【Unlocking Word Meanings】
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
1. invest /ɪnˈvɛst/ (v.) – to spend money for future gain
Example: Lee invests big amount of his salary on his business.
2. respectively /rɪˈspɛktɪvli/ (adv.) – according to the order mentioned
Example: In last week’s competition, Ricky and Kevin won second and fourth place, respectively.
3. notch /nɒtʃ/ (v.) – to get something, usually as accomplishment
Example: IBM notched its fifth Best in Software award last year.
4. comparison /kəmˈpærəsən/ (n.) – the act of identifying the similarities and differences between two or more things
Example: The company did a comparison between two of its best-selling products to see which is better in quality.
5. tight /taɪt/ (adj.) – almost equal in performance or score
Example: The scores in the competition were tight so the judges picked two champions.
Read the text below.
German car manufacturer Volkswagen [foks-WA-gen] topped the 2013 European Union (EU) Research and Development (R&D) Investment Scoreboard.
R&D refers to the activities that companies do to improve its business products and services. The EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard is an analysis provided by a scientific institute of the European Commission.
The scoreboard analyzes economic and financial data of European and international R&D investors. These data are gathered from the companies’ yearly financial reports and will then be interpreted.
Volkswagen invested €9.5 billion or $12.84 billion for its research and development in 2012, according to the scoreboard.
Samsung Electronics from South Korea ranked second with an investment worth €8.3 billion or $11.23 billion. US-based Microsoft and Intel placed third and fourth, respectively. Japan’s Toyota notched fifth. Other companies that belonged in the top 10 were Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer [FAY-zur], Novartis, and F. Hoffmann-La Roche [HAF-man la ROWSH].
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn [MO-re GE-gen kwin], European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said that despite positive results in the automobile sector of EU companies, other areas like biotechnology and software development still need improvement. Meanwhile, US companies continue to perform well overall in R&D.
The annual publication of the scoreboard serves as a comparison tool for companies worldwide. It provides analysis on different trends in the varied fields of business.
R&D investment is just one of the many factors that keep a business successful. The tight competition in the market makes it necessary for the companies to continue their product research and development.
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
· Why do you think it is important for the companies to be in the scoreboard's top 10?
· What do you think could happen to a business without R&D? Please explain.
· Should companies spend large amount of money on research and development? Why or why not?
· Aside from R&D, what are the other factors that make a business successful? Please discuss briefly.