is the primary function of joint research institutions, followed by technology training, Xue said.
Over 42 percent of joint research institutions provide technical support to multinationals but the development of new products is mainly done in headquarters and is not an important function of local R&D centers, said Xue.
The cooperation of multinationals and local universities is still at its early stage despite the fast growth of R&D institutions, said Xue. He predicted that joint R&D programs will continue to expand in the future.
(Xinhua New Agency June 19, 2006)