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A study by auditing firm Ernst & Young shows that the 500 big companies with the highest levels of expenditure in research and development (R&D) are showing an increasing willingness to invest: In 2018, the total investment volume increased by 10% to €606 billion. With this increased investment, companies are above all striving to drive their digitalization, so as to gain a decisive competitive edge.

However, the volume of investment varies from region to region. While North American companies increased their R&D spending by 13%, large European corporations invested just 6% more. German companies – in particular Volkswagen, Daimler, Siemens, BMW, and Bayer – were, however, prepared to invest 9% more. Chinese companies increased their R&D expenditure by 23%, making this the greatest increase. This is already reflected in some areas of Industry 4.0, with China threatening to outstrip its international competitors in disruptive digital technologies such as 5G and artificial intelligence.