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Volkswagen loses global crown for research spending to U.S. tech giants
Last Updated: 2017-10-26 08:59 | Xinhua
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German car maker Volkswagen has fallen from first to fifth place in an international ranking of corporate research and development spending published on Tuesday by PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC).

After holding the first place for five years in a row, Volkswagen has been displaced by U.S. logistics firm Amazon in 2017. It was the first time that a company from the digital economy topped the annual ranking.

According to PwC's Strategy&, the firm's strategy consulting unit, Amazon intends to invest around 16.1 billion U.S. dollars in research and development until the end of the current fiscal year in June 2017.

Amazon was followed byGoogle's mother corporation Alphabet in second place, software firm Intel in third, and Korean electronics giant Samsung in fourth place.

"A glance at this year's top three is sufficient to underline the dominance of the U.S. digital giants when it comes to innovation," a statement by Strategy& European Head Peter Gassmann read.

Volkswagen plans to spend around 12.2 billion euros (14.4 billion U.S. dollars) on research and development this fiscal year, after committing 13.2 billion dollars back in 2016. Gassmann noted, however, that the difference was mainly due to currency fluctuations.

The Wolfsburg-based firm's research and development funding remained quite stable and at a high level in spite of ongoing diesel emissions and cartel scandals inGermany.

Volkswagen chief executive director Matthias Mueller recently announced that his company would increase its investments in electric mobility to 20 billion euros by 2030.

Aside from Volkswagen, rival car maker Daimler was the only German firm to make it into the ranking's Top 20 at sixteenth place.

Gassmann pointed out that German digital corporations were "nowhere to be found" in the ranking.

A total of 13 out of the 20 firms with the highest research spending had headquarters in theUnited States, followed by Europe and Asia with four and three corporations respectively.

Nevertheless, the United States only accounted for 368 entities, or around a third of the total, in Strategy&'s wider list of the 1,000 global firms.

The 1,000 firms included in the ranking spent nearly 702 billion dollars combined, the highest figure ever measured by the consultancy. Research and development spending as a share of corporate revenue also rose to a new record level of 4.5 percent. (1 euro=1.18 U.S. dollars)

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