Tech R&D spending is down in Canada; BlackBerry is still number one

BlackBerry smartphone

The latest report from R&D intelligence firm Research Infosource reveals Canadian companies spent less on research and development in 2014 than the previous year.

R&D costs by the top 100 Canadian corporations was 1.6 percent below 2014, representing $12.3 billion versus $12.5 billion. The reason for the decline was attributed to the fluctuating dollar combined with “economic and financial headwinds,” said Ron Freedman, CEO of Research Infosource.

Leading R&D in Canada was Montreal-based Bombardier with over $2 billion, which was down 7.8% over 2014. From a tech perspective, BlackBerry topped the list in second spot with $785 million in 2014, down a massive 40.7 percent from the previous year. In 2014, BlackBerry generated just under $3.7 billion CAD, with R&D accounting for 21.3 percent of its revenue.

Bell’s parent company BCE also made the list at fourth spot with $546 million, as did Rogers in eighth place with $418 million and Telus in 17th with $194 million. In addition, Huawei’s Canadian arm appeared on the list and jumped up seven spots to number 41 with $52.8 million in R&D.

While the $12.3 billion amount seems respectable from a Canadian viewpoint, comparing to global tech organizations it is actually quite small. For example, Apple invested $6 billion (USD) on R&D in 2014, while Microsoft spent $10.4 billion (USD), and Samsung invested $13.4 billion (USD).

“Fiscal 2014 contained two divergent stories. The country’s largest R&D performers suffered strong cuts in R&D spending. However, the underlying base of companies actually performed well, boosting their R&D spending by 8.2%. With so much R&D concentrated in Canada’s large companies, their performance heavily influences the national picture,” said Freedman.

This article was originally published on MobileSyrup.

Ian Hardy

Ian Hardy

Ian is publisher at MobileSyrup. He's been quietly creating and building things for years and is completely addicted to Tim Hortons.