China is set to become the world’s "powerhouse of innovation over the next decade", eclipsing the USA and Japan.

That is the main conclusion of an international survey released by AstraZeneca this morning and conducted by Brunswick Research across the UK, the USA, Sweden, Japan, India and China. A total of 1,000 interviews were conducted in each country.

China is forecast to be the most inventive country by 2020, followed by India, while the USA and Japan will be relegated from first and second place to third and fourth respectively. Just 2% of respondents think the UK will rank as the world’s most innovative nation in a decade’s time.

The analysis also notes "a marked east-west divide in terms of what people regard as the most important scientific achievements and inventions of the last century". For citizens of India, China and Japan, the greatest has been "instant global communication", whereas people in the UK and Sweden view "the successful combating of serious diseases as the most important breakthrough".

Asked about specific innovations over the past century, the internet, computers and electricity were generally seen as the most important, although people in the USA, Britain and Sweden also placed equal importance on the invention of vaccines and antibiotics.
The IT and telecoms sectors were universally seen as the most innovative followed by the pharmaceutical and automotive industries.

AstraZeneca chief executive David Brennan said the survey "offers a fascinating perspective into what innovation means to people from different parts of the world". He added that he is encouraged to see that "public perceptions of innovation and creativity are strongly associated with science and medicine".

For further details of the analysis, go to www.astrazeneca.com/innovationsurvey.