IPTS Working Papers on Corporate R&D and Innovation No. 09/2015
European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Seville
This paper sheds new lights on the internationalization of technological activities of the top corporate R&D investors worldwide. In particular, we provide evidence on the technological factors determining their international R&D location strategies. The empirical analysis is based on the patenting activities of the top R&D investors, as reported by the EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, at the USPTO over the period 2010–2012. The technological proximity to the host country in which these companies seek for new knowledge is a key determinant for their R&D location decision. However, technological proximity has a non-linear effect on the companies' location strategies as they search for new technologies not too close to their knowledge base. Furthermore, top R&D investors worldwide target countries with comparative advantages in emerging technologies. Countries willing to attract high-value investments should create an environment conducive to the creation and development of brand new ideas with a high potential impact on the long term growth.