STUTTGART (dpa-AFX) - According to an analysis, numerous US companies have once again increased their spending on research and development significantly more than those in Europe and Asia. The 500 companies with the highest research budgets worldwide spent 990 billion euros in this area in 2023, twelve percent more than a year earlier. This is the result of a new study published by the auditing and consulting firm EY on Thursday.

According to the information, 169 companies from the United States were among these 500 companies with a total budget of 533 billion euros for research and development. Compared to the previous year, this is an increase of 13 percent. Companies from Japan (87 billion euros) and Germany (75 billion euros) followed in the country rankings with growth of eleven and six percent respectively. The European companies in the group surveyed invested a total of 227 billion euros in research and development (up 7 percent), while those from Asia and the Pacific region invested 220 billion euros (up 11 percent).

EY CEO: Gap threatens to widen further

According to Henrik Ahlers, Head of EY Germany, the fact that investment in the sector remained strong despite the economic headwinds is also due to fierce competition for technological leadership. US companies further extended their lead in research spending last year - even though they also only recorded slight sales growth and a significant drop in profits. The gap between the USA, Europe and Asia is therefore threatening to widen.

However, according to Ahlers, investments in research and development are the innovations of tomorrow and the profits of the day after tomorrow. "In very difficult economic times, the German economy in particular, with its premium aspirations, should not cut back in the wrong places and thus jeopardize its long-term competitiveness," he warned.

Number of US companies in the top group is growing

The number of US companies in the top group has also grown in recent years. In 2018, 140 US companies were among the 500 listed companies with the highest research and development budgets worldwide. The number of European companies in the ranking fell slightly from 142 to 139 in the same period, while the number of Asian companies fell from 213 to 180.

From Germany, 31 companies made it into the ranking, with Volkswagen also making it into the top ten. The car manufacturer increased its research budget by ten percent to 15.8 billion euros. In the German top 10, seven out of ten companies increased their expenditure - only Bayer, Merck and BASF reduced their expenditure, in some cases significantly./jwe/DP/zb