US-China tech war & rivalry
The race for the tech of the future
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The US and China are ramping up competition to see who will the future of global technology
Following the launch of Washington’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, experts say Beijing should intensify its push for tech self-sufficiency, but be careful not to decouple from foreign firms and institutions altogether.
The United States is considering banning American suppliers from selling advanced equipment to Chinese chip makers, a move that could hinder China’s drive towards technological self-sufficiency, according to a news report on Monday.
Geopolitics and security pressures will increasingly determine the future of resources allocated to education, research and development, and technology. With China and others challenging America’s lead, Western universities could start rejecting foreign students in security-sensitive areas.
Hikvision, which provides surveillance cameras used in China’s Xinjiang region, said it hopes to be ‘treated fairly’ if the US decides to add it to a new sanctions list that could impair its ability to do business globally.
US president will have countering growing Chinese influence in the region squarely in his sights when he begins his four-day trip to Seoul and Tokyo.
Hikvision, DJI and Xiaomi have had to confront a barrage of negative headlines over the past few weeks that could impact the overseas business of other Chinese tech companies.
Superseding the World Trade Organization with an ‘economic Nato’ and registering American business leaders too close to China as ‘foreign agents’ are more alarming ways of hawkish US economist Clyde Prestowitz to promote a hardline disassociation of two of the world’s largest economies.
Perhaps the greatest impact of the US effort to contain China has been to clarify China’s weaknesses and spur more progress in addressing them. US policies will not force China out of the existing global economic system, let alone lead it to embrace an insular, state-controlled development model.
Freeskier Gu has been vilified for her decision to represent China in sporting competitions, while MIT scientist Chen was targeted by federal prosecutors under a programme to root out espionage. The double standards applied to them hurt American interests – and advance China’s ambition to draw global talent.
Biden is pushing his protectionist agenda as raging shortages and rising prices are made worse by the war, amid US worries over its dependency on China. If a wedge is driven against China, then the consensus over the value of free trade weakens further – along with its power to foster peaceful cooperation.
By shunning the traditional business motto ‘become big and strong’, China’s ‘little giants’ plan aims to reshape its economy around small, niche firms.
From US-China tensions and decoupling rhetoric to the property and equity market bubbles, it appears that little will change. It is a time for clear strategic thinking and serious international cooperation but, sadly, both are in short supply.
With AI playing a big role in US-China competition, how both countries curb the excesses of their tech giants and deal with the problems of social media addiction and predatory corporate behaviour is being closely watched.
Washington’s Summit for Democracy has made half the world a pariah by defining as ‘authoritarian’ any country that does not share its choice of political system, writes Chandran Nair.
The US and China have agreed to cooperate in the release of oil reserves in concert with several American allies in a bid to slow skyrocketing prices and fight surging inflation. Success remains to be seen, but this at least shows that two countries that are often bitter rivals can still work together when they chose to do so