China Primed to Be Next Technology Superpower25. January 2018
China is already making huge strides in advanced technologies. So it came as no surprise when late last year President Xi Jinping voiced his desire to see China a “science and technology superpower”.
There are already a number of successes to demonstrate China’s determination and expertise in this field. A few examples include the launch of Mozi, the first quantum satellite in 2016 and Tiangong, their own space lab and initiative. China has also established engineering laboratories dedicated to virtual and augmented reality, deep learning and brain inspired intelligence.
Their current ambitions revolve around aerospace and cyber industries. China wants to become a world leader in AI by the year 2030 and it is also making inroads with nanotechnology, biotechnology and quantum information science, aiming to achieve supremacy in the latter as early as this year.
There is healthy government funding, reportedly running into billions of dollars, to back up these bold intentions. The country is currently building the National Laboratory for Quantum Information Science and is set to become the world’s largest facility of this kind.
It is not just the government driving Chinese advanced technology forward, executives with a passion for innovation are making their own mark on the technological landscape. Ren Zhengfei, founder of Huawei Technologies, filed more patent applications than any other company in the world last year. Whilst Robin Li, CEO of Baidu, has vowed to bring autonomous vehicles to the Chinese market as early as 2019.
The success of tech giants is leading to greater investment in new ventures. These ventures are in turn supported by China’s growing population and a well-developed network of suppliers, logistics specialists and manufacturers. The vast scale of the Chinese market drives powerful efficiencies as new products and services that will become available to hundreds of millions of people. Here is a growing middle and upper class that is showing themselves to be quick to adapt to new technologies.
China is now one of the world’s top three markets for venture capital in digital technologies, which includes virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, drones, 3D printing and AI. They also have third of the world’s most successful start-ups, valued at more than a billion dollars. With so much government investment and a thriving technology industry, offering many built-in advantages, China seems sure to rival and overtake the US as the world’s greatest technology superpower in the years to come.
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