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How Advanced is Chinese Technology?

How Advanced is Chinese Technology?
Chinese technology has now entered the so called 'fourth phase'. Should Silicon Valley be worried?

Tausif Mukri from Delhi, who is a cyber security researcher and a technology analyst, joins the program.

Tausif explains how in the past, Chinese technology advanced in leaps and bounds because it reverse engineered American and European inventions. "However, a huge shift has happened. They have changed from being imitators of western technology to innovators. Earlier it used to be American laptops and computer technology, or manufacturing technology which the Chinese used to copy, mass produce and then export to other countries in Asia for low cost. Because of the availability of electronics in China due to the manufacturing boom, the shift has happened very quickly, because technology itself travels very quickly. This has helped China a lot in terms of technology, manufacturing, and many, many other fields….The West has been living in denial of Chinese technology progress for some time. Even at the beginning of the 21st century, many people in the West thought of China as just an imitator of technology, however in the current decade, people are realizing that China has a huge role to play in innovation."

America still has the lead however in many areas. "America has developed standards in computing; the USB for example, and questionably in military technology; as other nations are now making advances in this area. However, in terms of exports, America has clearly been decimated by Chinese exports. In terms of manufacturing, China is leading the world.   …China is leading in some areas such as AI, cyber security, e-commerce, and those technologies are now being accepted even in America and they recognize that China is a force to be reckoned with….I personally know many Chinese, who are creating these products, and they organize events to show their wares, and these events are attended by people from all over the world…"

There are two main views as to how China is managing to pull this off, firstly that China's hyper growth is a giant government-sustained bubble, which is not sustainable and will collapse, and the second that is that China is merely returning to its historical position as one of the world's richest nations and greatest civilizations alongside India. Tausif points out that Chinese capitalism is not totally dependent on the State. "Although socialism and capitalism cannot be combined together, China has managed to do that. They have been able to sustain their growth over this whole period. It means that China is regaining its position which it had earlier, in the ancient times, alongside India. India and China at one time accounted for more than 50% of global GDP."

The paradox is that China is a state capitalist country but also at the forefront of technological innovation is discussed. "The major venture capitalist funds are now supporting private business, the State has to do very little of this. It's a paradigm shift and it is happening now. Companies are doing it individually." Much of the finance for investment still seems to be being sourced from outside of China, so if sanctions were to be imposed against China, innovative technological development would slow down, but not stop, Tausif says. This would seem to be unlikely however, because of the lobbying force that investors hold in their home countries is considerable.

Napoleon once said, "Let China sleep, for when the Dragon awakes, she will shake the world." China is clearly now a force to be reckoned with in terms of technological innovation. "China is here to stay. China will compete with US and European businesses."

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