US online commerce giant Amazon topped the list of 1,000 major global companies in terms of spending on research and development (R&D) over the past one year, with a spending of $22.6 billion. Amazon was followed by Alphabet, Google's holding company, with $16.2 billion. German automaker Volkswagen was placed third with $15.8 billion.
Samsung Electronics has been ranked No. 4 among, according to a report from global accounting and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
The South Korean tech juggernaut spent $15.3 billion on R&D projects from the second half of 2017, retaining the No. 4 spot for two years running,
The amount was up 6.8 percent from the same period a year earlier and accounted for 6.8 percent of Samsung's sales.
Intel's R&D spending rose 2.6 percent on-year to $13.1 billion, dropping to fifth place from third. Microsoft came next with $12.3 billion, trailed by Apple with $11.6 billion.
The combined R&D expenditures of the 1,000 firms climbed 11.4 percent on-year to a record high of $782 billion over the cited period, taking up 40 percent of the global total.
Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics was ranked as the sixth most innovative company in the world in a PwC survey of 869 CEOs and executives across the world.
Apple, Amazon and Alphabet retained the top three spots for the second consecutive year.