Sir James Dyson just made a brief appearance in Japan, launching his series of high-end hand-dryers in a region where, according to the founder, people appear to appreciate the design and engineering involved. As the company continues to hone the vacuum cleaners and hand-dryers that made its name (meaning power and less noise, generally), it's also pushing out in more unusual directions -- like collaborating with Imperial College on robotic R&D. It's also still substantially growing its development facilities. According to Sir Dyson: "We're obviously expanding what we do, although we love vacuum cleaners and hand-dryers, surprisingly," cracking a smile.

"We're doubling the size [of R&D]... we already have within the last two years and we're going to double again. Partly we want to make extra products, but in order to be competitive, globally, you have to have better technology than all your competitors." He added that competition is global: Japan, Korea, the US, Germany, India, South America -- it's now "everywhere." Many tech companies are similarly folding money into R&D, including Apple, Samsung, even those in tough times, like Nintendo. Dyson sees it in far stricter term: "A company that doesn't double its R&D team every two years, I think, is in trouble."

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Dyson: 'A company that doesn't double its R&D every two years is in trouble'