The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending August 25, 2023, closed at 2,962.36 for the 25 companies in the RDWI. The Index was up 0.53% (or 15.55 basis points). Sixteen of the 25 RDWI members gained value last week from 0.03% (Bristol-Myers Squibb) to 2.79% (IBM). Nine of the 25 RDWI members lost value last week from -0.34% (Oracle) to -5.44% (Johnson & Johnson).
Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Canberra Capital Territory, announced last week that it has launched a free program to enhance the R&D initiatives of Australian small to medium enterprises in the cyber security and digital technology sectors. Its Innovate to Grow program provides access to expert knowledge, resources, and mentors to help businesses develop their innovation idea and turn it into an R&D opportunity. The 10-week online learning program begins on October 12, 2023, and aims to help businesses build a business case and prepare a strong funding application. Upon completion of the initial program, participants can work with CSIRO’s expert researchers and access dollar-matched R&D funding through Australia’s Kickstart program.
Consumer electronics developer Xiaomi, Beijing, China, announced last week that it plans to invest $2.8 billion annually in R&D to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into smartphones, automobiles, smart devices, and robots. Their upcoming on-device AI technology would allow consumers to use generative AI services, including ChatGPT-like services on smartphones in the future. Its on-device AI large language model now has 110 million monthly active users. Xiaomi is the world’s third-largest smartphone manufacturer. The company plans to invest up to $10 billion in long-term research over the next five years.
Saudi Arabia announced last week that China has offered to build a nuclear power plant in Saudi Arabia. The announcement applies pressure on the U.S. to compromise its conditions for U.S. help in providing nuclear power to the Saudis. U.S. nuclear assistance is contingent on Saudis agreeing to neither enrich or mine its own uranium deposits in the Kingdom. These non-proliferation conditions are not required by China. The potential U.S. deal would also include diplomatic normalization with Israel and U.S. security guarantees for the kingdom. The U.S. is concerned that once the Saudis have a nuclear energy program, they also could develop nuclear weapons. China’s nuclear assistance offer would provide them with more leverage to gain political access to the region.
The Biden administration is looking to extend the U.S.’s science and technology agreement with China for six more months which would give the U.S. time to amend and strengthen the terms of the existing agreement which expires on August 27. Allowing the current agreement to expire could accelerate a scientific decoupling that threatens U.S. progress in strategically important areas. Opposing politicians state that any new agreement should contain language that limits any cooperation to peaceful-only uses.
RDW index member IBM Corp., Armonk, New York, announced last week that it has sold the assets of The Weather Company, Atlanta, to investment firm Francisco Partners, San Francisco. No details of the transactions were released. Francisco Partners plans to expand its new acquisition beyond weather forecasting, bringing new tools and experiences to its users, while offering more actionable insights to businesses and organizations.
The Canadian province of Alberta, Edmonton, announced last week a seven-month moratorium on new wind and solar energy projects, until February 29, 2024. About 17% of Alberta’s electricity came from renewable hydro, wind, and solar-power sources in 2022, an increase from 10% in 2018, according to Canadian sources. The moratorium is being made so the province can create new rules governing where renewable projects can be located and how operators must deal with solar arrays and wind turbines once they stop working.
A small amount of diluted and treated wastewater from the 2011 Fukushima, Japan nuclear power plant disaster was discharged into the Pacific Ocean last week. The still slightly radioactive wastewater will continue to be discharged for the next 17 days, but this is just a small fraction of the tons of water that have accumulated at the plant. The plant’s operator says this water is diluted to levels that are safer than international standards. The amount of contaminated water created from this initial cleanup process is about 100 tons/day. It is treated and stored onsite in about 1,000 large storage tanks which are now filled to roughly 98% of their capacity. The International Atomic Energy Agency has concluded in a report that the processing plan will have negligible impact on the environment and human health.
According to data collected by ZipRecruiter, Santa Monica, California, companies have reduced the starting salaries of new hires, offsetting the salary increases put in place for the pandemic-induced labor shortages of just two years ago. Salary drops by as much as 30% are now being seen as the shortages of workers eases, according to the ZipRecruiter surveys. Hiring requirements are also being increased for new hires. Companies are paying less and increasing the new hire responsibilities.
AI chip demand has soared and with it the stock valuations of some suppliers, notably Nvidia, Santa Clara, California. The company posted its recently completed quarter’s revenue of $16 billion, which doubled the previous quarter’s revenue and put the company on the path of being valued at $1 trillion. Nvidia currently has about 70% of the AI chip sales, with competitors like Advanced Micro Devices and Intel rapidly ramping up their own AI-based products.
R&D World’s R&D Index is a weekly stock market summary of the top international companies involved in R&D. The top 25 industrial R&D spenders in 2020 were selected based on the latest listings from Schonfeld & Associates’ June 2020 R&D Ratios & Budgets. These 25 companies include pharmaceutical (10 companies), automotive (6 companies), and ICT (9 companies) which invested a cumulative total of nearly 260 billion dollars in R&D in 2019, or approximately 10% of all the R&D spent in the world by government, industries and academia combined, according to R&D World’s 2021 Global R&D Funding Forecast. The stock prices used in the R&D World Index are tabulated from NASDAQ, NYSE, and OTC common stock prices for the companies selected at the close of stock trading.