Technology and Innovation in an Era of U.S.-China Strategic Competition

Paul Haenle & Elsa Kania from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
China has taken significant steps to implement national strategies and encourage investment in order to surpass the U.S. in high tech fields like artificial intelligence. In this podcast, Paul Haenle sat down with Elsa Kania, adjunct fellow at the...

Walmart and JD.Com Invest $500 Million in a Chinese Online Delivery Company

Saheli Roy Choudhury
CNBC
Dada-JD Daojia was formed from the merger of JD Daojia, which is JD.com's online-to-offline business, and Dada Nexus, a large crowd-sourcing delivery platform in China with operations in more than 400 major cities...

China Has Outspent the US by $24 Billion in 5G Technology since 2015, Study Shows

Arjun Kharpal
CNBC
China has in recent years outspent the U.S. by $24 billion in the area of next-generation mobile internet technology known as 5G, potentially creating a "tsunami" that will be difficult to catch up with,...

How China Is Evolving From a Maker of Copycat Medicines Into a Producer of Complex Drugs

Preetika Rana
Wall Street Journal
At a cancer conference in Chicago in June last year, a little-known Chinese startup stunned researchers with early results showing its experimental gene therapy was abating an aggressive form of blood cancer in patients back home.

China Set to Leapfrog US in the AI Race

Tristan Greene
It’s only been a year since TNW reported China’s announcement it was shifting its national strategy to claim the artificial intelligence crown. In that time China has advanced its agenda to a startling degree, at least according to the experts.

Books

06.20.18

The Third Revolution

Elizabeth C. Economy
Oxford University Press: In The Third Revolution, eminent China scholar Elizabeth C. Economy provides an incisive look at the transformative changes underway in China today. Chinese leader Xi Jinping has unleashed a powerful set of political and economic reforms: the centralization of power under Xi, himself; the expansion of the Communist Party’s role in Chinese political, social, and economic life; and the construction of a virtual wall of regulations to control more closely the exchange of ideas and capital between China and the outside world. Beyond its borders, Beijing has recast itself as a great power, seeking to reclaim its past glory and to create a system of international norms that better serves its more ambitious geostrategic objectives. In so doing, the Chinese leadership is reversing the trends toward greater political and economic opening, as well as the low-profile foreign policy, that had been put in motion by Deng Xiaoping’s “Second Revolution” 30 years earlier.Through a wide-ranging exploration of Xi Jinping’s top political, economic, and foreign policy priorities—fighting corruption, managing the Internet, reforming the state-owned enterprise sector, improving the country’s innovation capacity, enhancing air quality, and elevating China’s presence on the global stage—Economy identifies the tensions, shortcomings, and successes of Xi’s reform efforts over the course of his first five years in office. She also assesses their implications for the rest of the world, and provides recommendations for how the United States and others should navigate their relationship with this vast nation in the coming years.{chop}

Behind the Fall and Rise of China's Xiaomi

David Kline
Wired
The comeback has made Xiaomi a poster child for China’s entrepreneurial dynamism.

China Seeks Dominance of Global AI Industry

Louise Lucas
Financial Times
While the National Science Foundation in the US has no increase in funding this year, China has promised to “vigorously use governmental and social capital” to dominate the industry.

China vs U.S.: Who Is Copying Whom?

Louise Lucas
Financial Times
China is gradually shedding its reputation as the world’s technology copycat. It still spawns lookalikes, whether they be GoPro-style action cameras or Didi Chuxing, a ride-hailing app that looked awfully like Uber until it added Chinese...

Conversation

08.03.17

As China Reins in Capital, What Next for Global Trade?

Yu Zhou & Peter Knaack
China’s Communist Party and its leader, Xi Jinping, are tightening controls on overseas spending by the country’s biggest companies and their highly visible billionaire CEOs. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that Xi personally signed off on...

A ‘Spectacular’ Trend Is Transforming the World’s Second Largest Economy, Stephen Roach Says

Stephanie Landsman
CNBC
China's economy is a lot more resilient than the West thinks, according to one of Wall Street's most distinguished voices on the region...

China Is Increasingly Becoming Key For Israel’s High-Tech Industry

Ferry Biedermann
CNBC
Israel has laid out the welcoming mat to Chinese companies and investors who may face more troublesome regulations and scrutiny elsewhere.

China’s Baidu Being Probed after CEO Tests Driverless Car on Public Roads

Reuters
Baidu Inc, China’s biggest search engine provider, is under investigation to determine whether it had broken any laws after its chief executive tested a driverless car on public roads.

Google Is Already Late to China’s AI Revolution

Wired
“Some of the major Chinese companies are some of the most sophisticated deep learning and data companies in the world.”

Clean Energy Could Spark a Trade War between the U.S. and China

Nick Stockton
Wired
In the past few years, China has surpassed the U.S. in electric vehicle sales, renewable energy capacity, and recently announced it was investing $365 billion to keep the momentum going. That investment puts China in a prime position to lead the...

China’s Plan to Build Its Own High-Tech Industries Worries Western Businesses

Keith Bradsher and Paul Mozur
New York Times
China has charted out a $300 billion plan to become nearly self-sufficient by 2025 in a range of important industries, from planes to computer chips to electric cars, as it looks to kick-start its next stage of economic development. 

Conversation

02.16.17

Can China Become a Leader of Innovation?

Jost Wübbeke, Yu Zhou & more
China’s ambitious high-tech strategy is raising alarm in industrialized nations. From American and South Korean chipmakers to German car and machine manufacturers, some industry leaders expect the imminent arrival of strong Chinese competitors. Does...

China’s Artificial Intelligence Boom

Sarah Zhang
Atlantic
The country’s universities and tech giants are starting to surpass American ones when it comes to researching and implementing AI.

How Chinese Internet Giant Baidu Uses AI and Machine Learning

Bernard Marr
Forbes
Baidu is currently considered to be pack leader amongst the Chinese internet giants as they race to develop and deploy machine and deep learning technology.

With Pen Plan, China Etches Nationalist Economic Policy

Chuin-Wei Yap
Wall Street Journal
New ability to manufacture pen nibs gives China ability to produce whole pen—and a point of pride

Books

01.23.17

China as an Innovation Nation

Edited by Yu Zhou, William Lazonick, and Yifei Sun
This volume assesses China’s transition to innovation-nation status in terms of social conditions, industry characteristics, and economic impacts over the past three decades, also providing insights into future developments.Defining innovation as the process that generates a higher quality, lower cost product than was previously available, the introductory chapter conceptualizes the theory of an innovation nation and the lessons from Japan and the United States. It outlines the key governance, employment, and investment institutions that China must build for such transition to occur, and examines China’s challenges and strategies to innovate in the era of global production systems. Two succeeding chapters explain the evolving roles of the Chinese state in innovation, and the new landscape of venture capital finance. The remaining chapters provide studies of major industries, which contain analyses of the evolving roles of investment by government agencies and business interests in the process. Included in these studies are traditional industries such as mechanical engineering, railroads, and automobiles; rapidly evolving and internationally highly integrated industries such as information-and-communication-technology (ICT); and newly emerging sectors such as wind and solar energy.Written by leading academics in the field, studies in this volume reveal Chinese innovation as diverse across industries and enterprises and fluid over time. In each sector, we observe continued co-evolution of state policy, market demand, and technology development. The strategies and structures of individual companies and industrial ecosystems are changing rapidly. The sum total of the studies is a great step forward in our understanding of the industrial foundations of China’s attempt to become an innovation nation. —Oxford University Press{chop}

The Humble Ballpoint Pen Has Become a New Symbol of China’s Innovation Economy

Josh Horwitz
Quartz
China has grown by leaps and bounds during its quest for greater domestic innovation, but one of its most recent accomplishments is in an area that’s considerably more basic: ballpoint pens.

As China Pivots, Trump Risks Fighting an Old War

Andrew Browne
Wall Street Journal
Incoming U.S. administration highlights trade retaliation as Beijing shifts to a form of high-tech protectionism

After 1,000 Year Slumber, China Vows to Invent Again

Eva Dou
Wall Street Journal
Beijing spends billions on moonshot projects, hoping to shake off its reputation as a copycat economy and curb dependence on foreign powers

Silicon Valley’s Culture, Not Its Companies, Dominates in China

Paul Mozur
New York Times
Looking to break from a rigid workplace culture, Silicon Valley has captured the minds of China’s young entrepreneurs and investors

How China’s Government Helps —and Hinders— Innovation

Anil Gupta and Haiyan Wang
Harvard Business Review
Given its ideological leanings, China presents itself as a unique experiment in the power of the state to help the economy become more innovative

China’s Dream of Smart Economy Must "Get Past Talent Gap”

Wendy Wu
South China Morning Post
A new study shows that 70 per cent of Chinese employers say the education offered by universities “has little value”

Made in China

Bruce McKern
Quartz
Once known for cheap knockoffs, Chinese companies are now the world’s innovators

Conversation

10.27.16

What Does Xi Jinping’s Top-Down Leadership Mean for Innovation in China?

Matthias Stepan, Anna Ahlers & more
One of the hallmarks of Xi Jinping’s leadership has been a centralization of power across a whole range of areas of domestic politics. This week, the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership meets in Beijing for the sixth plenary session of its 18th...

China’s Millennials Are Risk Takers—and They’re Dreaming Big

Bloomberg
Having grown up in a booming economy, China's 7.5 million school leavers this year are intent on forging paths very different from their parents...

Caixin Media

08.22.16

What’s Next for Uber and Didi in China?

New regulations and a blockbuster merger between the industry’s largest players are reshaping the business landscape for China’s car-hailing app companies.And the landscape is widening as car-hailing companies, including Didi Chuxing Technology Co...

Sinica Podcast

08.08.16

Clay Shirky on Tech and the Internet in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
The Internet expert and author of “Here Comes Everybody” gives his take on China's successes and challenges in the online world. In an hour-long conversation Shirky delves into the details and big-picture phenomena driving the globe’s largest...

Conversation

08.03.16

What Does Uber’s Retreat Say About the Ability of U.S. Internet Innovators to Succeed in China?

Kaiser Kuo, Angela Bao & more
In early August, news broke that Uber would sell its China business to Didi Chuxing, its largest rival on the Mainland. Uber is just the latest in a series of tech companies—including Google, Twitter, and Amazon, among others—that found the Middle...

China Builds World's Most Powerful Super Computer

BBC
It is twice as fast and three times as efficient as the previous leader Tianhe-2, also from China.

China Unveils ‘Straddling Bus’ Design to Beat Traffic Jams

Tom Phillips
Guardian
The concept vehicle is designed to float above the clogged-up streets of some of the country’s biggest cities.

Will China's Educational System Strangle Economic Growth?

Zhu Tian
Forbes
Despite the brain drain, China still managed to produce enough talents to make it the fastest growing nation in the past two decades.

China: Scaling The World’s Highest Innovation Peaks

Vikram Jandhyala
TechCrunch
The word “innovation” was mentioned 71 times in a communiqué after the Chinese Communist Party’s recent plenary meeting. 

Britain Should Harness the Power of China's Red Tech Revolution

Liam Byrne MP
Telegraph
China's start-up culture means the best jobs of the future may soon be, not here, but in the East...

America’s Biggest Competitor Really Isn’t China

Ana Swanson
Washington Post
If you ask Americans who their country's biggest competitor is, many people will tell you China...

Environment

09.17.15

Beijing Welcomes World’s First Smog-Eating Tower

from chinadialogue
Beijingers enjoyed a rare breath of fresh air this week. The city’s smog levels fell to their lowest levels in recent years, as authorities scrambled to shut down factories and curb car use so that China’s Second World War victory military parade...

Books

08.27.15

China’s Disruptors

Edward Tse
In September 2014, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba raised $25 billion in the world’s biggest-ever initial public offering. Since then, millions of investors and managers worldwide have pondered a fundamental question: What’s really going on with the new wave of China’s disruptors?Alibaba wasn’t an outlier—it’s one of a rising tide of thriving Chinese companies, mostly but not exclusively in the technology sector. Overnight, its founder, Jack Ma, appeared on the same magazine covers as American entrepreneurial icons like Mark Zuckerberg. Ma was quickly followed by the founders of other previously little-known companies, such as Baidu, Tencent, and Xiaomi.Over the past two decades, an unprecedented burst of entrepreneurialism has transformed China’s economy from a closed, impoverished, state-run system into a major power in global business. As products in China become more and more sophisticated, and as its companies embrace domestically developed technology, we will increasingly see Chinese goods setting global standards. Meanwhile, companies in the rest of the world wonder how they can access the fast-rising incomes of China’s 1.3 billion consumers.Now Edward Tse, a leading global strategy consultant, reveals how China got to this point, and what the country’s rise means for the United States and the rest of the world. Tse has spent more than twenty years working with senior Chinese executives, learning firsthand how China’s most powerful companies operate. He’s an expert on how private firms are thriving in what is still, officially, a communist country. His book draws on exclusive interviews and case studies to explore questions such as:What drives China’s entrepreneurs? Personal fame and fortune—or a quest for national pride and communal achievement?How do these companies grow so quickly? In 2005, Lenovo sold just one category of products (personal computers) in one market, China. Today, not only is it the world’s largest PC seller; it is also the world’s third-largest smartphone seller.How does Chinese culture shape the strategies and tactics of these business leaders? Can outsiders copy what the Chinese are doing?Can capitalists really thrive within a communist system? How does Tencent’s Pony Ma serve as a member of China’s parliament while running a company that dominates online games and messaging?What impact will China have on the rest of the world as its private companies enter new markets, acquire foreign businesses, and threaten established firms in countless industries?As Tse concludes: “I believe that as a consequence of the opening driven by China’s entrepreneurs, the push to invest in science, research, and development, and the new freedoms that people are enjoying across the country, China has embarked on a renaissance that could rival its greatest era in history—the Tang dynasty. These entrepreneurs are the front line in China’s intense hunger for success. They will have an even more remarkable impact on the global economy in the future, through the rest of this decade and beyond.” —Portfolio/Penguin{chop}

Media

06.26.15

‘Why Do Chinese Lack Creativity?’

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On June 19, the University of Washington and elite Tsinghua University in Beijing announced a new, richly funded cooperative program to be based in Seattle and focused on a topic that has become a sore point in China: innovation. Republican...

Media

06.02.15

Chinese Netizens to Fiorina: You’re Right, We Don’t Innovate

David Wertime
Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and a declared Republican candidate for U.S. president, evidently has strong opinions about the capacities of Chinese people. “Yeah, the Chinese can take a test,” Fiorina told an Iowa-based video blog...

This American VC Thinks He’s Getting Out of China Just in Time

Bloomberg
The 52-year-old began venture investing in China in 2009 and ended up putting money into 50 startups.

China Issues Plan for Gleaming High-tech Future

Gerry Shih
Reuters
China’s plan to promote advanced industry is supposed to aid its economy’s move away from low-value manufacturing.

Why Hong Kong is Clamping Down on Creative Writing

Madeleine Thien
Guardian
The decision to close City University’s MFA program is plainly intended to limit free expression.

Chinese Investment Banker Fan Bao Searches for Next Jack Ma

William Mellor and Lulu Yilun Chen
Bloomberg
If successful, the combined Didi and Kuaidi Dache could join Internet giants Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent.

Which U.S. Companies Are Doing the Most R&D in China and India?

Vijay Govindarajan, Gunjan Bagla, and...
Harvard Business Review
Companies' quest to cut costs per engineer drives new entrants into using R&D from India and China...

Patent Fiction

The Economist
Economist
“What has long been predicted has now become a reality: China is leading the world in innovation.” So declares a press release promoting a new report by Thomson Reuters, a research firm, called “China’s IQ (Innovation Quotient).”

Viewpoint

09.25.14

How Bad Does the Air Pollution Have to Be Before You’d Wear a Face Mask?

Stephanie Ho
“Mommy, why don’t I wear a face mask?” asked my nine-year-old daughter Maggie nearly every day during the first few weeks of school. Two of her expat classmates had been in Beijing less than a year, but it seemed as if they wore theirs all the time...

Towards an Asian Century of Prosperity

Xi Jinping
Hindu
The combination of the world’s factory and the world’s back office will produce the most competitive production base, writes Xi Jinping , President of China

Chinese Gadgets Signal New Era of Innovation

Paul Mozur
Wall Street Journal
Baseball Bat Sensors, Smart Bathroom Scales.

A Scholarly Response to ‘Tiger Mom’: Happiness Matters, Too

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
When a child scores 99 on a test, an American parent will lavish praise. But a Chinese parent will say: “What happened? Why didn’t you get 100?”

Sinica Podcast

04.25.14

Trash Talk with Adam Minter

Jeremy Goldkorn & Adam Minter from Sinica Podcast
Anyone living in China doubtless has a sense of the unholy number of people who seem to be involved in the trash trade here, and who will ferret away everything from your cardboard boxes to plastic bottles faster than you can unpack them or consume...

Caixin Media

03.11.14

Li Ka-shing’s Remedy for ‘Coddled’ Hong Kong

Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing is again in the media spotlight after he mentioned in late February the possibility of publicly listing his retail business A.S. Watson Group, which is part of the Hong Kong-listed conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa."No...

Class Consciousness

Ian Johnson
New Yorker
China’s new bourgeoisie discovers alternative education

Books

12.03.13

Junkyard Planet

Adam Minter
When you drop your Diet Coke can or yesterday’s newspaper in the recycling bin, where does it go? Probably halfway around the world, to people and places that clean up what you don’t want and turn it into something you can’t wait to buy. In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter—veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner—travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, multibillion-dollar industry that’s transforming our economy and environment. Minter takes us from back-alley Chinese computer recycling operations to high-tech facilities capable of processing a jumbo jet’s worth of recyclable trash every day. Along the way, we meet an unforgettable cast of characters who’ve figured out how to build fortunes from what we throw away: Leonard Fritz, a young boy “grubbing” in Detroit’s city dumps in the 1930s; Johnson Zeng, a former plastics engineer roaming America in search of scrap; and Homer Lai, an unassuming barber turned scrap titan in Qingyuan, China. Junkyard Planet reveals how “going green” usually means making money—and why that’s often the most sustainable choice, even when the recycling methods aren’t pretty. With unmatched access to and insight on the junk trade, and the explanatory gifts and an eye for detail worthy of a John McPhee or William Langewiesche, Minter traces the export of America’s recyclables and the massive profits that China and other rising nations earn from it. What emerges is an engaging, colorful, and sometimes troubling tale of consumption, innovation, and the ascent of a developing world that recognizes value where Americans don’t. Junkyard Planet reveals that we might need to learn a smarter way to take out the trash.—Bloomsbury Press{chop}

Conversation

10.25.13

Can State-Run Capitalism Absorb the Shocks of ‘Creative Destruction’?

Barry Naughton, Shai Oster & more
Following are ChinaFile Conversation participants’ reactions to “China: Superpower or Superbust?” in the November-December issue of The National Interest in which author Ian Bremmer says that China’s state-capitalism is ill-equipped to absorb the...

Sinica Podcast

10.24.13

Innovation in China

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
In China, innovation has become one of those political buzzwords which—like harmony—seems to mean anything and everything to the Central Propaganda Department. So much so that we find it difficult to walk down the streets in Beijing now without...