As ICT companies leading the world, NTT Group's R&D engages in the research and development of new technologies that form the wellspring of new value creation in a variety of domains. In addition, together with our business companies, it plays the role of supporting the digital transformations of our customers and lifestyle transformations tailored to individuals. We also seek to overcome numerous problems involving safety, disaster readiness, and improvement of productivity, and, as a result, strengthen industrial competitiveness and resolve social issues. Since ICT is put to use in a variety of fields, we are addressing the resolution of issues, acting not as NTT Group alone, but in partnership with counterparts in wide-ranging industries.
With respect to R&D undertaken by NTT Group, NTT's three laboratory groups are responsible for conducting basic research that serves as the backbone of telecommunications, such as basic and component technologies related to services and networks, while each operating company conducts applied research that is more closely related to its business. NTT Group currently employs about 5,500 researchers and spends approximately 210 billion yen annually on R&D.
Also, we promote general producer activities, formulating marketing and business plans and forging alliances so that the results of research by NTT laboratories can be transformed into Group businesses. In these general producer activities, we seek to develop business in a timely manner by combining the wide-ranging basic technologies of NTT laboratories with external technologies in collaboration with Group companies and with various other companies to create new services.
In order for innovation to continually be an important driver of NTT Group well into the future, we will aim to contribute to the realization of a sustainable society by promoting innovations for social issues. These efforts will include patent applications and the publication of scientific papers.
Under the NTT R&D vision of developing leading technologies that contribute to the advancement of society, science and industry, NTT maintains approximately 2,500 researchers in the Service Innovation Laboratory Group, Information Network Laboratory Group and Science and Core Technology Laboratory Group. These groups engage in a wide range of diverse research activities, from basic research to R&D that supports the business development initiatives of operating companies.