Encirclemeny Boosts China’s Self-reliance in Tech Development


HK01 says in its article “中國太空站自力更生 科技圍堵致技術自主 (Translated by this blogger as “With self-reliance China builds its own space station: Science and technology encirclement causes its technology independence”) that China has to build its own space station as the US banned its participation in the international space station. China, however, has the willpower and talents to develop top technology on its own.

According to the report, the banning boosted China’s self-reliance in developing space technology so successful that it is able to surpass Russia and become the second country in the world to land a rover on the surface of Mars.

Now, the US has once more stepped up its tech encirclement and been banning China’s purchase of semiconductors and equipment. Based on what has happened in space technology the report predicts that the US will enable China to develop its own equipment and knowhow in producing semiconductors. Similar developments will emerge in other sectors where the US has been making hard efforts to contain China.

Cooment by Chan Kai Yee on HK01’s article, full text of which in Chinese can be viewed at https://www.hk01.com/01%E8%A7%80%E9%BB%9E/639836/%E4%B8%AD%E5%9C%8B%E5%A4%AA%E7%A9%BA%E7%AB%99%E8%87%AA%E5%8A%9B%E6%9B%B4%E7%94%9F-%E7%A7%91%E6%8A%80%E5%9C%8D%E5%A0%B5%E8%87%B4%E6%8A%80%E8%A1%93%E8%87%AA%E4%B8%BB


U.S. Senate passes sweeping bill to address China tech threat


David Shepardson June 9, 2021 2:50 PM HKT

The U.S. Senate voted 68-32 on Tuesday to approve a sweeping package of legislation intended to boost the country’s ability to compete with Chinese technology.

The desire for a hard line in dealings with China is one of the few bipartisan sentiments in the deeply divided U.S. Congress, which is narrowly controlled by President Joe Biden’s fellow Democrats.

The measure authorizes about $190 billion for provisions to strengthen U.S. technology and research – and would separately approve spending $54 billion to increase U.S. production and research into semiconductors and telecommunications equipment, including $2 billion dedicated to chips used by automakers that have seen massive shortages and made significant production cuts.

China’s parliament expressed “strong indignation and resolute opposition” to the bill. It said in a statement that the U.S. bill showed “paranoid delusion of wanting to be the only winner” and had distorted the original spirit of innovation and competition.

The bill must pass the House of Representatives to be sent to the White House for Biden to sign into law. It is not clear what legislation in the House will look like or when it might take it up.

The bill has a number of other China-related provisions including prohibiting the social media app TikTok from being downloaded on government devices, and would block the purchase of drones manufactured and sold by companies backed by the Chinese government. It would also allow diplomats and Taiwanese military to display their flag and wear their uniforms while in the United States on official businesses.

It would also create broad new mandatory sanctions on Chinese entities engaged in U.S. cyberattacks or theft of U.S. intellectual property from U.S. firms, and provides for a review of export controls on items that could be used to support human rights abuses.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a co-sponsor of the measure, warned of the dire consequences of not funding research to keep up with China.

“If we do nothing, our days as the dominant superpower may be ending. We don’t mean to let those days end on our watch. We don’t mean to see America become a middling nation in this century,” Schumer said.

Biden praised the bill: “We are in a competition to win the 21st century, and the starting gun has gone off … We cannot risk falling behind.”

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has said the funding could result in seven to 10 new U.S. semiconductor plants.

Many U.S. companies praised the bill. General Motors Co (GM.N) said the legislation “represents an important step to address the semiconductor shortage that continues to impact U.S. automotive manufacturing.”

Some critics have likened the Senate funding effort to China’s high-tech industrial development push, dubbed “Made in China 2025,” which long irked the United States.

The bill also seeks to counter Beijing’s growing global influence through diplomacy, by working with allies and increasing U.S. involvement in international organizations after Republican former President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda.

Senator Maria Cantwell noted the bill would authorize NASA spending and its Artemis mission to the Moon.

“As China has made it clear, they’re going to Mars, we are going back to the Moon to ready ourselves to go to Mars,” Cantwell said.

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’s views.


Main structure of world’s 2nd largest hydropower station to finish on Monday, operations start on July 1


By Global Times

Published: May 31, 2021 01:37 AM

Photo Baihetan

The photo taken on May 28, 2021 shows the Baihetan Hydropower Station in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province. Photo: CFP

Baihetan Hydropower Station, the world’s second largest after the Three Gorges Dam, is expected to have its last reservoir completed on Monday in Southwest China.

The station, with a total installed capacity of 16 million kilowatts, is expected to generate more than 62 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, which would reduce carbon dioxide emission by about 51.6 million tons, according to experts.

The Baihetan station is located downstream of the Jinsha River, in the upper section of the Yangtze River, in Ningnan county of Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, and Qiaojia county in neighboring Yunnan Province.

The construction of the main body of the station is expected to be finished on Monday. Its first unit is scheduled to start operations on July 1. The station will be in full operation by the end of 2022.

The Baihetan hydropower station is the world’s first to have a power unit with a capacity of 1 million kilowatts with 111 revolutions per minute. The station is expected to be China’s second largest hydropower project after the Three Gorges Dam when completed.

The Three Gorges Dam, generated 103.1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2020 as of Sunday morning, breaking the world record for annual power generation volume by a single hydropower station.

When asked how the Baihetan station is compared with similar stations in other countries, Wang Xiaojun, an engineer of the project, told media that “there is no better station around the world.”

A video went viral on Sunday on China’s social media platforms. In the video, a coin stands firmly on a board, under which an operating unit of the Baihetan Hydropower Station is spinning at 111 revolutions per minute, but the coin did not fall down, showing the stability of the unit, Wang said.

When asked if a coin would fall with the vibrations of the spinning generator as in plants overseas, Wang said that “the question is that other countries don’t have similar generating units.”

“We have done it with the highest level. When you look around, you find there are no other rivals,” he said, noting that the units are totally developed in the country.

The video was liked by many Chinese netizens who said that it makes them feel proud of the country’s development in technology.

Note: This is Global Times’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’s views.


China Space station: The tech that sets it apart


By Liu Wei

15:38, 04-May-2021

Visitors check out the interior of the core module of China’s space station at an exhibition in China Science and Technology Museum in Beijing, China, March 21, 2021. /CFP

As a new member to the club of space stations, China is enlisting a great deal of cutting-edge technologies, ranging from new materials to artificial intelligence, for its latest space station project.

China’s manned space station project kicked off only a little more than 10 years ago, decades behind those of the Western countries. But the late start has enabled the Chinese scientists to make use of some of their latest achievements in the project.

With rapid growth in areas such as telecom and AI, the installation of China’s young space station has become much easier with the use of new technologies, according to Wang Wei, research director at design department of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. “Because the space station is reasonable in size and has a sleek design, it’s easier to expand it by adding new modules.”

Different designs of cargo ships have been developed to accommodate larger scientific equipment, said Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China’s manned space engineering project. “The cargo ships can be used to transport large-sized science equipment to space.”

The latest Chinese space station also features a new energy system that can turn 30 percent of the solar power collected by its photovoltaic panel wings into electricity. Higher efficiency would provide more power to the space station for maneuvering and scientific research.

An abundant and steady power supply is specifically critical for the space station as it adopts a propulsion technology powered by electricity. The electric propulsion system is about five times more powerful than regular propellants, according to Zhou. “It means you can have more propulsion power at less expense. That’s a unique feature and advantage of the Chinese space station,” Zhou said.

With an aim to have crews stationed at the space station, a complex water recycling and oxygen-generating system has also been installed, Zhou added. The system is able to catch moisture inside the station, purify some into drinkable water and use the rest to re-produce oxygen, he said.

Source: CGTN “China Space station: The tech that sets it apart”

Note: This is CGTN’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


U.S. needs new understanding with China or it risks conflict, Kissinger says


By Guy Faulconbridge

MARCH 27, 202112:59 AM UPDATED A DAY AGO

LONDON (Reuters) – The United States will have to reach an understanding with China on a new global order to ensure stability or the world will face a dangerous period like the one which preceded World War One, veteran U.S. diplomat Henry Kissinger said.

Kissinger, now 97, influenced some of the most important turns of the 1970s while serving as secretary of state under Republican Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

Speaking at a Chatham House event in London via Zoom, Kissinger said the ultimate question was whether or not the United States and its Western allies could develop an understanding with China about a new global order.

“If we don’t get to that point and if we don’t get to an understanding with China on that point then we will be in a pre-World War One-type situation in Europe, in which there are perennial conflicts that get solved on an immediate basis but one of them gets out of control at some point,” he said.

“It is infinitely more dangerous now than it was then,” Kissinger said. He said the high-tech weaponry on both sides could lead to a very gave conflict.

Amid worsening relations between China and the West on a range of issues from human rights and trade to Hong Kong, Taiwan has said China is bolstering its ability to attack and blockade the China-claimed island.

Kissinger said the United States would likely find it difficult to negotiate with a rival like China that would soon be larger and more advanced in some areas.

The other question, he said, was whether or not China would accept that new order.

Kissinger praised China’s skill at organising itself for technological advance under state control.

But he said the West had to up its game.

“The West has to believe in itself,” Kissinger said. “That is our domestic problem – it is not a Chinese problem.”

He added that China’s economic might did not automatically mean that it will be superior in all aspects of technology this century.

Kissinger negotiated on behalf of Nixon to open China to the West in 1971 without telling George H.W. Bush, who was then Washington’s ambassador to the United Nations, about the talks.

Asked about Brexit, Kissinger said he had refused to campaign against leaving the EU as he saw a role for an “autonomous” Britain as a bridge between the United States and the rest of Europe.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Hugh Lawson

Source: Reuters “U.S. needs new understanding with China or it risks conflict, Kissinger says”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views


How China’s Digital Silk Road Is Leading Countries Away from the United States


Beijing is using technology products, markets, and training to secure influence with U.S. security partners, a IISS report finds.

PATRICK TUCKER | FEBRUARY 22, 2021

Even if Washington succeeds in keeping allies and partners from importing Huawei telecom gear, that’s just one of the many ways China is working to burrow into these countries’ economies and infrastructure, creating dependencies that may ultimately weaken these partners’ U.S. ties, a new report finds. And many of these countries may not even know all of the different ways Beijing is building influence, much less have a plan to confront it.

The February report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies, or IISS, looked at China’s “Digital Silk Road” strategy, which includes technology investments, bilateral agreements to conduct research together, funding for students to learn about Chinese tech, the provision of security tech to autocratic regimes, and more. They looked specifically at Indonesia, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, and Poland but the issue touches nearly every country.

They found that at least 16 countries had signed memorandums of understanding with with China on projects related to the Digital Silk Road, meaning that that the two countries had reached some sort of formal understanding about, say, allowing Chinese tech in the marketplace, China hosting an education program, or launching a research program together. But the scope of Chinese tech infiltration goes well beyond those formal agreements. IISS’s research showed that China had carried out projects related to the DSR, be it gaining market foothold, education, etc. in 137 countries worldwide.

They found many governments were willing, to various extents, to entertain partnerships with China under the assumption that changing political winds (and changing U.S. leadership) would lead the United States to abandon its pressure campaign to urge countries to eschew Chinese technology. But they found that this hedging strategy didn’t affect the countries’ defense and intelligence cooperation with the United States.

“The decision to exclude or limit the integration of Chinese technology by any of the governments analysed was based purely on the hypothetical consequences of not doing so for defence and intelligence cooperation with the US and allies,” the report said.

In Indonesia, the report noted, the past two decades have seen Huawei become “deeply, if not inextricably, embedded” in the country’s information communications ecosystem, “from fibre-optic cable networks thousands of kilometres long to the latest smartphones. Chinese-designed localised apps are prevalent among Indonesian smartphone users, whose communications are transmitted and relayed by Chinese-designed base-station technology and data centres. Much of the Indonesian cloud is apparently Chinese.” China is also playing a big role in Indonesia’s AI research efforts.

In South Korea, China uses foreign direct investment as a “carrot-and-stick tool” to influence policy. South Korean tech imports to China have “been centre stage in the Sino-US silicon-chip war,” they write, referring to the jockeying between U.S. and Chinese chip makers to get their chips in more electronics. That reveals “an intricate, complex and enormously lucrative national asset which the Korean establishment will apparently defend at some cost to ROK–US relations.”

Huawei has also given China an important foothold in the United Arab Emirates, or UAE. But the relationship deepened by the UAE regime’s purchases of surveillance cameras and facial recognition software to police its own citizens.

In Poland, China poured money into training and education, such as prize programs at a dozen Polish universities whose winners received a week of workshops at Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen, a second week in Beijing, and a smartphone. They found that Huawei had an agreement with a major Polish university just last June, which is significant because it comes after the United States had ramped up efforts to turn allies away from the Chinese telecom giant and around the same time that Polish efforts to secure a permanent U.S. base in the country failed.

Even Israel, one of the United States’ closest security partners, occupies “a special place along China’s Digital Silk Road,” having signed a… research and development agreement with Beijing. The Israeli Ministry of Defense, more attuned to US concerns, has been monitoring and raising concerns about China’s activities since the early 2000s.”

Those agreements and partnerships give China more than a foothold in markets and a toe in government policymaking. They also secure access to civilian and corporate data that can be of use to China’s tech companies — and help Beijing’s intelligence operatives more effectively target citizens with disinformation.

“Even if it is assumed that the risk posed by Chinese technologies to intelligence security is low, the ability to harness big data should be of concern to defence industries as it has relevance to future competitiveness in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI),” they write.

The biggest problem, IISS found, is that governments are taking no steps to determine how much or what kind of Chinese investment posed a possible risk. “Debates also focused largely on whether to accept toplevel Chinese physical infrastructure and did not, for example, seem to delve into debates around whether to rely on imports of copper wire from China, or whether to permit Chinese investment into local start-up industries. It would thus seem from this research that it is difficult for national-level governments to precisely determine what level of integration of Chinese ICT technologies should be considered significant.”

Source: Defense One “How China’s Digital Silk Road Is Leading Countries Away from the United States”

Note: This is Defense One’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


How Trade War Developed into Tech War


China’s development may make it world leader in technology. That is what the US fears the most. However, China’s transformation to innovation- and creation-led growth may precisely make China world leader in technology. Trump unknowingly helps China conduct such a transformation with his trade war with China

At first, the US was not afraid of China’s advance in technology as China only strived to obtain transfer and licensing of the technology that was not most advanced and the acquisition of which may not enable China to compete with foreign enterprises that had or were developing more advanced technology.

China certainly wanted the most advanced ones but could not get it as no foreign enterprises were so stupid as to lose their competitive edge by allowing China to be as advanced as them. As a result, China has to invest much financial resources and talent to obtain the most advanced technologies on its own. That is certainly very difficult as such top technologies was very difficult to develop.

The US has been obsessed with the mindset that only the West is able to develop top technologies so that it believes that if the West refuses to transfer top technologies to China, it will be impossible for China to obtain them.

However, China has indeed obtained more and more top technologies. As the West, especially the US due to its pride and racism, does not believe that China is capable of doing so and as China has got the ideas for its development of such technologies through study of open Western books and documents or the photos and videos about the technologies, naturally the US assumes that China has obtained the top technologies by stealing or copying Western ones through hacking Western websites.

However, US experts, especially those in US military are clear about that but they are pleased with the fabrications developed by US politicians and media about China’s stealing and hacking to copy Western technologies.

A typical example is China’s stealth fighter jet J-20. As J-20 looks roughly like US stealth fighter jets F-22 and F-35, American media is fond of regarding it as the product developed by China through copying F-22 or F-35. They even invented the story of China hacked F-35’s developer Lockheed Martin to obtain the technology for development of J-20. However, it is clear to any expert that J-20’s canard structure is entirely different from F-22 and F-35.

Unfortunately, US dream about its technology superiority was soon broken by China’s success in developing technologies more advanced than America’s. For example, quantum communications. China has established quantum communications network much larger and even launched a quantum satellite.

It is sad for Trump as his predecessor Obama still regard the US as much stronger than China so that Obama believes that the deployment of 60% of US military in his pivot to Asia will be quite enough to contain China’s rise, but China’s fast development made Trump realize that China has to be regarded as America’s major competitor and may soon surpass the US.

Technology-related Demands Become Major Themes of Trade War Talks

Trump has tried hard to contain China’s rise in technology. He spreads the lies that China has been stealing US technology but for many years, I have been involved as a paralegal in some international law firms in establishing China-foreign joint ventures.

At the early stage of China’s reform and opening up, Chinese parties to joint ventures wanted acquisition of foreign capital and advanced technology, exports of joint ventures’ products to earn foreign exchange and provision of jobs for their employees. Foreign parties including American ones were shrewd businessmen very careful in their negotiations with the Chinese parties in setting up joint ventures. They believed that their in-house lawyers were not experienced enough; therefore, they usually hire International law firms as their advisers in the process. Anxious to protect their clients, the law firms would have collected lots of necessary information so that foreign parties knew well what the Chinese parties wanted. They were certainly not willing to allow China to get their best technologies for fear of losing their competitive edge.

During the negotiations on transfer or licensing of foreign party’s technology, I often heard Chinese engineers asking specific questions about more advanced technologies. The foreign parties usually would avoid revealing anything about such technologies. When they were cornered, they would give the straightforward replies that those were their trade secret that they could not reveal.

However, as China was very backward at that time, the Chinese parties were satisfied if the technology they were to get was better than what China had and the price or fee the foreign parties asked was less than their own potential research and development costs in obtaining the same technologies on their own. Moreover, it takes time to develop the technologies on their own but through the joint venture, the Chinese parties might get the technology much sooner.

As foreign parties had got more advanced and were developing even better technologies, they were willing to provide China with their less advanced technologies at reasonable prices or fees. Usually, they transfer their technology to the joint ventures as their capital contribution to the joint ventures or license the joint ventures’ use of their technology for reasonable fees. Therefore, negotiation on the transfer or licensing of technology was not difficult. On the other hand, foreign parties usually had no objection to the provision in joint venture contract that the joint ventures should employ the Chinese parties’ employees unless employees of required expertise were not available among those employees.

What foreign parties wanted was the access to China’s vast fast-growing market, for which the joint ventures shall sell substantial parts of their products on China’s domestic market but the Chinese parties wanted to export as large a percentage of the joint ventures’ products as possible in order to earn more foreign exchange. As a result, it was often difficult in the negotiation to decide the percentage of export in the joint ventures’ sales.

As China’s exports had gradually increased and as China’s private enterprises had mushroomed, exports and provision of jobs had become less important so that the focus had almost entirely turned onto acquisition of advanced technology.

Change in Trump’s Goal of Trade War

At first, Trump seemed to please instead of upset China. He withdrew from TPP that aims at containing China and started daughter diplomacy to improve US relations with China. China’s leader Xi Jinping was anxious to maintain good relations with the US, he treated Trump with exceptional hospitality when Trump visited China and as mentioned in my previous posts, thus began US-China honeymoon. Later, Trump complained China’s massive trade surplus with the US and started the trade war

Trump’s change from being friendly to troublesome and hostile seems quite strange for a man of his age and makes people believe that he is capricious. In fact, he is unfortunate instead of capricious.

At first, like his predecessors, Trump knows China may finally catch up the US economically but may not technologically unless China can obtain technology from the West.. He has taken measures such as the “America first”, control of immigration to restore US economic leadership so as to counter China’s rise. But he was so confident in US technology dominance as to believe that even if China’ economy has grown larger than America’s, China will remain backward with lots of low-tech enterprises. As a result, he did not think that the US needs any urge to develop new technology. Therefore, as soon as he took office, he told Pentagon not to replace steam catapults with electromagnetic ones However, He was shocked later to learn that China was also developing electromagnetic catapult and seems with better success.

As a result, in trade war negotiations, Trump demands that China gives up its plan of Made in China 2025 and stops providing funds for development of science and technology in order to contain China’s rise in science and technology. That is certainly unacceptable to China.

Article by Chan Kai Yee


Baidu CEO lists eight technologies set to transform human life


Baidu boss Robin Li Yanhong has predicted that eight technologies have the capacity to transform business and people’s quality of life, and says that they will have a profound impact on the digital economy and even on broader social and cultural existence

by Chris Gill

Baidu CEO lists eight technologies set to transform human life

Baidu chief executive Robin Li Yanhong delivers a speech at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in July 2020. He believes AI chips are one of eight emerging technologies that have the capacity to transform human existence. Photo: Zhai Huiyong / Imaginechina via AFP

(ATF) The CEO of Baidu – China’s answer to Google – has formally shared his thoughts on the next 10 years of development of his firm and China’s tech sector, making some intriguing forecasts of what the future holds. As China has made high-tech a pillar of development until at least 2035, Baidu will play a central role.

On November 8, Baidu founder, chairman and CEO Robin Li (Li Yanhong) gave a keynote address at the Second World Forum on Science and Technology and Development hosted by the Chinese Association for Science and Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

The Asia Eight: Daily must-reads from world’s most dynamic region

Li said there are eight key technologies that bring transformative qualitative changes. And once this happens, these technologies will have a profound impact on the digital economy and even on broader social and cultural fields.

And the eight are…

Li said the eight key technologies are autonomous driving, machine translation, biological computing, deep learning frameworks, digital city operations, knowledge management, AI chips and personal intelligent assistants, China Youth Daily reported.

Autonomous driving is the most complex artificial intelligence project in Li’s opinion. In the process of commercialization, he said it would directly drive rapid development of radar, sensors, navigation systems and other industries. The social value and strategic significance of unmanned vehicles are far beyond the means of transportation itself, and these factors will bring people a brand new lifestyle.

Li said recently there has been a very important change – that is, unmanned vehicles have entered the era of parallel driving. The driver of these are not in the car, but in the internet ‘cloud’. Unmanned vehicles will cause a qualitative change in business, such as speeding up shared taxi operations. The Baidu World Conference showed the application of this technology on a live broadcast on CCTV in September this year.

The second key technology is machine translation. In recent years, the emergence and rapid development of neural network machine translation have greatly increased the level of machine translation, and a qualitative change is coming. In the past few decades, relying on low labor costs and a spirit of continuous striving for self-improvement, Chinese manufacturing has spread all over the world. As language barriers disappear, the service trade is tipped to usher in global opportunities

Baidu took the lead in pushing for large-scale industrial application of neural network machine translation in 2015. It achieved mutual translation of 203 languages, while translating hundreds of billions of characters every day, serving hundreds of millions of users, and supporting more than 400,000 third-party companies. Work with individual developers helped people across the world bridge language barriers and communicate better.

The third key technology is biological computing. Due to the empowerment of artificial intelligence technology and the popularisation of single-cell sequencing technology, a large amount of life’s information is digitised, and biological computing will show its talent in target discovery, compound synthesis, compound screening, and crystal form prediction – reliable methods of predicting the crystal structure of a compound, based only on its composition. This has reportedly been a goal of the physical sciences since the 1950s.

Li said that with the development of technology, the speed of new drug research and development has been greatly accelerated, and early disease screening will promote people’s health.

The fourth technology is a deep learning framework. Li said the operating system in the PC era was Windows, and the operating system in the mobile era has been IOS and Android. And the operating system in the artificial intelligence era is a deep learning framework.

Baidu’s ‘Feida’ (flying oar) is the first deep learning framework independently developed by China. From the official open source version, launched in 2016 to today, Feida has served 2.3 million developers, 90,000 companies, and created 310,000 models. The market share has gradually expanded and its influence has grown. According to an IDC report that Li quoted, China’s market share of deep learning open source frameworks around the world, Flying Oar, is third; the top two are Tensorflow and PyTorch from the United States.

The fifth technology is digital city operations. The digital trend of modern cities is inevitable, and digitalization will become the most important infrastructure in future cities. Now, almost all major cities in China are plagued by congestion. Li believes that the Baidu digital city operator model will be a good solution.

Knowledge management technology – the sixth item on Li’s list – is something the Baidu founder values very much. He believes this is a big opportunity in the “intelligent age”. In the industrial age, because of the emergence of assembly lines, production efficiency greatly improved. He said that Baidu was already doing this kind of work and is continuing to interactively develop a “Ruliu” smart office system, which Baidu uses internally. By having the enterprise’s knowledge, experience and other information completely online, an intelligent distribution algorithm can push relevant knowledge and experience to those who may need it, and achieve an efficient flow of knowledge within the business. Li has requested that within three years Baidu’s work efficiency should be doubled due to its knowledge management system.

Shen Xiangyang, a former executive of Microsoft, introduces the AI character ‘XiaoIce’ at a ceremony for leading tech achievements at the fourth World Internet Conference in Wuzhen in late 2017. XiaoIce combined the natural-language processing techniques for understanding words from regular people to perform computing tasks. It is now a Chinese firm that promotes AI interaction. Photo: Ni Yanqiang / Imaginechina via AFP.

The seventh technology is a personal intelligent assistant. Li Yanhong said that in the future, everyone should have their one of these devices. There may be dedicated intelligent assistants in any familiar field such as medical care, education and finance.

Today, Xiaodu, Baidu’s version of Google home or Amazon Alexa, are in thousands of homes in China. Many children are growing up with Xiaodu intelligent life assistants.

The eight transformative technology is Artificial Intelligence chips. Li said that in the PC and mobile Internet era, chips are relatively standard, such as those used by CPUs and GPUs. However, in the era of artificial intelligence, a large number of dedicated chips are likely to appear to optimise scenarios and provide unprecedented cost-effective computing power. This includes both relatively low-priced dedicated chips used in various terminals, and high-end chips worth tens of thousands of yuan, which are relatively common on cloud servers. Baidu’s self-developed cloud general-purpose AI chip Kunlun is already used on search engines.

Source: Asia Times Financial “Baidu CEO lists eight technologies set to transform human life”

Note: This is Asia Times Financial’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Industrial Policy – Lessons from China


February 7, 2020

Markus Overdiek, Daniela Arregui Coka,

Beijing byMagda Ehlers from Pexels

Industrial policy has been a reform instrument in China since the late 1980s, playing a decisive role in China’s development from an imperative planned economy to a “market economy with Chinese characteristics.” So, it is not surprising that industry has become one of the most important pillars of the Chinese economy over the years. Now, it contributes about 40 percent to GDP, 28 percent to employment, and more than 40 percent to the gross value added of the Chinese economy. For Chinese policymakers, industrial policy is not only a reform instrument of the past, but the means to become an international leader in innovation and technology in the future.

In the previous blog post from our series “The Future of European and German Industrial Policy,” we presented the industrial policy approach of the US with a special emphasis on its role in fostering innovation. Now, we continue with the Chinese industrial policy, its history, and how its undergoing reform is shaping a new Chinese economy.

Historical development

China has experienced a unique development in recent history: from a relatively poor country in the late 1970s to the second-largest economy in the world. Between 1978 and 2017, China’s GDP grew by a factor of 225 from 367.9 billion RMB to 82.7 trillion RMB. Today, China is the “factory of the world” in terms of industrial production and a serious new competitor for developed industrial countries. This has been, to a large extent, the result of active and targeted industrial policymaking.

This active approach started in the late 1980s when the 7th Five-Year Plan (1986-1990) named industrial policy as an official reform instrument. China’s reform politicians influenced by the “East Asian economic miracle” saw the necessity of building a new industrial model that would allow China to follow a “catching-up” process vis-à-vis the industrialized countries as was the case of South Korea and especially Japan in the 1960s and 1970s. In the following decades, a series of economic reforms would allow China to build an industrial model that attracted manufacturing of foreign firms and would lead to rapid economic growth.

From the “factory of the world” to an innovation leader

The process of economic reform that started in the 1980s had an important effect on the development of the Chinese innovation landscape as fostering domestic technologies, and independent innovations became more relevant for Chinese politics. As early as the 1980s, a number of programs ranging from financial support for R&D and cooperation between business and science up to the creation of autonomous research institutions were initiated by Chinese policymakers.

Most importantly, in recent years, it became a central goal of Chinese economic policy to end China’s role as “factory of the world” and move up into the lucrative segments of global value chains becoming the “research laboratory of the world”. The emphasis of Chinese policymaking has evolved to be placed even more strongly on an industrial innovation policy than in the past, resulting in national strategies like Made in China 2025 (MIC2025) that aim to bring more dynamism to China’s economic development by promoting innovations.

Chinese strategies and measures

Fostering innovation is a core objective of the current Chinese economic order. The state has a fundamental in supporting public and private institutions in the technology sector. To this end, the central government issues economic and political guidelines that are implemented by local governments with a certain degree of leeway. Moreover, the Chinese innovation model contains both centralized and decentralized elements and is characterized by a complex interplay between central and local government, private companies, and research institutions. Similar to the USA, the state plays a prominent role as regulator and consumer.

It also guarantees protection for domestic companies against foreign competition so that they can develop internationally competitive innovation activities. These strategies and the conscious protection of domestic companies play an important role in the creation of innovations made in China.

Strengths and weaknesses

China’s recent development of innovation and technology has shown that the Chinese government is able and has the political will not only to formulate long-term strategies but also to implement them. These include industrial policy strategies such as MIC2025, which set targets over a period of more than 30 years on how certain industries and technologies should develop and where the acquisition of foreign technology may be necessary. The Chinese government also has the financial means to do so. Both strategies play an important role in the development of new infrastructure, which is necessary for the implementation of innovations.

The roles of the state as regulator, financier, and consumer are also strengthened by combining long-term governance with sufficient financial resources. In this way, the Chinese government can promote innovative technologies in a targeted manner and encourage companies to push these more strongly. In addition, market size combined with highly competitive pressure is an important factor in the development of the Chinese innovation model. It can have a positive impact on the market introduction, adaptation, and distribution of technology since economies of scale can be achieved more quickly. Thus, the incentive to bring innovations quickly to market maturity and become concrete application in practice can be higher than in small economies.

However, the strengths of the Chinese innovation model go in part hand in hand with China’s autocratic political system. This exhibits significant weaknesses. These weaknesses include, for instance, the education system, which in large parts is still not designed to promote independent creativity and critical questioning as well as restrictions on the free flow of information – both essential factors for an innovative economy. This makes it more difficult to reduce China’s dependence on foreign technologies. In addition, there are ethical questions that have so far played a much smaller role in the Chinese research and innovation landscape than in the EU and Germany (e.g., genetic research).

An additional systematic weakness of the Chinese economy has been the misallocation of resources, which unavoidably affects the innovation initiatives of the Chinese government. Furthermore, China’s industrial policy programs to promote technology and innovation can also cause discrimination and distortion of national and international competition. On the one hand, the question arises as to whether state support always reaches the most innovative domestic companies or whether it is rather the politically best-networked, i.e., often state-owned companies.

Discrimination against foreign companies often emerges as a by-product of the protection of national firms. Foreign companies and governments are less and less willing to accept such distortions of competition. They are increasingly taking action to defend themselves. The most extreme example of these actions is currently the trade conflict between the USA and China, which could cause considerable damage to China. The most important goal of the Chinese government – to make China a leading location for technology and innovation by 2049 – is being severely disrupted by this issue.

The future challenge of Chinese industrial policy

China’s innovative capacity will be crucial for its future competitiveness, especially as it is in direct competition with other industrialized countries. Nevertheless, China is still highly dependent on foreign technology, particularly in the high-tech sector.

Although, as stated above, the Chinese government is already in the process of changing this, the next step is for China to develop into a world-leading location for innovation and technology, especially in key sectors such as aviation, robotics, environmental protection, transport, and medicine. For this to work, Chinese policymakers are challenged to develop further mechanisms and strategies that foster domestic innovations but, most importantly, that allow China to cooperate and compete on a level playing field with and in foreign markets.

Source: ged-project.de “Industrial Policy – Lessons from China”

Note: This is ged-project.de’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Factbox: Key details from fifth plenum of China’s Communist Party


By Reuters Staff

OCTOBER 29, 20207:42 PMUPDATED 19 HOURS AGO

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Central Committee, the largest of the ruling Communist Party’s top decision-making bodies, have concluded a four-day meeting on China’s economic and social policy goals for the next five years.

The final blueprint will be approved and published when the National People’s Congress, or parliament, meets in its annual session next year.

Below are some key details from the communique of the plenum, the fifth meeting of the Central Committee since the once-in-five years Communist Party congress in 2017, as released by state media on Thursday. Longer-term goals were also discussed.

GDP GOALS


Party leadership said in the communique that the value of China’s gross domestic product is expected to exceed 100 trillion yuan ($14.92 trillion) this year. That is just a touch more than in 2019, and puts China on course to narrowly miss a previous goal of doubling GDP in the decade to 2020, as the economy needs to grow at least 5.6% this year to hit the target. The communique also said China will aim to achieve sustained and healthy economic development in 2021-2025, with a focus on higher quality growth. It remains unclear whether a numerical growth target would be set for the five-year period when the plan is published next year. The party also made no mention of doubling GDP over the next decade, but added that China will aim to raise per capita GDP to the level of moderately developed nations by 2035.

DUAL CIRCULATION

Little was disclosed for the moment on how China would implement the “dual circulation” model, first proposed by Xi in May. The strategy is for China to depend mainly on “domestic circulation” for its next phase of development, supported by external resources through “international circulation”. In the communique, the party said the model would be promoted, combining efforts to expand domestic demand with supply-side reforms.

TECHNOLOGY

Investors were awaiting new steps on boosting China’s technological innovation, key to moving the world’s second-largest economy up the global value chain, especially with the United States’ strangling supply of parts to Chinese tech giants. The communique said China would make technological self-sufficiency a “strategic support” for national development, with an aim to achieve major breakthroughs in key technologies by 2035. It also said China would strengthen national security capabilities and maintain “strategic composure” in the face of newly emerged challenges and conflicts internationally. Defence capabilities would be beefed up in line with the economy, the communique said.

COMMODITIES, ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT

The communique said China would speed up and push forward green and low-carbon development. There was no immediate word on boosting strategic reserves across commodities and energy to ensure self-sufficiency.

REFORMS

The party said in the communique that China would deepen reforms in all aspects, but gave few details. It reiterated that China would let the market play a decisive role in resources allocation. China would also make a “major breakthrough” in reforms on property rights. The party said China would promote coordinated regional development and a new urbanisation drive. Economists say China’s urban-rural income gap is widening, and development disparities between prosperous coastal provinces and the hinterland have increased.

GREYING POPULATION

China is facing what experts describe as a demographic time-bomb as its elderly population is increasing while its workforce is dwindling, partly due to a one-child policy in place for around four decades. The party decided in a previous plenum in 2015 to ditch that policy. In Thursday’s communique, the party said China would implement strategies to address the ageing population, without elaborating.

TAIWAN, HONG KONG, MACAU

The communique said China would promote Taiwan’s reunification with the mainland and peaceful cross-straits development. China regards Taiwan as a wayward province to be brought back under its sovereignty by force, if necessary. China would also maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macau.

(This story corrects to say this year’s GDP is expected to exceed 100 trillion yuan, not reach 100 trillion yuan)

Reporting by Ryan Woo and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Mark Potter

Source: Reuters “Factbox: Key details from fifth plenum of China’s Communist Party”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.