People walk past an Alibaba Group sign in Hangzhou, East China’s Zhejiang province, on May 10, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd topped the list of China’s Top 100 Internet Companies, and the overall research and development spending of these major players hit a new high, a new report by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology showed on Wednesday.

Social networking giant Tencent Holdings Ltd and Baidu Inc occupied the second and the third spot respectively, followed by financial tech player Ant Financial, according to the report co-released by the MIIT’s information center and the Internet Society of China.

The R&D investment of China’s Top 100 Internet Companies reached 153.87 billion yuan ($21.86 billion) in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 45.1 percent.

Jiao Xulu, an official at MIIT, said domestic internet companies are making steady R&D progress, with a string of internationally competitive players emerging in the fields of cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence and other technologies.

The top 100 internet companies have collectively acquired nearly 80,000 patents, including nearly 60,000 invention patents.