Because the high-tech sector of the economy develops or uses the most advanced technology known, it is often seen as having the most potential for future growth. This perception has led to high investment in high-tech sectors of the economy. High-tech startup enterprises receive a large portion of venture capital; However, if investment exceeds actual potential, as has happened in the past, then investors can lose all or most of their investment. High tech is often viewed as high risk, but offering the opportunity for high profits.
Like Big Science, high technology is an international phenomenon, spanning continents, epitomized by the worldwide communication of the Internet. Thus a multinational corporation might work on a project 24 hours a day, with teams waking and working with the advance of the sun across the globe; such projects might be in software development or in the development of an integrated circuit. The help desks of a multinational corporation might thus employ, successively, teams in Kenya, Brazil, the Philippines, or India, with the only requirement fluency in the mother tongue, be it Spanish, Portuguese or English.
OECD has two different approaches: sector and product (industry) approaches.
The sector approach classifies industries according their technology intensity, product approach according to finished products.
|Industry name||Total R&D-intensity (1999, in %)||ISIC Rev. 3|
|Aircraft & spacecraft||10.29||353|
|Medical, precision & optical instruments||9.69||33|
|Radio, television & communication equipment||7.48||32|
|Office, accounting & computing machinery||7.21||30|
|Electrical machinery & apparatus||3.60||31|
|Motor vehicles, trailers & semi-trailers||3.51||34|
|Railroad & transport equipment||3.11||352+359|
|Chemical & chemical products||2.85||24 (excl. 2423)|
|Machinery & equipment||2.20||29|