China’s Technological Advancements: The New Challenge to US Supremacy

China leads the world in 37 of the 44 critical and emerging technologies tracked by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), with the United States ahead in only seven. This includes electric batteries, hypersonics, and advanced radio-frequency communications such as 5G and 6G. The report suggests that Beijing is on course to establish a monopoly in several areas, including nanoscale materials and manufacturing, hydrogen and ammonia for power, and synthetic biology.

China’s Long-Term Planning and Talent Importation

The report shows that China’s success is built on deliberate planning and long-term policy strategies, as emphasized by its leader, Xi Jinping, and his predecessors. Moreover, talent and knowledge importation have also played a significant role in China’s rise, with one-fifth of high-impact papers authored by researchers with postgraduate training in Five-Eyes countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US). This success is seen in the data analysis. Over the past five years, China generated 48.49% of the world’s high-impact research papers into advanced aircraft engines, including hypersonics, and hosts seven of the world’s top ten research institutions in this area.

The Importance of Sovereign Wealth Funds

The ASPI has called for establishing large sovereign wealth funds for research, development, and innovation in critical technology to catch up with China’s technological advancements. This would involve allocating 0.5% to 0.7% of US gross national income to support the most promising programs, with co-investment from the industry. Additionally, the report suggests that governments should allocate some funds to high-risk, high-reward “moonshot” initiatives.

Impact on the US, China, and the Rest of the World

China’s technological advancements have significant implications for the United States and the rest of the world. For the US, it means falling behind in critical technology and losing its edge in advanced research. This has implications for its national security, economic competitiveness, and technological supremacy. Joe Biden’s commitment to investing in American innovation and industries that will define the future is a step in the right direction. However, more is needed to catch up with China’s technological advancements.

For China, it means the potential to dominate several critical technology areas and establish a monopoly in the global market. This would increase its geopolitical influence and economic power, enabling it to set global standards and shape the future of technology. However, China’s monopoly in some areas may also lead to concerns about data privacy and security, particularly given the Chinese government’s history of surveillance and censorship.

China’s technological advancements pose opportunities and challenges for the rest of the world. On the one hand, it offers the potential for increased collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and investment in critical technology. On the other hand, it raises concerns about China’s geopolitical influence, technological dominance, and potential for data privacy and security breaches.

China’s technological advancements are significant and have implications for the United States, China, and the rest of the world. Democracies must invest in critical technology and establish large sovereign wealth funds to support research, development, and innovation.

Moreover, international collaboration and knowledge-sharing are crucial to harnessing the potential of technology for the benefit of all.

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